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Sony Honda Mobility, the joint electric vehicle venture, has significant plans to compete in the growing EV market. Although the JV doesn’t have an EV model to show yet, the partners are already looking for ways to challenge top EV makers like Tesla by centering it around entertainment, which Sony is known for.

Sony has been teasing its Vision S EV concept for several years as it inches closer to a commercial launch. The tech company has insisted on having superior entertainment and software that can provide the building blocks for technology like autonomous driving.

Meanwhile, Sony’s CFO said the company would not be “making batteries or vehicles” by themselves. Instead, they were focusing on establishing a partnership with an existing automaker.

In June, Sony and Honda established a joint venture with the intention of building a new electric vehicle company called (you wouldn’t have guessed it) Sony Honda Mobility.

Although Honda has been relatively late to the rapidly expanding EV market, the automaker has stepped up its efforts recently. In October, Honda revealed its first mass-market EV SUV, the Prologue, set to make its US debut in 2024 using GM’s Ultium platform.

The new Sony Honda Mobility JV is planning to release its first EV in 2025, and despite not having a brand strategy, the company is already looking at ways to utilize its strengths to compete with the best.

Sony-Honda-Mobility-EV
Sony Vision S concept (Source: Sony)

Sony Honda Mobility EV to include top-tier entertainment options like PS5

In a new interview with Financial Times, Sony Honda Mobility leaders explained how the JV could leverage Sony’s powerful technology to challenge EV competitors like Tesla.

Senior Vice President of Sony’s AI robotics business and COO of Sony’s new business venture, Izumi Kawanishi, explains how adding content and entertainment services to the EV can help them compete, stating:

Sony has content, services and entertainment technologies that move people. We are adapting these assets to mobility, and this is our strength against Tesla.

He adds that “Tesla is not providing any content services,” and that including a PlayStation 5 in the Sony Honda Mobility EV is “technologically possible.”

Leaders from the newly established joint venture insist that the company’s electric vehicles will focus on entertainment, as new CEO, Yasuhide Mizuno, explains:

We will develop a car as hardware that will cater to the entertainment and network we would like to offer.

Electrek’s Take

It’s no surprise to see Sony leveraging its entertainment and content to “upgrade” the driving experience. However, some sort of autonomous driving ability will need to be included to truly take advantage of the entertainment.

To that extent, Kawanishi adds:

To enjoy the space in your car, you have to make it a space where you don’t need to drive. The solution for this is autonomous driving. Autonomous driving will have to evolve considerably from the current level to get to that point, and it will take time for that to happen.

With this in mind, Sony Honda Mobility adding entertainment options is one way to gain a competitive advantage in the EV market. Still, for it to be usable, the technology will most likely need more time to develop.

Even if you are able to play your favorite video games, if the car doesn’t drive itself, it will only be functional for passengers or while you are pulled over.

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California-based startup unveils 58 MPH electric jet ski on hydrofoils

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California-based startup unveils 58 MPH electric jet ski on hydrofoils

It’s an exciting time for personal watercraft enthusiasts that want to swap a roaring engine for the instantaneous (and silent) power of electric motors. The latest electric jet ski making a splash is the Valo Hyperfoil.

Technically speaking, it’s not actually a jet ski, nor is it making that much of a splash. “Jet Ski” is a brand name owned by Kawasaki, and the Valo Hyperfoil isn’t really making a splash because it’s actually flying above the waves on hydrofoils.

But whatever you call it and whichever hydro-based pun you shoehorn into an electric watercraft article, the Valo Hyperfoil is certainly an impressive machine.

Unveiled today by California-based startup Boundary Layer Technologies, the Valo Hyperfoil is one of the most advanced personal electric watercraft we’ve ever seen.

Not only is it quite powerful, packing in a 108 hp (80 kW) motor, but it can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots (58 mph or 93 km/h).

And it will do so while flying a full 2 feet (60 cm) above the surface of the water.

As founder and CEO of Boundary Layer Technologies Ed Kearny explained in a statement provided to Electrek:

“Valo will be a complete revolution to personal watercraft. The first Jetski was on the market 50 years ago this year, and it’s time for a major upgrade. Valo will be fast, agile, and tremendously exhilarating, all while being near silent and leaving zero wake. It will be like flying a stunt plane but on water. We see this a completely new form of water based mobility”

The secret to the flying nature of the Valo is its hydrofoils, which function like a set of airplane wings under water.

They lift the watercraft out of the dense water, helping it to save energy by flying through the air. That makes the ride smoother, faster and more efficient. It also means that the Valo can get by with fewer of those heavy and expensive batteries.

The company has spent the last four years developing hydrofoil technology for commercial purposes, such as passenger ferries and container ships. Now the company is hoping to apply that technology to the recreational market with a personal electric watercraft.

As Kearny continued:

“We are passionate about bringing foiling technology and its huge benefits to ships big and small. We simply shifted from ‘big first’, to ‘fast first’.  What we love about Valo is how fast we can get to market. We are bringing all the technology we were developing for massive container ships and ferries and using it to deliver one hell of a recreational product.”

Hydrofoiling boats have been made famous by the Swedish company Candela, who is already building and delivering electric speedboats with impressive hydrofoiling performance. The company is also working on passenger ferries and water taxis for commercial use, but hasn’t shown off a personal electric watercraft like the Valo.

Other companies like Taiga have leveraged their electric snowmobile technology to demonstrate personal electric watercraft. But their planing hulls will have a hard time matching the efficiency of hydrofoils like those displayed on the Valo.

Boundary Layer Technologies expects to have a small number of limited edition Founders Edition Valos by the summer of 2023 Full production vehicles aren’t expected to hit the water before 2024. The anticipated price for the production vehicles is $59,000, though we don’t yet know what price tag those first run Founders Edition vehicles will carry.

Until then, we can at least look at these pretty renders.

valo jet skit

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Quick Charge Podcast: November 30, 2022

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Quick Charge Podcast: November 30, 2022

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from Electrek. Quick Charge is available now on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn and our RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

New episodes of Quick Charge are recorded Monday through Thursday and again on Saturday. Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.

Stories we discuss in this episode (with links):

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Drop us a line at tips@electrek.co. You can also rate us in Apple Podcasts or recommend us in Overcast to help more people discover the show!

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Hitachi Energy debuts wireless grid tech that prevents wildfires

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Hitachi Energy debuts wireless grid tech that prevents wildfires

Hitachi Energy just launched wireless Spark Prevention Unit indicators that help prevent wildfires by enabling remote monitoring.

According to the US Department of Energy, approximately 10% of wildfire ignitions are sparked by faults on electrical infrastructure or electric equipment failure. Hitachi Energy’s new Wireless SPU Indicators allow utilities to monitor the grid remotely, in real time, with automated visual inspection rounds.

The SPU monitors the current and thermal load of surge arresters – which protect equipment from surges in the power system – installed in wildfire risk areas.

If there’s a thermal overload in the grid, the SPU interrupts the current flow and disconnects the surge arrester, thus preventing any arcing – which is when a circuit becomes overloaded and overheats – sparking, or ejection of hot particles that could potentially start a wildfire.

Hitachi Energy’s new Wireless SPU Indicator

A visual indicator on the SPU lets the utility field crew know that it needs to be replaced. Hundreds of thousands of SPUs installed in some of the world’s most wildfire-prone areas, such as in the United States and Australia, have had a real impact in preventing wildfires. Being able to monitor them remotely is only going to improve wildfire prevention.

Read more: How the US can achieve resilient power grids and support EV deployment

Photo: Pok Rie on Pexels.com


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Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.


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