Tesla (TSLA), Auto Alliance Submit Proposal to Ditch Side Mirrors

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers – an association of 12 of the largest car manufacturers that includes Volkswagen, Toyota Motor Corp (TM) and General Motors (GM) — as well as Tesla Motors (TSLA), has filed a petition with The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration [NHTSA] to permit automakers to replace rear and sideview mirrors with a high-tech system of three video screens.

Both parties filed the petition last week arguing that eliminating the traditional side mirrors in favor of side-view cameras, could be just as effective, if not more. Tesla has been asking for this change for two years now, arguing the replacement would improve the vehicle’s aerodynamics – a critical factor in helping it achieve fuel efficiency. According to some estimates, by just getting rid of side mirrors, aerodynamics could improve as much as 5% overall.

“The Alliance is petitioning NHTSA to allow automakers to remove side-view mirrors and replace them with cameras that may expand side vision while increasing fuel efficiency,” the Auto Alliance said in a press release.

The request comes on the heels of a NHTSA announcement made last week, which outlines a long-delayed rule that will require backup cameras in all new light vehicles — including cars, SUVs, trucks and vans — built in and after May 2018.

The rule would be final in 60 days and would start phasing in on May 1, 2016 models. Under the rule, all vehicles would be at 100% May 1, 2018.

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