Audi has just revealed interior shots of its new e-tron electric SUV, but the most interesting feature isn’t legal in the United States just yet. The rub here is that instead of tradition side mirrors, drivers will use seven-inch OLED displays mounted just above the door locks to monitor their surroundings.
It’s a transformative step, to be sure, and one we expect will be seen on more and more vehicles in the coming years. Given how quickly back up cameras made the transition from wiz-bang tech to mandated feature, we don’t see many hurtles for the company in convincing domestic regulators that they’ll be a perfectly safe replacement for their analog counterparts.
Because as far as functionality is concerned, the trick system will undoubtedly offer better visibility, and will have settings for highways, city streets, and parking. And you thought it was cool when you’re passenger mirror tilted down to help you parallel park!
Aside from safety, putting the “mirrors” inside the cabin has another big benefit, in that it makes the exterior more aerodynamic, which is a particularly big concern when you’re talking about a vehicle designed to be as efficient as possible. Put simply, less drag means it takes less energy to move the car forward, and every bit helps.
The full specs of the new SUV aren’t available yet, but range should come in well above the 200-mile mark, and charging speeds should make it viable option for a wide variety of drivers. The date of the official e-tron reveal hasn’t been released, but should occur in the United States before the end of the year.
Unfortunately, the first e-tron models you’ll see at your local AutoNation-affiliated Audi dealer will almost certainly still feature traditional mirrors, because laws don’t get rewritten overnight. That said? We wonder if there might be some kind of update for early adopters, so after the regulations catch up with the technology, buyers could simply swing by the dealer for an update. We’ll have to wait and see…