Those with an eye for detail may have noticed the side mirrors on Honda's upcoming e, or lack thereof. Preview images and the early concept shown at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 2017 indicated that it would use cameras mounted to the outside as virtual side mirrors, and the company has now confirmed this will come as standard when the the all-electric urban vehicle enters production in the coming months.
The Honda e follows the trail carved out by the Audi e-tron as well as the Lexus ES, which became the first production car to swap out physical mirrors for digital versions late last year. Honda says this is a first for the compact car market, and points to a number of benefits including aesthetics, safety and aerodynamics.
Indeed, the exterior mounts of its Side Camera Mirror System are said to be entirely contained within the width of the car, reducing aerodynamic drag by around 90 percent compared to typical door mirrors. This, according to Honda, makes for around a 3.8 percent improvement in the entire car's efficiency and range.
The cameras are coated in water-repelling material to keep the view clear, and relay a live stream of the action behind the driver to small displays mounted inside the cabin. Drivers can adjust the angle of the cameras to offer a normal view, said to reduce blind spots by around 10 percent compared to typical mirrors, and a wider view, said to reduce blind spots by around 50 percent.
There's a couple of other safety-oriented features of the technology, too. When in reverse, the system's interior displays will light up with additional guidelines, while the brightness of these displays adjusts automatically to exterior lighting conditions in an effort to keep the view sharp.
Honda isn't set to start delivering the e until springtime in the Northern Hemisphere, though it had already attracted more than 25,000 registrations of interest as of last week. Compact, clean and built for city travel, it will offer a range of more than 125 mi (200 km) and be capable of fast-charging from 0-80 percent in just 30 minutes.
The video below provides on overview of Honda's Side Camera Mirror System.
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