Full-width digital dashboard revealed for the Honda e compact EV
Honda has been drip-feeding details on its forthcoming Honda e electric hatchback for a while now. We've learned about the radical camera-based side mirrors and the "skateboard" chassis, and now Honda has revealed details of the stylish – yet almost domestic looking – panoramic digital dash.
If you're thinking of registering your interest in this elegant little urban EV, perhaps you should ask if it comes with a handy pocket for screen-wipes, because with a full-width dash made up of five high-resolution color screens, you may find yourself removing a lot of fingerprints. Furthermore, how many people are going to be tempted to put their coffee on that near-flat dashboard?
The screens at the extreme left and right of the dash are for the Side Camera Mirror System, which might not be legal yet where you live, but is designed to aid safety and aerodynamics. Imagine never again having to look through a rain-soaked window into an equally hazy external side mirror.
The traditional driver's console is replaced with an 8.8-inch TFT instrument display showing speed, power, charge status, drive mode and all the usual safety features and warnings you'd expect. Nothing particularly new here, but in the context of the full-width experience it's pretty cool.
In the middle – well, slightly to the right – of this quintet of screens sits two 12.3-inch LCD touchscreens, which take up the bulk of the dash area. This is where the real magic happens and the interface will be second nature to anyone familiar with smart phones as it features both touch and swipe controls with customizable apps. You can even swipe information from one screen to the other. For example, your passenger might be looking up the best way to get to a restaurant. Once the navigation is set, they can swipe that from the right-hand screen to the one closer to your line-of-sight.
All of the Honda e's settings can be independently controlled from either of these screens and custom on-screen shortcut buttons can be created for each display.
Of course, the system integrates with any smartphone and offers further integration via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Speaking of smartphones, you can also lock and unlock the Honda e via its smartphone app, which will also alert the driver if the car moves beyond a predetermined geofenced area.
Honda has also designed its own voice assistant system for the EV, complete with a little helper icon reminiscent of Microsoft's old paperclip assistant – and hopefully less annoying. Activated by the command, "OK Honda", the assistant employs machine learning to tune itself to the user's voices over time. The Honda e also offers a Wi-Fi hotspot that is available when the car is parked, but it's unclear whether this requires its own data plan with a third party or if it piggybacks off the driver's smartphone.
"Our objective for the Honda e was that the simple exterior style continues inside. The overall interior atmosphere combined with exceptional comfort by using familiar materials such as wood grain and textured fabric, is reminiscent of a modern living room," says Kohei Hitomi, Large Project Leader, Honda e. "In this modern, relaxing environment, occupants can effortlessly engage with advanced connected technology such as the camera mirror system and dual touchscreen display that is highly sophisticated, but incredibly easy to use."
To date, Honda has had 36,000 expressions of interest from potential customers in the EU for the e, and the production version should be unveiled later this year. Priority ordering is already available to customers in the UK, Germany, France and Norway. Everyone else should keep a keen eye on their local Honda websites.
Source: Honda Motor Co.,Ltd.