Sony is looking for new partners for a transformative EV project, according to the business chief

Sony is looking for new partners for a transformative EV project, according to the business chief ...

TOKYO, January 21 - A Sony executive has told Reuters that it would likely add new technology partners to its electric vehicle (EV) program to enable the company to broaden its capability of transporting automobiles from transportation vehicles to entertainment spaces.

Auto manufacturing is being transformed into mobile platforms because of the addition of electric cars to their energy efficiency.

"We see the risk of disregarding electric vehicles as greater than the challenge they pose," Izumi Kawanishi, the senior general manager who will lead a new Sony Mobility business, said in an interview.

The creation of that new mobility unit was announced at the CES technology tech fair in Las Vegas this month. Sony CEO Kenichiro Yoshida said the creator of PlayStation games consoles will try to turn an EV development project, which was started two years ago, into a money-making venture.

Kawanishi, a Japanese consumer electronics company, was born in 1986 and is now director of the AI Robotics unit which makes Sony's Aibo robot pet.

Kawanishi declined to speculate on whether the next day will be followed.

PARTNERS FOR A PARTICIPATION

Sony has made two EV "Vision" prototypes in Austria owned by Magna International, which manufactures cars for automobile manufacturers including BMW, Mercedes Benz, and Toyota Motor Corp.

Other members of its European-based project include Bosch, the French automotive technology company Valeo SE, and AImotive, a Hungarian autonomous vehicle company.

Sony would probably need to invest heavily in plant and equipment to build a new electric vehicle. Tesla Inc, which delivered its first electric vehicle in 2008, has spent billions of dollars to make its business profitable.

Sony will need to take on other car manufacturers, such as Toyota, General Motors Co, and Volkswagen AG, who are spending tens of billions of dollars to compete with the EV newcomers.

Sony is one of a growing number of technology companies exploring automotive opportunities, including Apple Inc, LG Electronics in South Korea, Foxconn in Taiwan, and Alibaba Group in China.

Sony will seek out new partners for its EV project based on the technology they can contribute to the project, without regard to their nationality, according to Kawanishi.

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