This is not really a surprise, but now we've got official confirmation: the Honda e will feature rear view cameras as standard.
We had already seen it coming as both development prototypes and the e Prototype pre-production study featured video cameras instead of rear view mirrors. However, what could be surprising for some people is that the Side Camera Mirror System will be fitted as standard to Honda’s electric compact car, marking a first in the segment.
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The compact rear view cameras provide live images to two 6-inch screens positioned inside the vehicle at either end of the dashboard. Honda says the displays are placed ergonomically "to ensure a natural feel and vision for the driver."
According to the company, opting for cameras instead of mirrors brings several benefits in terms of design, safety, aerodynamics and refinement. Styling-wise, the cameras give the car a modern, clean and simple appearance, complementing the stepless A-pillars and flush, "pop out" door handles.
Furthermore, the cameras are contained within the width of the Honda e and do not extend beyond the wheel arches. This serves to improve visibility and reduce aerodynamic drag by around 90 percent compared to conventional door mirrors; the car’s overall aerodynamic efficiency is improved by 3.8 percent thanks to the compact cameras alone! The tiny cameras also produce less wind noise than conventional side mirrors at higher speeds, thus contributing to a quieter ride.
As for safety, Honda claims the Side Camera Mirror System derived from the Honda e Prototype brings many advantages, including a "wide view" mode that extends the field of vision further, therefore reducing blind spots by approximately 50 percent. Furthermore, when reverse gear is selected, guidelines appear on the side view screens in addition to an enhanced camera angle for improved visibility.
But probably the biggest difference is felt in poor weather, low-light and night-time conditions, when the brightness levels on the interior displays are automatically adjusted to ensure superior visibility with no dazzle or glare. Speaking of bad weather, the camera unit housings are shaped to prevent water drops from forming on the lens, whose surface is treated with a water-repellent coating to deter any residual water build up.