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Honda's Coolest New Car Ditches Ordinary Side Mirrors

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Adopting a technological first for the segment.

Earlier this month Honda announced the name of its new urban EV, the Honda e. Sadly, it's not slated to come to North America, but don't let that rather dull name fool you; Americans are missing out on this one. The all-electric urban hatchback is a retro-styled subcompact that looks very similar to the very well received 2017 Urban EV concept. At the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, Honda showed an updated concept that was nearly production ready. And it appears that one of its styling elements typically deemed concept-only will make production.

The Japanese automaker has confirmed the Honda e will get the trick Side Camera Mirror System as standard, a technological first for this segment. These side cameras replace the conventional side mirrors entirely. Pop-out door handles will also see production.

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Occupants will be provided live images sent to two six-inch screens integrated at either end of the dashboard. They have been appropriately positioned to provide a "natural feel and vision" for the driver. Compared to regular side mirrors, the camera in these units is contained within the width of the car and don't extend beyond the wheel arches. Not only does this help improve overall visibility, but they also help reduce aerodynamic drag by around 90 percent, compared to regular mirrors.

Honda claims this results in a 3.8 percent aero improvement for the vehicle as a whole. This camera system also reduces wind noise at higher speeds. Furthermore, designers shaped the camera housing units to prevent water dripping onto the lens by applying a water-repellent coating to the lens surface.

Drivers can choose between two views, Normal and Wide. This provides for optimal safety thanks having the capability to extend the field of vision further than with conventional side mirrors. Blind spots are also reduced by 10 percent in normal view and by nearly 50 percent in wide. When the reverse gear is selected, the view screens will show "guidelines" along with an enhanced camera angle to further expand visibility. The brightness levels on the interior displays also automatically adjust in poor weather conditions and at night in order to avoid any glare.

Reservations for the Honda e are currently underway but we still don't have a precise on-sale date. Chances are, the final production version will debut this September at Frankfurt.