In early 2020, Sony Group Chief Executive Officer Kenichiro Yoshida took the stage at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — the tech industry’s main annual event — and announced a once-in-a-decade pivot: The Japanese electronics maker was joining the electric vehicle race.

As Yoshida wrapped up his 30-minute presentation, the lights on stage dimmed and a glowing grille emerged from the shadows. The CEO raised his hands as a sleek, Sony-branded car rolled onto the stage. Like mobile phones during the past decade, "the next mega-trend will be mobility,” Sony’s chief declared.

With Yoshida’s pronouncement, the 76-year-old Japanese company joined a growing roster of technology giants plotting their foray into the automobile industry. As vehicles become electric, autonomous, gadget-stocked and web-connected, the movement is luring a wide array of new players — most notoriously Apple with its secretive Apple Car — all betting they have the technologies necessary to disrupt the $3 trillion market.