The new Honda E electric vehicle will be fitted with cameras instead of door mirrors on every variant, the Japanese manufacturer has confirmed.
First revealed to the world in September 2017 as the Urban EV Concept, the E is a rear-wheel-drive electric hatchback designed to compete with the Renault Zoe. Unlike the Zoe, however, the brand new Honda will get retro styling and a high-tech cabin, as well as cutting-edge mirror technology.
The so-called "Side Camera Mirror System" is similar to the virtual door mirrors seen on top-of-the-range versions of Audi’s new E-Tron electric SUV, and uses rear-facing cameras and small screens in the cabin to show drivers the view down the car’s flanks. In the case of the Honda, the cameras sit in housings just below the window line, with their images fed back to six-inch screens at either end of the dashboard.
Honda claims the system will help the car "retain a modern, clean and simple design," which already includes stepless A-pillars and flush-fitting "pop-out" door handles. The company also says the side cameras will not protrude beyond the wheel arches, unlike conventional door mirrors, which could prevent the car from fitting through gaps or into garages.
And the advantages don’t stop there. Honda also notes that the cameras are more aerodynamic than conventional mirrors, improving the car’s efficiency and range. And there are safety advantages, too, with a choice of "normal" or "wide" views available for the driver to select. The wide view is said to reduce blind spots by half, while even normal view provides a 10-percent improvement.
Honda is also planning to integrate the reversing camera system with the mirrors, projecting guidelines on to the six-inch displays to help drivers maneuver. And to prevent the cameras becoming clouded by water or dirt, they will have specially designed housings that stop water droplets appearing on the lens, which will also feature a water-repellent coating.
In a statement, Honda said: "“As well as improving visibility, these compact cameras reduce aerodynamic drag by around 90 percent compared to conventional door mirrors. The result is an approximate 3.8-percent improvement for the entire vehicle, contributing to the models' overall efficiency and range. Furthermore, there is a significant reduction of wind noise compared to normal side mirrors at higher speeds.”
The Honda E electric car is expected to hit the roads at some point in 2020, with the full production version’s reveal slated for later this year. However, prospective customers can already make a reservation or register their interest in the new vehicle.
Gallery: Honda e - Side Camera Mirror System
HONDA CONFIRM SIDE CAMERA MIRROR SYSTEM AS STANDARD FOR HONDA E
- Side Camera Mirror System delivers design, safety and aerodynamic benefits
- Camera images are relayed to interior screens ergonomically positioned for drivers view
- Reservations for priority order of the Honda e are now open in selected European Markets
Honda has confirmed that the Side Camera Mirror System seen on the prototype version of the new Honda e urban electric vehicle will be standard when the car enters production. The technology, a first in the compact segment, brings significant benefits for styling, safety, aerodynamics and refinement.
The Side Camera Mirror System replaces conventional side view mirrors with compact cameras providing live images to two six-inch screens inside the vehicle. These screens are integrated at either end of the dashboard, ergonomically positioned to ensure a natural feel and vision for the driver.
The next-generation camera technology helps the car retain a modern, clean and simple design, and complements the stepless A-pillars and flush ‘pop out’ door handles also confirmed for the production version of the Honda e. Unlike conventional side mirrors, the cameras are contained within the width of the car and do not extend beyond the wheel arches.
As a result, not only is visibility improved, but also the compact cameras reduce aerodynamic drag by around 90% compared to conventional door mirrors – an approximate 3.8% improvement for the entire vehicle that benefits the car’s efficiency and range. Furthermore, there is a significant reduction of wind noise that is normally generated by side mirrors at higher speeds.
The camera unit housings are also deliberately shaped to prevent water drops on the lens, with a water-repellent coating on the lens surfaces to deter any other residual water build up.
The optimal positioning of the Side Camera Mirror System cameras delivers a host of safety advantages. The driver can choose between ‘normal view’ and ‘wide view’ via the vehicle settings, extending the field of vision further than with conventional side mirrors and reducing blind spots by around 10% in normal view and approximately 50% in wide view. Further benefits are experienced when reverse gear is selected, guidelines appear on the side view screens in addition to an enhanced camera angle, expanding visibility.
Brightness levels on the interior displays are automatically adjusted based on the prevailing light conditions. Extensive testing and development have been undertaken to ensure the Side Camera Mirror System delivers superior visibility in poor weather, low-light and night-time conditions with no dazzle or glare. This provides drivers with greater clarity and awareness of surrounding objects than conventional side view mirrors in all conditions.
Honda’s new compact electric car is a bold step for the brand in terms of design and technology, and forms part of the brand’s strategy to feature electrified technology in all cars it sells in Europe by 2025. It will feature a competitive range of over 200km, ‘fast charge’ functionality providing 80% range in just 30 minutes.
Inside, the spacious, contemporary interior creates a comfortable lounge-like feel with an intuitive and customisable dual touch-screen interface to keep passengers engaged with their connected lifestyles. The car’s sporty rear-wheel drive set up, advanced electric powertrain and high-performance battery, delivers a fun, dynamic driving experience.
The production version of the Honda e will be unveiled later this year and customers can make a reservation for priority ordering online in UK, Germany, France and Norway or register their interest in other European markets on the Honda national websites.