The imminent release of the new Ford F-150 Lightning electric pickup might be getting all the attention in the EV world right now, but Ford’s luxury brand is hard at work on a series of all-electric vehicles that could change how we think EVs — and transportation in general.
The new Lincoln Star concept, unveiled this evening at a showy event in Hollywood, is meant to tease us with what’s coming in the three electric vehicles Lincoln will launch by 2025, plus another in 2026.
Concept cars are always described in flowery design language, and the Lincoln Star is no different. Lincoln says it embodies its core tenets of “beauty, human, gliding, and sanctuary.” I see how they get there, but the Star also has a lot of “whoa, that’s awesome!” bits as well.
3. The Moods
Whether you’re looking to be relaxed or invigorated, Lincoln has designed a series of “Rejuvenation Moods” that combine light, sound, and event scent to “provide a true sanctuary” for driver and passengers.
The three moods — Coastal Morning, Mindful Vitality, and Evening Chill — each combine a different sequence of visual, audible, and olfactory cues to help you recenter. Lincoln designed the moods with the circadian rhythm of the morning, afternoon, and evening in mind.
With its calming ambient soundtrack and outdoorsy, Evergreen fragrance, Evening Chill was the most popular amongst the automotive journalists gathered at a preview event for the Lincoln Star.
Though Lincoln didn’t specifically call out autonomous driving as a potential use case for the Star concept or the Rejuvenation Moods, the various seating positions in the vehicle and the different screens suggest it could be a relaxing escape from stop-and-go commuter traffic.
2. The Welcome
Lincoln has created an elaborate and welcoming light show for when the car is unlocked, beginning with the iconic Lincoln Star logo (after which the car is named) in the center of the front grille.
The light then grows to the daytime running lights and a series of subtle twinkles across the full width of the grille. Finally, a light strip emerges that runs nearly the whole circumference of the front hood.
The Lincoln Star emblem is embedded flush within the grille, like a protected jewel. Lincoln designers explained that the star is the brand’s guiding light and that its prominence symbolizes a sailor’s navigation of the world via the North Star.
The rear of the vehicle receives similar treatment:
As LED lighting technologies have advanced, carmakers have made increasingly elaborate exterior lighting presentations. In some ways, these are critical to the car's appearance, as visual elements like functional grilles are removed because of the reduced cooling requirements of an EV.
Elaborate light shows will likely become a design signature of many automobiles moving forward.
1. The Aperture
A frunk is so pedestrian. Rather than just putting storage up front where the engine used to be, Lincoln’s designers integrated that front storage into the passenger compartment itself.
In addition to spacious legroom, electrochromic glass in the hood — is it still called a hood? — allows sunlight to flood the compartment, spreading warmth and light throughout the cabin.
EVs allow for a rethink of what an automobile looks like. The skateboard platform, the battery in the floor beneath the passengers, and the lack of an enormous engine and fixed powertrain give designers the freedom to try some pretty crazy ideas.
“What can we actually do with this space? How can we make this feel more open?” asked Lincoln designer Robert Gelardi in an interview with Inverse. The idea, he says, was to give onlookers an immediate sign that this is an EV and doesn’t have a powertrain under the hood.
The glass covering on the front of the Lincoln Sky concept can change from clear to opaque thanks to electrochromic glass, allowing drivers to hide their valuables when parking the car. A slide-out front bumper provides for a bit of extra secured storage, and the hood rises up on movable pillars, rather than pivoting on complicated hinges.
Lincoln believes more than half of its global volume will be from EVs by the middle of this decade, with three new EVs coming by 2025 and a fourth by 2026. All will be inspired by the Lincoln Star concept.
“Signifying transcendence through both space and time,” explained Lincoln Global Design Director Kemal Curic in a press release, “the concept creates a sense of peace and serenity within an electric experience and previews what is to come from Lincoln.”
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