Last week I had the opportunity to experience Visteon’s e-Bee concept car (http://e-bee.visteon.com), which is based on a Nissan Leaf but has a remarkably different interior – one much roomier than I’m used to.
The car is Visteon’s take on what a car might look, feel, and act like in 2020, by which time Visteon expects that car sharing and short-term rentals will be more common than they are today. Especially in those circumstances Visteon sees benefit in user profiles – HMI colors and layout – stored in the cloud so the car will be familiar and intuitive for each user.
Credit the roomy interior in part at least to a climate module that combines the HVAC system with the refrigerant system. It’s placed outside the cabin. Airbags are positioned in the headliner. Each occupant has access to a door-mounted module for controlling individual climate zones, and also to a personal headrest-mounted audio system. Audio content can be played from a Bluetooth® device set in a wireless charging bay in the door.
The driver interface includes a head-up display for basic information, a good-sized head-down display for navigation or other trip-related material, and two smaller touch screens on either side of the steering wheel; one dedicated to car data and the other to infotainment. In lieu of a rear window Visteon’s e-Bee has a 180-degree panamorphic rear-view camera.
A narrow band of LED lights encircles the interior. Visteon’s thought is that myriad warnings about potentially dangerous driving behaviors may create potential for confusion or annoyance. It’s conceivable that over time drivers may tend to pay less attention to warnings than a specific situation warrants. In such circumstances the LED lights can create a hard-to-miss “shooting star” effect to focus a driver’s attention.
There is more, of course. Cars based on the e-Bee concept can be personalized for geographic regions (different display types and storage options) and for individual owners with various physical app accessories. The HVAC system includes a cooled shopping box in the trunk as well as a “gentle air diffusion” feature, a cluster ion generator and a fragrance auto diffusion system.
The future will be here before we know it.