By on January 17, 2019

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:

Image: GM

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

Byton SIV concept

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.

Volkswagen I.D. crozz concept

2019 Niro EV

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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15 Comments on “Lincoln Promises ‘Elegant’ EVs, but Will They be Visible?...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Well, it seems like each of these EV automakers has done an approximation or implied version of their standard grille motif. So, that shouldn’t be too hard for Lincoln to do.

    The hard thing for that brand will be to come up with a consistent corporate grille identity for all their cars, and stick to it. They’ve been through so many in the last fifteen years. Their current one looks good; they should stick with it.

    • 0 avatar
      James2

      Jaguar kept their grille and even made it aerodynamically functional for the I-Pace. Too bad Jaguars no longer look like Jaguars.

      +1 on Lincoln sticking to its current design.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    Hopefully not something hideous like Infiniti and Cadillac.

  • avatar
    la834

    Lincoln EVs don’t need a fake grille. They just need suicide doors…

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    Lincoln still exists?

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So just put a decorative grill on it. Heck, the Model S looked a lot better when it had the faux grille. Problem solved.

    When do I get a check from Ford?

  • avatar
    dwford

    How about Lincoln do something more than casually mention their vaporware EV? Even Cadillac drew a picture of one.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    Even on ICE cars where the ventilation is required, some part of the grill is probably fake. There’s no reason their designers can’t continue to put a completely fake grill on their EV to give it the look they want.

    The Tesla Model S certainly looked better to me when it still had a fake grill.

  • avatar
    James2

    Ford Mach E… it just sounds so stupid.

    Please, Ford, how about “Maverick” or “Falcon” or, hell, “Contour”… anything but “Mach E”.

  • avatar
    xflowgolf

    Lincoln has reshaped and rebranded their fascias and grills several times over the years so they should have little to worry about. I agree there will be a challenge having continuity, but I think there’s plenty of room to allow EV’s to look distinct and not just having had “an eraser to their front ends”.

    On the other hand, what will BMW do without their beloved kidney grilles? They’re running head first into larger and larger kidney grills as their distinct persona. Same could be said for the hideous gaping maws on Lexus CUV’s.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      trackratmk1

      It’s almost impossible to recreate the low slung front ends of the 90s cars you mentioned on anything destined for the global market. Blame the ridiculous pedestrian impact standards in Europe. If you look at most new cars/suvs from last couple years you’ll notice the hood heights have grown, creating an air gap between the sheetmetal and the top of the engine. Designers don’t know what to do with this requirement to make a car look halfway decent other than make vertical front ends instead of sloping wedge ones.

      It’s too bad – a higher hood raises the belt line / shoulder height of the side profile, so to balance that out aesthetically it usually results in smaller windows and less visibility through the glass. It’s just another step towards the homogeneity of styling, especially for side profiles of cars. SUVs are naturally taller and look better with chunky vertical front ends and suffer less from this affliction, but the vertical grill is ubiquitous there as well.

  • avatar
    EBFlex

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


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