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

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

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]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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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.

  • NJRide So this is an average age of car to be junked now and of course this is a lower end (and now semi-orphaned) product. But street examples seem to still be worth 2500? So are cars getting junked only coming in because of a traumatic repair? If not it seems a lot of cars being junked that would still possibly worth more than scrap.Also Murilee I remember your Taurus article way back what is the king of the junkyard in 2024?
  • AMcA I applaud Toyota for getting away from the TRD performance name. TuRD. This is another great example of "if they'd just thought to preview the name with a 13 year old boy."
  • Jeff Does this really surprise anyone? How about the shoes and the clothes you wear. Anything you can think of that is either directly made in China or has components made in China likely has some slave labor involved. The very smart phone, tablet, and laptop you are using probably has some component in it that is either mined or made by slave labor. Not endorsing slave labor just trying to be real.
  • Jeff Self-driving is still a far ways from being perfected. I would say at the present time if my car took over if I had a bad day I would have a much worse day. Would be better to get an Uber
  • 2manyvettes Time for me to take my 79 Corvette coupe out of the garage and drive if to foil the forces of evil. As long as I can get the 8 track player working...