Up close with the Lincoln Star concept: Smoother styling, new platform for brand’s future EVs

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Lincoln is celebrating its 100th anniversary this week—not of the company’s founding in 1917 but its acquisition by Ford five years later. As a part of those festivities, Lincoln is also unveiling a new electric vehicle prototype, the Star concept, although the company’s future electrification plans remain a bit murky.

Lincoln still hasn’t sold a single EV. Its current plans for future EVs include the introduction of three new fully electric models by 2025, with a fourth to follow in 2026. But there’s no information on when the first of those may arrive, and the Star concept only provides vague hints about which platforms might be used. It’s safe to guess that those vehicles will be SUVs of some kind, with Lincoln ditching its passenger car lineup completely.

Lincoln Star concept

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Lincoln Star concept

The Star concept rides on what Lincoln calls its “flexible battery electric architecture” that it shares with Ford, one of two EV platforms that Ford announced it was developing last year. This mid-size platform offers both rear- and all-wheel drive setups, hence the flexible part of the name, but Lincoln did not offer any details on the Star concept in regards to battery chemistry or motor technology, leaving those to be filled in later.

Stylistically, the Star concept is a departure from the current Lincoln SUV lineup that features more upright styling with flatter roofs and plenty of creases/chrome accents. There’s nary a bit of chrome to be found on the Star, it instead uses creative lighting to brighten up the exterior and features a sharply raked roof with a high point at the top of the windshield. The grille (and Lincoln designers insisted on calling it a grille) is completely flat and spreads across nearly the entire front of the vehicle, with the logo actually sunk in as a cutout that’s backlit so the surface stays smooth. Small geometric cutouts fan out from the logo so that light patterns can be showcased as well.

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

The most prominent lighting signature is the wide daytime running light that sits atop the grille and stretches up the hood, which also hides projector headlights behind it that are invisible when not in use. The hood itself is electro-chromatic glass, which is clear when driving to allow light to enter the front footwells of the interior. It darkens when parked to hide cargo that may be stored in the frunk. Both the front and rear cargo areas have split openings, with the lower rear cargo opening doubling as a seat for two for enjoying the outdoors.

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Inside, the Star concept is roomy. Designers said it was long enough to accommodate three rows of seating, but they instead opted to make the second row more of an executive space. Lincoln did not release official dimensions for the Star, but its overall length feels similar to the three-row Aviator. The interior’s centerpiece is a wide touchscreen that sits atop the dash and looks similar to the one shown in the Ford Evos that debuted in Shanghai last year—though this appears to be a single screen instead of the two side-by-side displays in the Evos.

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

Lincoln Star concept

The concept that Lincoln displayed didn’t have an interior—perhaps the strongest signal as to how far off the concept may be from production. But Lincoln also said that it expects more than half of its sales volume to be electric vehicles by mid-decade and for that to be true the company’s timeline will need to be expedited. If those three promised EVs don’t arrive until 2025, they will have a hard time accounting for that share of sales. It could be that the company revives its idea of a Mach-E based SUV to get out the door more quickly, but given its current state it’s hard to fathom an EV based on the Star concept, on a new platform, emerging anytime before 2024.

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