Nissan Leaf-Based Visteon E-Bee Previews Connected Future


  • Visteon E-Bee Picture

    Visteon E-Bee Picture

    The Nissan Leaf-based Visteon E-Bee previews a connected future. | January 11, 2013

3 Photos

Just the Facts:
  • A Nissan Leaf-based Visteon E-Bee concept previews what a connected car might look like in 2020.
  • The E-Bee is loaded with a reconfigurable instrument cluster and is designed for car sharing and private ownership.
  • In the meantime, a Harris Interactive study commissioned by Johnson Controls has found that drivers today want the convenience of connecting their phones and existing apps in their vehicles.

LAS VEGAS — A Nissan Leaf-based Visteon E-Bee concept previews what a connected car might look like in 2020. The E-Bee was part of this week's 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

The E-Bee is loaded with a reconfigurable instrument cluster and is designed for car sharing and private ownership.

Visteon says the car features controls that are "intuitive for each individual user." The concept is envisioned as a four-wheeled version of a smartphone.

In the meantime, a Harris Interactive study commissioned by Johnson Controls has found that consumers today want to use their phones and existing apps to connect safely and easily in their vehicles.

The telephone survey, conducted in December 2012, of 2,100 U.S. adults revealed that 84 percent want touchscreen control of their vehicles' infotainment systems; 83 percent would like updates delivered wirelessly; 76 percent want to connect to the internet using their vehicles as a Wi-Fi hot spot; and 61 percent want to be able to make purchases via a debit or credit card through their vehicles' infotainment systems.

The survey also revealed that delivering this connectivity safely was a critical factor for 75 percent of the respondents. And 64 percent identified convenience as an important consideration. Ideally, they'd like the menu choices within their vehicles to be identical to those on their smartphones, with the same familiar apps available for download.

With consumers relying more and more on portable devices, like smartphones and tablets, to maintain Internet contact while on the go, it's clear that the era of the connected car has arrived.

A 2012 study by Juniper Research of Hampshire U.K. predicted that "the integration of the smartphone into consumer vehicles will become all but standard on new models" and that 92 million vehicles will feature this technology within four years.

As consumers come to view such vehicle connectivity as a must-have rather than a luxury, automakers are being challenged to provide the technology quickly and at all price points across their ranges. And this will likely require significant investment and new business models.

But a six-month study by IBM entitled Transforming Retail, while acknowledging the additional pressure on the automotive industry, noted that "connected vehicles present the best opportunity for automakers to interact with their customers every time they use their car." The study concluded that enhancing the consumer's driving experience with increased connectivity also significantly builds customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Edmunds says: As mobile connectivity has changed other areas of our lives, it will undoubtedly continue to alter the way we interact in our vehicles and with them.

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