Skip to main content

GM’s camera rearview mirror is ok, Federal regulators say

2016 Cadillac CT6
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Almost a year ago, General Motors showed off a rearview mirror that could stream feed from a camera, and promised to offer it on the Cadillac CT6 luxury sedan. Now, the feature has received approval from regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx confirmed this in an interview earlier this week with NPR. He then tweeted a letter dated February 22 confirming that the camera rearview mirror complies with federal safety regulations. Essentially, the NHTSA doesn’t believe that adding the camera component makes a difference in terms of compliance.

The mirror can switch between camera and conventional rear view with the press of a button. Using the rear-facing camera, Cadillac claims visibility improves by up to 300 percent, and that the view is as obstruction-free as in a convertible with the top down.  The camera is supposed to eliminate blind spots caused by pillars and such, and provide a wider-angle view.

After the CT6 goes on sale in the U.S. in March, GM plans to offer the camera rearview mirror on the 2017 Cadillac XT5 crossover and the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV electric car. The XT5 will go on sale in April, while Bolt EV production won’t start until closer to the end of this year. A feature like this helps GM show off its tech savvy, hence its inclusion on high-profile luxury cars and the company’s electric car tour de force.

While regulators seem okay with a rearview display that is still a conventional mirror, it’s hard to say whether they will go further. Certain carmakers want the government to legalize sideview cameras as a replacement for mirrors, in part because of potential aerodynamic benefits.

BMW showed a mirrorless i8 concept at CES last month, and Tesla Motors has lobbied hard for sideview cameras like the ones shown on the original prototype version of its Model X. Tesla and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers lobbying group petitioned the NHTSA in 2014 to allow sideview cameras, but so far regulators haven’t budged.

Stephen Edelstein
Stephen is a freelance automotive journalist covering all things cars. He likes anything with four wheels, from classic cars…
The Kia EV9 is being built in Georgia — making it a whole lot cheaper
Kia EV9 GT-Line Three Quarters

Kia has officially kicked off production of the EV9 electric SUV in Georgia. That's big news for a number of reasons. First, it makes the EV9 the first EV to be assembled in Georgia. Second, it means more solid jobs in the U.S. And third, it means that the well-priced electric SUV is about to get even cheaper.

The reason for the price decrease is simple -- by moving production of the EV9 to Georgia from Korea, the SUV will now qualify for the federal EV tax credit, bringing the total price of the vehicle down by a hefty $7,500. It was already one of the more affordable electric SUVs, but the big rebate makes it even more enticing.

Read more
Kia EV3 vs EV6: How does Kia’s new EV compare with its most popular?
White Kia EV3

The Kia EV3 is finally coming, and it could end up being Kia's most popular electric car. It is also quite likely to be Kia's cheapest EV to date, while still offering high-end features, great tech, and a solid range. But, of course, the EV3 will have to compete with other Kia electric cars -- like the much-loved EV6.

The Kia EV6 was Kia's first of its latest generation of electric cars. Essentially, it was built to prove the concept of electric cars for Kia, with a stylish and unique design and an excellent range. It's fast, too -- especially the Kia EV6 GT.

Read more
How are cars going to differentiate themselves when performance is a commodity?
Front three-quarters view of a 2023 Kia EV6 GT in a desert setting.

Cars seem to be simultaneously getting more exciting and more boring at the same time. Fifteen years ago, performance was the thing that set high-end cars apart from the rest. Sure, it’s important not to understate things like design and comfort, but ultimately, high-end cars were different because of their performance. But these days, you can get behind the wheel and hit the accelerator on a sub-$40,000 EV, and get to 60 seconds in only a little more than three seconds. That’s a level of power that only the most expensive cars of 15 years ago could approach.

Now, to be clear, driving dynamics are about a lot more than 0-to-60 times, and even I can easily fall into the trap of boiling performance down to that one number. To be fair, a point could be made that it’s an easy metric for most car buyers to understand, and that the nuances of steering dynamics and the feel of a car are largely indiscernible to most people. But the fact remains that the feel of the brakes and suspension, as well as the tuning of the engine or motors, all impact how a car is going to react when you get behind the wheel.

Read more