Why door mirrors could be a thing of the past
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There are a few parts of a 'normal' modern car that – when looked at from a strict engineering point of view – are becoming a little redundant. The main hub of inconvenience and lack of efficiency in a car right now is of course the internal combustion engine, which is really an air pump with a frankly ridiculous amount of moving parts waiting to go wrong.
The alternative is quickly becoming the simple and efficient electric motor, with the car market teetering on the edge of being suddenly filled by EVs such as the Audi e-tron, Jaguar I-Pace and Tesla's range of vehicles.
But a new revolution is coming that may be physically small compared to a propulsion change, but will be a seismic shift in the way we have driven cars for over 100 years. Audi is about to release the e-tron – without door/wing mirrors. Instead, the car will have a set of cameras.
The cameras sit in tiny aerodynamic housings that mean the widest part of the e-tron is 6 inches smaller than if normal door mirrors were in place
No more straining your neck to glance at the extremities of the car for every manoeuvre – the digital world is coming to make our lives much easier.
The cameras on either side of the car feed into LED screens that sit between the dashboard and the door, meaning that they're in the general direction of conventional mirrors but bring a new level of convenience to everyday driving.
It will also help the aerodynamics a surprising amount
To maximise performance and fuel efficiency of a vehicle, making it as aerodynamically efficient as possible is a must. Although you'll never be able to make an SUV the sleekest and slipperiest shape in the world, manufacturers like Audi are doing everything they can to make sure its new electric car doesn't have any jaggy bits that could disturb airflow.
Particularly at high speeds, door mirrors can have a massively detrimental effect aerodynamically.
If you think about the shape of a standard mirror, they will act as wind brakes the moment the car is up and moving, resulting in motorway fuel economy depleting by roughly 5% due to the drag that door mirrors create.
For electric vehicles, having large mirrors will obviously affect range and with Audi looking for the e-tron to blast past the 300-mile range mark, having the option to get short of the mirrors may be the vital ingredient for achieving that target.
How do you feel about this new venture away from door mirrors? Will you be relieved to not have to constantly fold them in to avoid the local delivery man smashing them off as he does his morning rounds? Tell us what you think in the comments below!