Audi E-Tron EV gets side cameras instead of mirrors for aerodynamics

A production first — shiny glass is so 20th century

  • Image Credit: Audi
It's finally happening. After decades of cameras replacing boring old side mirrors on concept cars, Audi will bring the feature into production on the Audi E-Tron electric crossover SUV. They're shown on the prototype above. The optional cameras are mounted to little winglets where the standard side mirrors would have been. As for where you see the cameras' views, there will be an additional screen in the area to the left of the instrument cluster for at least the left camera. Audi wasn't totally clear about the screen for the right-hand camera.

While it is cool to see a long-teased feature actually reach production, we're not entirely sure the feature is going to be that great to use. We've found the rear-view screen mirrors from Cadillac and later Nissan require some adjustment to get used to, at minimum, since the screens show a fixed angle, and they don't provide any depth perception.

Audi does say the cameras improve drag, though, which can be very important for cars. Audi says every .01 coefficient of drag reduces range by about 5 kilometers. The company revealed that the E-Tron has a Cd of 0.28. For comparison, the Kia Niro has a drag coefficient of 0.29. Audi made additional tweaks beyond the mirrors for aero, though. They include the various grille shutters, standard adaptive air suspension to lower the car as needed, and even tires that have numbers and logos etched into the rubber instead of raised.

And just in case you forgot, Audi is estimating the E-Tron will go 248 miles on a charge baseed on the WLTP test cycle (expect EPA testing to differ). It goes on sale in Europe by the end of the year, with U.S. sales expected sometime later. While U.S. availability wasn't specifically mentioned by Audi, it's possible they could become available. According to Automotive News, the U.S. was expected to adopt vehicle regulations regarding side mirrors and cameras this year that would be similar to those in Europe that will allow the Audi to have them over there.

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