Right before the new norm we live in today, Sony at the CES 2020 (Consumer Electronics Show) shocked both the automotive as well as the consumer electronics world with the unveiling of the simple yet stunning Vision-S fully electric car.
More well-known for televisions, home entertainment equipment and cameras, Sony’s Vision-S teased the world with its clean exterior styling, hospitable interior and decent performance figures. The completeness of the prototype looked like it could be in the hands of owners within the next 10 months.
However, it was all a tease as last year, the company announced it has no intentions to manufacturer the Vision-S sedan, even after undergoing public road tests.
Now making its third appearance in a row, Sony is back at the CES and after 12 months of silence, the company unveiled an SUV version of the Vision-S concept car! From here on, the sedan will be known as Vision-S 01 and the SUV as Vision-S 02. Sony has also made a ‘U-Turn’, with a statement simply saying, “will establish an operating company ‘Sony Mobility Inc.’ in the spring of 2022, through which the company intends to explore entry into the EV market,”
As for the new Vision-S 02 SUV, it uses the same EV/cloud platform as the 01 prototype, which is being tested on public roads. Much of the styling of the 01 sedan is replicated on the SUV, such as the small headlamps, full-width taillamp with illuminated brand logo, virtual side mirrors, deeply contoured door panels and an upper half exterior finished in gloss black.
Inside, the 02 SUV also shared the full-width digital ‘panoramic screen’ dashboard, which offers three distinct displays. As expected, the central screen functions like a television, powered by the brand’s Bravia video streaming technology. Playstation games can also be played inside the Vision-S, with the Dualshock 4 wireless controller included as a control device!
The infotainment system in the Vision-S is highlighted by the “360 Reality Audio”. The four main seats have individual speakers, enveloping the occupants in sound from all directions. We, however, question how much genuine space is there in the third-row seating though, as the Sony Vision-S is dimensionally as large as an Audi e-Tron and smaller than a BMW iX, both models exclude third-row seating.
The Vision-S pair is powered by dual electric motors (one on each axle) rated at 200 kW or 272 hp each, for a combined system output of 544 hp. Acceleration from standstill to 100 km/h for the 01 sedan takes 4.8 seconds, with a top speed of 240 km/h, while the 02 SUV is expected to take slightly longer and onward to a lower top speed of over 180 km/h.
The Sony Vision-S project was originally envisaged to further advance Sony’s capabilities in the field optics, where sensing and graphics processing technologies are vital for the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Its “Safety Cocoon” concept uses 40 different imaging and scanning devices to monitor the exterior and interior of the vehicle in real-time, sufficient to allow a Level-4 equivalent self-driving system.
A lip-reading sensor is also placed in front of the driver to improve the accuracy of speech recognition. Last month, the company released a demonstration video showing a remote operation of the physical 01 car in Germany, being “driven” by a team member in Japan to highlight the incredibly high-speed connection and low latency transmission of 5G networks. This is in anticipation of the remote operation of self-driving cars to be rolled out in the future.
Amongst the big names in the auto industry working with Sony on the Vision-S are Bosch, Continental, ZF and Valeo with Magna tasked to physically build the prototype vehicles.
With three straight years of model introduction at the exact same venue, perhaps Sony will showcase the Vision-S 03 sports car at next year’s CES 2023? Enthusiasts sure enjoy wishing and hoping.
SONY Vision-S 02 SUV
SONY Vision-S 01 sedan