It’s a tragedy that our world is more and more technology-hungry, just for the sake of it. Nobody has ever complained that it takes much effort to operate a toothbrush, yet someone invented the electric toothbrush. We also have electric can openers, and power-operated trunk openers have appeared recently on a few models (not just an automatic hatch release). It’s entirely true that energy consumption is minimal, but this is “energy consumption” versus “no energy consumption”. Complexity versus simplicity.
For aesthetic reasons, the upcoming Audi R8 e-tron, an electric supercar, does not have a rear window. There’s no glass behind the side windows, meaning the car cannot have a central rear view mirror. The original Lamborghini Countach was pretty much like that too. The rear window was so small, that the engineers declared it useless, and they invented a brilliant solution to that problem: a periscope. Only the first Lamborghini Countach have it (those built between 1974 and 1976), and they’re the most sought after today. In 2012, Audi owns Lamborghini, but they chose something more complicated for the rear view mirror of their R8 e-tron.
Audi’s engineers have conceived a rear view system with a rear-mounted video camera and a high-tech digital screen. Audi says its system is low voltage and long-lasting (it’s the same tech smartphones have), which is probably true, but a conventional rear view mirror is even longer lasting, doesn’t need any electrical current at all, and is also cheap and easy to replace if broken.