In-vehicle karaoke, TV streaming and customisable e-motor noises were all notable features of Sony Honda Mobility’s (SHM) Afeela prototype when Just Auto was recently given an online demonstration from Los Angeles, USA.   

First unveiled in January this year, the prototype is the result of a 50:50 JV between Japanese industry giants Honda and Sony.

Pre-orders were confirmed by SMH CEO Yasuhide Mizuno to take place in H1 2025, with sales to follow by the end of 2025 and deliveries to US customers scheduled for early 2026.

Quizzed during the demonstration on how the brand felt about entering an already-crowded EV market, an Afeela spokesperson said: “We don’t want to say we’re competing – we’re providing a new option.”

Getting a feeling…

The three As

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As might be expected, the prototype was heavy on the technology, particularly its infotainment system and the wide width dashboard screen.

Augmentation, autonomy and affinity are the so-called “three A’s” that underpin the Afeela vehicle.

The centre of the brand’s mobility experience is to create “a feeling”, a spokesperson said, with its name a combination of “A feeling, augmentation, and affinity”.

“We can have different things that help people interact and give them [the] joy of being inside a vehicle,” they continued.

The vehicle is planned to have facial recognition software to enable it to be unlocked as it does not have door handles. There will be the possibility of having multiple users in instances of shared ownership.

However, information on how many users can be programmed has not yet been released.

Afeela says it aims to achieve Level 3 autonomy, in addition to Level 2 plus.

Entertainment and connection

The vehicle can be customised to be unique to its driver, the brand says, with adjustable ambient lighting and 360 spatial audio, giving the interior a surround sound effect.

In-car TV show streaming is possible via the front infotainment screen, in additional to rear seat entertainment screens for passengers, allowing for movies, games and music.

There is also an in-vehicle karaoke app, with the potential option of linking with other people not in the car via Wi-Fi, however this was not confirmed as a final feature.

During the prototype demonstration, it was said it is also possible to link remotely to a PlayStation 4 or 5 and play within the vehicle.