New 2020 Honda e: camera mirror system will be standard kit

Order books are open for the Honda e ahead of Spring 2020 launch, and Honda has begun to confirm final specs

Honda has confirmed that the upcoming Honda e electric city car will come with door mounted cameras rather than conventional mirrors as standard. 

The system will be lifted directly from the close-to-production Honda e prototype, which Honda has used to closely preview the design of the final car ahead of its final unveiling early next year. Small stalks with rearward facing cameras are equipped on the doors and broadcast a live feed direct into the cabin on screens placed at either extreme of the dashboard. 

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The driver will be able to configure a normal or wide view, while Honda claims they are 90 per cent more aerodynamically efficient than normal mirrors. Alone, Honda says that the camera stalks contribute 3.8 per cent more to the e’s all-electric range.

The car is now available to pre-order in the UK with a refundable reservation fee of £800. First deliveries for the Japanese firm’s baby EV are expected by Spring 2020, with pre-order customers given priority status.

Honda has revealed five new colour options for the electric supermini, with white, blue and gun-metal metallic finishes available, as well as a subdued black and striking yellow. The Japanese firm says it has already received over 20,000 ‘expressions of interest’ across Europe, with 6,000 coming from the UK.

The Honda e prototype, which debuted at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, is “98 per cent” the finished car and the finished design. Remaining revisions to the production version due to be shown in September will be limited to software and drivetrain tweaks, so not to discourage the influx of interested customers.

Honda’s design team used the brand’s classic cars, such as the Mk1 Civic, as inspiration. As such, it retains relatively compact dimensions, measuring 3,895mm long, 1,750mm wide and 1,495mm tall, making it more compact than the BMW i3 and the Renault ZOE. As such, there is only seating for four people, with a full-width rear bench accommodating two adults.

Exterior design chief Ken Sahara told Auto Express: “The production car was finalised before we showed the concept, so the design was fixed. Other areas of the business were sceptical about our approach; but the reception the concept car received changed that.”

The Honda e sits on a new, dedicated platform for EVs. Honda claims the car will be capable over 125 miles (WLTP) on a single charge and, when plugged into a fast-charging unit, it’ll recover 80 per cent of its battery capacity in 30 minutes.

However, Honda is yet to confirm the size of the e’s battery pack. Using the quoted range as a guide, we suspect it’ll come with a battery capacity of around 30kWh; less than half of that offered in the Kia e-Niro. A single electric motor on the rear axle drives the car, but Honda has yet to issue any performance figures.

Designers have started from scratch with the e’s cabin. It’s dominated by a bank of digital screens; two 12.3-inch displays sit side by side to create a single dash display that stretches across the width of the dashboard and provide access to a suite of in-car apps and media functions.

Two six-inch monitors sit in each corner of the dashboard to show the rear view from the cameras on the doors that act as wing mirrors, while a smaller digital readout replaces conventional instruments.

There is currently no indication of how much the Honda e will cost, but project leader Kohei Hitomi indicated it will not be a budget vehicle. “Cost is an important factor,” he told us. “Look at the iPhone: they are not cheap products but still everybody wants them. The high cost has a justification. It is full of practicality and performance – we believe the same of our electric vehicle. We do not want to provide a low-cost product.”

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