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Audi Looks to Save Battery Power with Camera Mirrors

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Behind the Badge Symbolism in Audi's Four Rings Logo emblem

When engineers are looking to design the latest car, drag is a big thing they pay attention to. The more aerodynamic a vehicle is, less power is needed to move it down the road. While better fuel efficiency is great for traditional vehicles, higher drag on electric cars could trim much-needed miles off of the vehicle’s range (and they aren’t as easy to refuel quickly as gas powertrains). Audi has recently decided to modify one key component of most vehicles to make its upcoming e-tron SUV more aerodynamic than ever – the exterior rearview mirrors.

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According to Green Car Reports, designers have always viewed exterior mirrors as a necessary evil when it comes to aerodynamic design of vehicles. Not only do they create drag, but they also can cause significant wind noise (when the wind hits mine just right, they actually whistle). Audi’s e-tron SUV will reportedly be the first production car to have cameras replace traditional mirrors. Like the components they replace, the cameras will be mounted at the bottom of the front windows to provide the view drivers are used to. They will supposedly look like little jet engines when mounted.

The cameras might seem like a silly thing to change, but Audi claims that an improvement of 0.01 in drag coefficient improves the range of its electric SUV by about three miles. Since mirrors usually add about .015 to .03 to the drag coefficient, cutting off the mirrors could help the e-tron SUV travel an extra six or nine miles on one charge.

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Unfortunately, while camera mirrors are legal in the rest of the world, they are not allowed in the United States. We hope someone at the top will change their minds so we can see these cool devices in action.

News Source: Green Car Reports