The Honda E electric hatchback promises to be the first car with a full-width digital dash.
The automaker confirmed Thursday that the high-tech design shown in prototype versions of the E will make it to production. This means five individual screens joined in a flowing array spanning the width from A-pillar to A-pillar. A sixth screen serves as the rearview mirror.
2020 Honda E prototype
You might be wondering what all the screens do. A screen at the base of each A-pillar serves as the corresponding side mirror. The Honda E uses rear-facing cameras instead of side mirrors, like the Audi E-tron in some markets. The screen directly behind the steering wheel serves as a digital instrument cluster and the two remaining screens to the right of it serve as the infotainment hub, which will feature numerous in-built apps plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.
The infotainment screens are the biggest, spanning 12.3 inches across each. They also feature touch capability, allowing them to be controlled just like a smartphone. Content can easily be swapped across the two screens, allowing the passenger to look up info or enter navigation details and then pass the screen over to the driver. When not use, the screens can display images to provide a feeling of comfort in the cabin. They can also playback video when the car is parked.
2020 Honda E prototype
There are still physical buttons for key functions, many of them located on the steering wheel. However, Honda has also added AI-based voice activation, dubbed the Honda Personal Assistant. The driver can use natural speak to make instructions and machine learning will, over time, enable the technology to become accustomed to a user's voice, reducing the need for repeated commands.
WiFi connectivity means owners can connect to the Internet when in the car and remain connected to the car itself when outside. Using a smartphone, owners will be able to check the vehicle charge status, control the climate control, and monitor the security and location. Safety alerts can also notify owners if the car is moved outside of a set geofenced zone. Finally, a smartphone can also be used as the car's key.
Honda E powertrain infographic
The Honda E is based on a dedicated EV platform. A single electric motor sits at the rear and generates a peak 142 horsepower and 221 pound-feet of torque. The battery is a 35.5-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion unit and Honda estimates the range will be 125 miles. The water-cooled battery is located in the floor and can be charged using either a Type 2 AC connection or a CCS2 DC high-speed connection, with the latter able to deliver an 80-percent change in 30 minutes. Charging is handled via a port in the center of the hood, the location picked to make it easy to plug a charging cable from either side of the vehicle, or the front.
Sadly, Honda has no plans to offer the car in the United States. The only market confirmed so far is Europe, where deliveries are due to commence next spring.