With the introduction of EVs, companies that don’t focus on vehicle production can actually join the vehicle game. The fact that EVs are based so heavily on software means that brands focused on consumer electronics can develop some very capable automotive products. Think about it, an EV is full of sensors, cameras, and software that needs to connect everything together. Also, just like a phone, it receives updates and can even be controlled via the device you have in your pocket. With this in mind, Honda has partnered with Sony to create an electric vehicle that may be game-changing. This vehicle is called the Afeela and it seems to feature new concepts and impressive technology. Let’s have a look at everything we know so far.
The Afeela Will Feature 45 Sensors
When the vehicle was released during the 2023 CES show, it was stated that the Afeela utilizes 45 sensors. Why would it need so many of them? Well, as you may be aware, EVs need such cameras for safety and driver monitoring. We suspect that the Afeela isn’t going to be a driver-oriented vehicle. It will probably be heavily based on autonomous driving which requires exterior cameras and sensors to make the correct moves and interior cameras that ensure the driver is still paying attention on the road. Interior cameras might feel intrusive, but they eliminate the need to touch the steering wheel to let the car know you’re still paying attention.
Its Design Screams Efficiency
When having a look at the exterior design of the Afeela, it is easy to see common design elements with other electric vehicles that are currently on the market. Since lithium-ion batteries can’t store much energy, efficiency becomes the name of the game in EVs. The amount of range is maximized by reducing mechanical and aerodynamic drag. This leads to a design that is similar to all electric vehicles. With that being said, the design of the Afeela is by no means bad. It actually looks quite good. It is very minimalistic with very few lines. The rear has the industry standard light bar and the front is much of the same story. Interestingly, the light-bar upfront can double up as an interactive screen which may introduce a new way in which vehicles can display information to us. For example, charge state, range, and other information can be displayed without needing to check the application on your phone. Finally, the mirrors are replaced with cameras and as is the case with all EVs, the door handles sit flush with the doors (both design elements are mostly used for aerodynamic purposes).
The Interior Gives An Upmarket But Minimalistic Feel
When getting inside, you are once again greeted with a familiar look. The interior is incredibly simple since the majority of functions are stored inside screens. Thankfully, there are some physical buttons on the steering wheel and a dial on the armrests which suggests that some controls will still be accessible through buttons. Under the screen, however, we do have touch-sensitive controls. Now, on each side of the dashboard, you will see two additional screens. Those function as rear-view mirrors. In fact, the whole design looks very similar to that of the small Honda E which makes sense since Honda is behind this vehicle.
Just like the front, the rear is also minimalistic. Large screens are placed directly in front of each seat (right behind the front seat headrests) and there appears to be a lot of head and legroom. Now, the most exciting part of all is the statement made by the company that the screens inside the Afeela will be able to support PlayStation and movies. Yes, you will be able to play video games and watch movies inside the car. We still do not know if the driver will have access to these features, but the rest of the occupants will certainly do. However, it will be cool to see a vehicle so proficient at autonomous driving that will enable the driver to do such things.
Will The Afeela Take Over The Automotive World By Storm?
First and foremost, we should state that the Afeela will go on sale in the United States in 2026. Since this is still three years away, we do not have any information regarding battery specs and motors. All we know is that it will be AWD; therefore, a dual motor setup (one on each axle) is expected. Since we do not have any official specs, it is difficult to judge whether the Afeela will be a game-changer or just another regular EV. However, some of the features available seem promising. The fact that it utilizes 45 cameras suggests that it takes autonomous driving seriously. If Sony and Honda put their knowledge together to build a system that exceeds the ones already available, we might have a game changer.
As we are sure you know, the main limitation of current autonomous systems is that the driver can’t focus their attention elsewhere. The vehicle may be driving on its own, but the driver’s attention is still required. If the Afeela manages to surpass this while also adding in-cabin entertainment, the world will certainly be impressed. Finally, a major breakthrough in battery technology might enable this vehicle to cover long distances with charging times that only take a few minutes. For example, 500 miles in just 10 minutes of charging. Yes, this sounds optimistic, but the competition is so high right now that this is the only way a car can get worthy of the “game changer” tag.