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Asia Minute: Sony and Honda combine forces on electric vehicle plans

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One of many impacts of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is higher gas prices around the world. That’s putting a bigger focus on electric vehicles — including an unusual announcement late last week in Japan.

Two of the biggest names in corporate Japan are teaming up to make electric vehicles.

Honda and Sony announced Friday that they’ll create a joint venture — with the first vehicle rolling off the assembly line by 2025.

Honda clearly brings the auto experience — but Sony is a market leader in sensor technology — a crucial element for self-driving cars.

Honda has already announced it will team up with GM to produce some electric vehicles for the U.S. market.

Such combinations may be unusual, but it’s the latest evidence of Japanese automakers moving from planning to action on electric cars — and especially those powered by batteries — an area where others have moved faster.

In December, Toyota announced it was investing some $35 billion in electric vehicles.

The company plans to build 30 battery-powered EVs by the year 2030 — moving from its current emphasis on hybrid vehicles.

Nissan will produce at least 15 different electric models by 2030 — and is expanding a plant in Mississippi to build two new models by 2025.

All of this comes as Japanese automakers make plans to catch up with other international companies from current market leader Tesla to several Chinese and German companies, as well as GM and Ford.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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