Lincoln Motor Co. has no plans to launch an autonomous vehicle for retail buyers anytime soon, but its designers have some ideas for what it might look like.
Ford’s luxury brand on Thursday unveiled the Model L100 concept, a self-driving sedan longer than the stretched Navigator L and powered by a solid-state battery. The concept, not intended for production, includes wild features, such as a digital floor that displays customizable colors and graphics; a crystal “jewel-inspired chess piece controller” that replaces a traditional steering wheel and acts much like a computer mouse to help occupants guide the vehicle; and “smart” hubcaps that can be programmed to display patterns or other information, such as battery charge levels.
The L100 model – named for the centenary of the 1922 Lincoln Model L – debuted Thursday ahead of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where Lincoln is the featured marque. Its exterior design shares some similarities with the recently unveiled Star concept, and the designers say the L100 model will likely inspire their work on future production models.
“It’s like a breath of fresh air for our creative juices,” said Ryan Niemiec, Lincoln’s chief interior design officer. Automotive News. “It expands where our minds go with the brand.”
Lincoln celebrates 100 years under Ford ownership and is poised to transform its global portfolio for the electric age. Leaders have promised to launch three electric vehicles globally by 2025 and a fourth in 2026.
“Lincoln is one of the world’s most enduring and stylish automotive brands, and in many ways is perfectly positioned for a second century defined by great design, zero emissions and technology-driven experiences.” , Executive Chairman Bill Ford said in a statement. “Lincoln has always been special to me and my family, especially my father and grandfather. If there’s one secret to Lincoln’s longevity, it’s the brand’s ability to balance its core values with a desire to innovate and create the future.”
The exterior of the L100 model features a glass roof and reverse-hinged doors that allow occupants easy access to the vehicle. Instead of a traditional EV “frunk,” Lincoln placed a crystal greyhound hood ornament — a nod to its early logo — inside a clear hood, which it calls a “box. to jewelry”.
There are no traditional screens inside the vehicle. Instead, a sliding center console features the “chess piece” controller that can be moved from the front to the rear of the cabin, depending on how it is configured. The front row seats can be flipped to create a social environment while the vehicle drives itself.
Kemal Curic, Lincoln’s global design director, said Automotive News his team began working on this concept – previously known internally as Centennial – even before designing the Star. He said such projects have benefited both designers and engineers.
“It’s almost like you can have unlimited creativity,” Curic said. “With the L100 and the Star, we can test ideas and get feedback, so when you see cars on the road, they’ll be even better. We can take a lot of ideas from those concepts, and they’ll end up in some form on vehicles at the end.”