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Saturday, December 2, 2023

Hands-on with the 2025 Sony-Honda EV: Entertain as you please


let the happy time last

First things first: does it have a PlayStation in it? The short answer is yes and no – no PlayStation, but you can play PlayStation games in the car. A longer answer can be found here.

Our second assignment was to ask what made it work — and just like at CES, Sony Honda Mobility didn’t provide any answers. No technical data, not even the simplest hint about the machine. It’s obvious from the structure that the battery is located under the floor in its now-typical location, and we can see the disc brakes peeking out from behind the wheels, but SHM didn’t give us much more information. sigh.

For those still reading, we can tell you a lot about the interior. We had plenty of time to sit inside, touch and feel the interior components, and fiddle with some tech.

Zero seal

Of course, before we do that, we need to stare at the plain sheet metal of the Afeela concept car for a minute, since it lacks any door handles. Oh, and speaking of plain sheet metal, a rep from SHM explained the humble styling, We sigh in First Look: The goal is to focus on Afeela’s software rather than hardware. OK, all right. We also noticed that the open mask has no seams. When we asked what happened there, SHM again didn’t answer, but a rep did tell us that a trunk was pending.

Back to the doors: As it turns out, Afeela uses cameras to identify approaching occupants and automatically open the doors. This feature has not yet been implemented, so our host opened the door using a mobile phone app. (The concept also has buttons hidden in its fender arches.)

more inside information

We hop in and sit in Afeela’s leather and suede driver’s seat. Synthetic, of course; no animals were harmed in making this upholstery. Sony Honda points to the faux suede on the door panels, a recycled (and very convincing) material developed by Honda.

Once behind the wheel, we couldn’t help but notice that we weren’t behind the wheel. Afeela has a steering stem, but we don’t know what’s behind the steering stem. Is it a proper variable ratio drive-by-wire steering system? we have to try exist a prototype of Lexus RZ electric SUV? Or it’s just a yoke attached to a conventional steering system, we found stupid and useless exist Plaid version Tesla’s Model S? There is no definitive answer, although the SHM representative does think only variable ratio systems make sense.

The rest of the control layout is EV-contemporary: lights and wipers on the left-hand column, the shifter on the right. steering wheel – sorry, yoke-The buttons look fairly conventional, with push-to-talk and stereo controls on the left and cruise control on the right. Mandatory button controls (hazard and defroster) sit in the center of the dash, flanked by seat heating and climate controls. Most importantly: screen, screen, screen.

Afeela has the expected digital driver’s display, and immediately to the right is an ultra-wide screen divided into a central area and a passenger area. On the outer edge of the dash, you’ll find small screens that replace the side mirrors. We’ve seen these on concept cars before; SHM tells us the cameras are expected to receive regulatory approval by 2026 when Afeela goes on sale.

screening program

Most of the action takes place on the central screen (whose content can be “thrown” to the passenger and vice versa). It’s a good thing that the tiled home screen feels more like a home entertainment device than mobile media.Supported features include: navigation, audio (natch) and Play video games through the PlayStation Remote Play service. Yes, the Afeela can play movies, and SHM envisions it as a way to kill time while recharging the battery. (SHM is investigating the legality of front-seat passengers watching movies while the car is in motion.)

Another nifty feature is the ability to set themes, which can change the screen background (including the dashboard), the color of the interior accent lighting, and even the sound of the electric motor that’s piped in. Not surprisingly, all of the themes we saw were based on Sony Entertainment’s movies, games, and franchises. We asked owners if they would be able to create their own Afeela themes; Sony Honda Mobility said it hadn’t decided yet, but the system would be open to developers for content creation. It sounds like the PlayStation Store will be coming to the Afeela EV.

It reaches long enough to reach the outer edge of the center screen, so Afeela has also installed a large control dial in front of the electrically adjustable armrest between the seats. Not surprisingly, the large dial turns with the same precision as the volume dial on a Sony sound system.

sound garden

Speaking of sound, the Afeela will feature Sony’s 360 Reality Sound system, developed as a competitor to Dolby Atmos. While Sony didn’t disclose the number of speakers, it did point to a set of speakers located under the seat’s headrests. Sony says the system in the concept car will only provide surround sound to the driver, but we’ve seen similar speakers in all four main seating positions.


Speaking of the other seats, we also sat in the back for a while, and we found the rear seats to be large and supportive, as you’d expect from a company that makes a variety of products, the best experience sitting on a sofa. Legroom is good, and the view of the panoramic roof is lovely, but headroom in the seats is surprisingly short, no doubt a result of the Afeela’s high floor and curved roofline. And of course there are the screens—big ones, strapped to the front seatbacks, that serve a similar function to the front center and passenger screens. They struck us as surprisingly traditional; we were expecting something a little more immersive (VR headsets, anyone?), but apparently Sony Honda Mobility still wants kids to spend time looking out the window. correct.

All in all, we like the interior of Sony’s Honda Mobility Afeela concept the most. It delivers the multimedia experience we’ve come to expect, and the car controls (yoke aside) are fairly conventional and straightforward. Like the rest of the car, the interior of the Afeela concept car struck us as realistic and production-ready. Sony plans to take orders in 2025 and deliver the first units to customers in 2026, and we should see something closer to a production car long before then. Apart from some much-needed rear space, we’d be happy if the concept didn’t change too much.


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