As the automotive world switched from vehicles powered by dead dinosaurs, electric vehicles are also a chance for manufacturers to think very differently about what we expect from an interior and infotainment system.
The new Honda e features intuitive and advanced connectivity in a contemporary passenger cabin that Honda says, sets a new benchmark in the compact EV segment.
Complementing its simple and clean exterior styling, the interior of Honda’s new urban electric vehicle uses subtle, contemporary materials, presenting a relaxing and modern feeling space once inside.
Connected infotainment helps the car to seamlessly integrate with the owner’s modern urban lifestyle through sophisticated, easy-to-use technology. As a result, the driver and passengers – whether the car is driving, parked or charging – can enjoy the same connectivity and comfort with comprehensive connected services accessed through a next-generation full-width digital dashboard.
“Our objective for the Honda e was that the simple exterior style continues inside. The overall interior atmosphere combined with exceptional comfort by using familiar materials such as wood grain and textured fabric, is reminiscent of a modern living room.
In this modern, relaxing environment, occupants can effortlessly engage with advanced connected technology such as the camera mirror system and dual touchscreen display that is highly sophisticated, but incredibly easy to use.”Kohei Hitomi, Large Project Leader, Honda e.
Full-width digital dashboard
The Honda e’s full-width digital dashboard is designed for effortless usability of connected apps and services. Five neatly integrated high-resolution colour screens together occupy the entire width of the car’s interior.
Side Camera Mirror System screens are ergonomically placed at either end of the dashboard to ensure a natural feel and vision for the driver, while the Centre Camera Mirror System display relays the image from a central rear-facing camera, further increasing the driver’s field of vision.
An 8.8-inch TFT metre instrument display in front of the driver presents key vehicle information including power and charge status, drive mode selected and safety feature details.
Dual screens display connected services side-by-side
The largest area of the Honda e’s full-width digital dashboard is occupied by dual 12.3-inch LCD touchscreens. These are the primary infotainment displays, presenting a range of intelligent applications and services.
This sophisticated interface is highly intuitive, customisable, and has been designed for ultimate usability to elevate the car beyond being a means of transportation to become fully integrated into the owner’s modern connected life.
The interface features familiar smartphone-style usability, with swipe controls to browse recently used applications. Content can easily be swapped across the two screens, enabling the driver to utilise content on both screens with simplicity and ease.
This function allows the passenger to swipe content such as navigation instructions into the driver’s eye line. Because the dual-screen set-up allows two applications to be displayed side-by-side, the driver and front passenger can independently select and view separate apps. For example, while the driver follows navigation instructions, the front passenger can search for a music playlist.
Honda Personal Assistant for AI-powered connectivity
Connected services and applications can also be accessed using voice commands via Honda Personal Assistant. The intuitive Honda Personal Assistant is a smart artificial intelligence (AI) service that uses unique contextual understanding to create natural conversations and provide access to a range of online services.
The unique Honda Personal Assistant is activated by saying, “OK Honda”, followed by the question or instruction. Machine learning enables the technology to develop a greater understanding of individuals’ voice over time, helping it to deliver more accurate responses.
The comprehensive suite of in-built apps can be supplemented by seamless smartphone mirroring, via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. These systems enable users to view social media, music and other internet services on the dual touchscreens. When the vehicle is parked – including when charging – occupants can also watch video content and access the internet on their own mobile devices using the Honda e’s Wi-Fi hotspot.
Smartphone Honda application for remote access
Away from the car, Honda e owners can enjoy the peace-of-mind of being able to stay connected to their vehicle remotely through a smartphone application.
The service has been completely redeveloped for a greater focus on the user journey, with easy navigation to access charging functions, detailed vehicle status, climate control, security and location monitoring. Additional connectivity and EV-specific functions include battery charge control and range monitor, while charging station and navigation search results can be sent to the car from a mobile device.
The Honda e is also accessible using a digital key, allowing the car to be locked and unlocked via the app. Safety alerts can notify owners if the vehicle is moved outside of a set ‘geofence’ zone.
Honda’s new compact electric vehicle is a key part of the brand’s latest commitment to feature electrified technology in 100% of its European sales by 2025. Presented in prototype form at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, the first Honda production battery electric vehicle for the European market will make its mass-production debut later this year.
Honda has already received 36,000 expressions of interest. The production version of the Honda e will be unveiled later this year and customers can make a reservation for priority ordering online in UK, Germany, France and Norway or register their interest in other European markets on the Honda national websites.
Honda Australia and Electrification
“The futuretechnology available in the global Honda network is really exciting. Electrification is a key part of Honda’s global plan and locally in Australia, we have targeted 25% of our range being electrified – either Hybrid or battery electric vehicles by 2025.
We are always looking into what would be right for our customers in Australia from our global portfolio. The Honda e is a very special car and so much of what Honda is about in terms of design and technology, however at this stage it is confirmed within Honda globally for Europe only.
We are looking into a business case for it in Australia but factors such as price, range, infrastructure and market conditions would all need to make sense for our customers,”said Mr. Robert Thorp, General Manager, Product, Customer & Communications.