Lincoln Promises 'Elegant' EVs, but Will They Be Visible?

lincoln promises 8216 elegant evs but will they be visible

Numerous observers walked away from the North American Auto Show, and more specifically Cadillac’s NAIAS Eve unveiling event, wondering whether electric crossovers are even more homogenous looking than their internal combustion brethren.

So, when Ford’s North American president, Kumar Galhotra, claims a Lincoln vehicle born of the Ford Mach E (or some similar name) will carry on the brand’s tradition of “quiet luxury,” one wonders how a vehicle without the need for a traditional grille will avoid getting lost in a sea of anonymity.

Galhotra’s comments came during his appearance at the Automotive News World Congress in Detroit on Wednesday. While the unnamed Lincoln, which borrows the electric platform used by Ford’s 2020 crossover, doesn’t have a launch date, there’s no doubt it’s on the way. The exec claims it won’t resemble its Mustang-inspired Blue Oval sibling.

“You can make beautiful vehicles in different ways,” Galhotra said. “The BEV technology gives us so much freedom to sculpt that vehicle exactly how we want it. We’re going to create elegant Lincoln BEVs.”

Expect a vehicle that echoes the brand’s ethos of “understated, quiet luxury,” he added.

Why all the concern on the part of this writer? Take a gander of what we’ve seen emerge from the industry over the past couple of years. Here’s Cadillac’s vision of its upcoming EV:

Meanwhile, Chinese startup Byton hopes to get this EV to the U.S. market at some point in the near future:

While not a crossover, Lucid wants its Air to capture luxury customers, too:

Infiniti’s QX Inspiration concept heralds a production crossover in the brand’s electrified future:

Further down the price ladder, EV crossovers (both planned and in production) from Volkswagen, Hyundai, and Kia also took an eraser to their front ends.

While Hyundai and Kia’s EVs get a pass due to the existence of pre-existing ICE Konas and Niros, ground-up creations — with some exceptions — prefer to trumpet their greenness with deleted grilles. And what’s Lincoln’s most prominent design cue?

It’s even harder to make a crossover stand out from its competition when there’s no need to fill front-end real estate with a massive portal, meaning Lincoln’s designers will have their work cut out for them. Too quiet, and Lincoln won’t be heard.

[Images: Ford, Nissan, Byton, Lucid, Hyundai, Kia, Volkswagen, General Motors]

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jan 17, 2019

    Either build the car with a hoodline that looks good without a grill (look to the early 90's...Lexus SC, Saturn S series, etc) or put a fake grill on it. Cars like that Infinity and even the post refresh Tesla S that have a space for the grill and then have no grill look stupid. People just want it to look good.

    • See 1 previous
    • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Jan 18, 2019

      @trackratmk1 Then give them a fake grill. Is the Toyota 86 not sold in Europe? It has a reasonably low hoodline.

  • EBFlex EBFlex on Jan 17, 2019

    Lincoln struggles enough trying to make normal vehicles appealing. This is like trying to climb Everest without legs.

  • MaintenanceCosts The sweet spot of this generation isn't made anymore: the SRT 392. The Scat Pack is more or less filling the same space but it lacks a lot of the goodies, including SRT suspension, brakes, and seats. The Hellcat is too much and isn't available with a manual anymore.
  • Arthur Dailey I am normally a fan of Exner's designs but by this time the front end on the Stutz like most of the rest of the vehicle is a laughable monstrosity of gauche. The interior finishes suit the rest of the vehicle. Corey please put this series out of its misery. This is one vehicle manufacturer best left on the scrap heap of history.
  • Art Vandelay I always thought what my Challenger really needed was a convertible top to make it heavier and make visability worse.
  • Dlc65688410 Please stop, we can't take anymore of this. Think about doing something on the Spanish Pegaso.
  • MaintenanceCosts A few bits of context largely missing from this article:(1) For complicated historical reasons, the feds already end up paying much of the cost of buying new transit buses of all types. It is easier legally and politically to put capital funds than operating funds into the federal budget, so the model that has developed in most US agencies is that operational costs are raised from a combination of local taxes and fares while the feds pick up much of the agencies' capital needs. So this is not really new spending but a new direction for spending that's been going on for a long time.(2) Current electric buses are range-challenged. Depending on type of service they can realistically do 100-150 miles on a charge. That's just fine for commuter service where the buses typically do one or two trips in the morning, park through the midday, and do one or two trips in the evening. It doesn't work well for all-day service. Instead of having one bus that can stay out from early in the morning until late at night (with a driver change or two) you need to bring the bus back to the garage once or twice during the day. That means you need quite a few more buses and also increases operating costs. Many agencies are saying for political reasons that they are going to go electric in this replacement cycle but the more realistic outcome is that half the buses can go electric while the other half need one more replacement cycle for battery density to improve. Once the buses can go 300 miles in all weather they will be fine for the vast majority of service.(3) With all that said, the transition to electric will be very good. Moving from straight diesel to hybrid already cut down substantially on emissions, but even reduced diesel emissions cause real public health damage in city settings. Transitioning both these buses and much of the urban truck fleet to electric will have measurable and meaningful impacts on public health.