TOKYO — Sony announced on Tuesday that it was establishing a subsidiary devoted to transportation, taking it a step closer to entering the fiercely competitive electric car market.
The Japanese electronics and entertainment giant unveiled a prototype electric car last year and has begun road-testing the vehicle in Europe.
Speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony chief’s, Kenichiro Yoshida, unveiled a new version of the vehicle, a sleek S.U.V. that would, among other things, allow passengers to play video games made for the company’s PlayStation 5 console.
“We are exploring a commercial launch of Sony’s EV,” Mr. Yoshida said, referring to the electric vehicle. Sony will establish the new company this spring, he added.
Japan is a world leader in automotive manufacturing, but its companies have been slow to enter the small but rapidly growing electric car market. They have largely ceded the field to companies like Tesla even as traditional competitors in the United States and Europe have pledged to go all-electric in the coming decades.
Last month, Toyota announced that it would make a major investment in battery-electric vehicles and significantly expand its lineup of the automobiles in an effort to catch up with other companies offering alternatives to gasoline-powered cars.
Tech companies like Alphabet, Google’s parent company; Apple; and Baidu, the Chinese internet search company, have expressed interest in entering the market, hoping to bring their strength in fields like artificial intelligence to a consumer product that is becoming increasingly digital, online and software-oriented.
Electric cars have fewer components and are easier to manufacture than vehicles with internal-combustion engines, but these companies still face a challenging path to bringing vehicles to market.