We’ve seen plenty of concept cars without side mirrors throughout the years. After all, they add wind resistance and diminish fuel economy or electric range. These design cues, though, are often left on the cutting room floor as concepts move to production. Audi however, with its upcoming fully electric crossover the E-Tron is looking to blaze a new and perhaps inevitable trail.
With cameras placed where mirrors would typically be, the E-Tron uses 7-inch OLED screen next to the A-pillars in the car that display what mirrors typically would. But, to add functionality, the displays can be zoomed, panned, and appears to offer some form of augmented reality, although that part is pure speculation based on the menu options shown in the video. The driver also, of course, has control over the passenger side camera allowing them the same functionality, just controlled from the driver’s seat.
While looking incredibly futuristic, it does give the driver way more granular control over their view and most importantly, blind spots. As with any tech, the potential for hardware failure is there, and the threat of leaving a driver without any view of the side of their car has made regulators in most regions, the U.S. included, reticent to approve cameras and displays used in this way. Which means, when the E-Tron launches in the U.S. later this year, we’ll see normal, and now suddenly boring, side mirrors.
The production E-Tron was supposed to debut in August, but after the arrest of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler for emission cheating, its launch time is still questionable. When it does eventually hit the market it will boast an estimated all-electric range of 248 miles.