It’s finally official, Sony Honda Mobility plans to bring the Afeela EV to market in 2025. However, while we’ve finally seen a prototype, which debuted at CES 2023, there are many unanswered questions. The company did speak with journalists at the event about its potential sales plans, and they’re not typical.
According to Electrek, Sony and Honda plan to lease or provide subscriptions to the upcoming Afeela EV. That said, they don’t plan to offer the usual two- or three-year leases people are used to.
Essentially, it seems the company believes that with the advanced tech going into EVs like the Afeela these days, along with automakers’ ability to provide incremental over-the-air software updates to constantly improve the car, it doesn’t make sense to keep it for just a few years.
Moreover, with growing concerns about the much higher upfront costs associated with EVs, having a high financing payment over a number of years can prove difficult for many shoppers. Leasing can eliminate that burden, and it may be an even better option if the term is longer. Sony/Honda reps reportedly explained to attendees:
“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.”
The Afeela will come with highly advanced tech and computers, some 45 sensors, and the capability to drive autonomously at Level 3 or Level 4. The company shared that the EV will use a Qualcomm chip capable of 800 trillion operations per second.
It’s also clear that the Afeela will carry a relatively high starting price. With all that tech, it’s not going to be cheap. However, while the car will have a high upfront cost, it will be more affordable to pay a monthly lease or subscription fee.
The question will come down to whether people will be willing to commit to a lease with a term as long as 10 years. Some shoppers may just want to buy it outright or finance it, so we’ll have to wait and see if Sony Honda Mobility has a plan for people interested in purchasing.
The Sony-Honda reps went on to share that if an Afeela owner is subscribing to the car and wants to pay less money on a monthly basis, they can simply refuse to accept certain software updates. If they stick to the original monthly fee, they’ll get all the subsequent updates for the full term.
It’s obviously difficult to determine if this plan will be a win for consumers until we actually have some idea of pricing, not only for the car as a whole, but also for the lease or subscription plans. The company will provide more details closer to the Afeela’s on-sale date. It’s expected to be available in the US in the second half of 2026.
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