(WTVO) — Sony and Honda are teaming up to make an electric car, the AFEELA EV, in 2025. But the cost of the tech may be high, so the companies are considering upending traditional lease agreements so drivers can keep the car for up to 10 years, while software updates offer improvements over time.
The AFEELA EV was announced in October under a new brand developed by both companies, and a prototype was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.
According to Electrek, the companies plan to offer customers a subscription model to lease the Afeela, a car packed with so much technology that the anticipated price tag may be too much for consumers to handle.
Yasuhide Mizuno, CEO of Sony Honda Mobility, said, “Replacing the car every three to five years is a very traditional methodology. But now, big change. This car is always updating; therefore, we try to utilize customers over five to 10 years.”
In addition to 45 sensors placed throughout the car, the Afeela EV will come with a powerful computer that will provide fully autonomous driving.
Sony Honda Mobility Inc. says customers will be able to pay less on their monthly lease if they refuse the over-the-air software updates that keep the car fresh.
The company expects to take pre-orders in the first half of 2025 and deliver the first cars to customers in North America in spring 2026.
Sony and Honda announced their 50-50 joint venture in March. It unites Honda’s know-how in autos, mobility technology and sales with Sony’s imaging, network, sensor and entertainment expertise.
Subscription-based payments to unlock features in newer cars is not a new idea. Last year, BMW said it was testing monthly subscriptions to unlock certain features in a vehicle, such as heated seats, safety packages, phone integration, heated steering wheels, and more.
Mercedes Benz said it would offer a subscription plan to make its vehicles go faster. The subscription unlocks performance in hardware already installed in the car at the factory.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.