The transformations ushered in by electric vehicles aren’t only restricted to what powers the vehicle. EVs are sporting the latest forms of technology to change the interiors of vehicles as we know them, and buyers seem to be warming up to these changes.
The leader sets the pace
When Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) debuted its Model S, car enthusiasts were wowed by the giant screen inside the vehicle. Since Tesla was first to bring electric vehicles to the mainstream, others now feel compelled to follow the lead of Tesla by featuring a large screen in their offerings. This has started a race to see which automaker can feature the most technology in a car interior.
To get a feel for how the race to have the biggest screen will be, consider the fact that Mustang’s Mach-E from Mustang has a “giant” 15.5-inch screen while the EQS, which is scheduled to be unveiled soon by Mercedes Benz, has a 56-inch hyperscreen.
Fewer knobs and buttons
Many of the electric vehicles on the market come without the traditional start/stop button. In the case of the Volkswagen ID4, starting the car requires you to take your seat and press the brake pedal. And when you want to switch off the vehicle? Select park and exit the car, and the engine shuts off.
Other automakers have opted for fewer switches and knobs by transferring those functions to the touchscreen on the vehicle’s dash. Everything from climate control to starting or switching off the vehicle can be done using the screen. The upcoming Kia EV6 is an example of an EV taking this route.
Voice control taking over
Many EV makers have installed voice assistants to help drivers. For example, Volkswagen’s ID4 has a voice assistant that can perform simple tasks such as turning on the heater for the seats or switching songs as you cruise along the street. The idea of voice assistants isn’t new; many EV buyers may already be users of Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
Why the emphasis on high tech?
We have already mentioned that Tesla set the pace, but other factors may explain why automakers are going all out to equip EVs with a lot of tech in the interior.
A primary reason is that most buyers of electric vehicles are tech savvy and will quickly adapt or even expect sophisticated technology in an EV. By including high tech, automakers are meeting consumer demands and even pushing the needle for future buyer expectations.
Secondly, high tech is cost-cutting measure for EV makers. For instance, it is easier to design multiple functions into a touchscreen instead of wiring various springs and knobs on the dash of the vehicle.
Technology also helps to attain a minimalist interior free from clutter, and modern drivers appreciate that.
However, too much dependence on high tech has potential pitfalls. For instance, what happens when the touchscreen malfunctions and you have no button to start your vehicle or even turn on the AC? Only the car designers can answer that.
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