Friday, October 21, 2022

Q & A With Lincoln's Chief Exterior Designer Earl Lucas As He Talks Brand's EV Future And More

Chief Exterior Designer Earl Lucas with the Lincoln Star Concept (Photo Credit: Shawn Lee)

Lincoln is currently celebrating its 100-year anniversary as an iconic luxury brand. While the luxury brand segment remains hyper competitive, as such newcomers as Genesis, Lucid Motors and Tesla make waves, catching the eye of consumers, goes one-on-one with Earl Lucus. Lucas has been instrumental in using his God given talent and leadership skills, crafting stylish designs to keep the brand relevant, as the auto industry slowly shifts toward electrified vehicles. 

Lincoln Star Concept (Photo Credit: Lincoln)

In fact, as Lincoln's chief exterior designer, the artistic genius is one of about seven Black car designers globally who has staked their place in automotive design history, as a senior leader in the automotive design field. Added to that, Lucas is a member of an exclusive club of approximately thirty Black car designers globally, creating the vehicles we love to drive. More importantly, the highest-ranking Black car designer in the history of Ford Motor Company recently added a new title in front of his name, which he wears proudly, grandfather. As Lucas relishes in his new role, he took time to speak with us about the future of the Lincoln brand.

J Hey Earl, tell us about your role as Lincoln's chief exterior designer of the Lincoln Star Concept.

EL My role on the Lincoln Star Concept was the exterior lead. The Star Concept represents our step into an electrified future. I was extremely honored to participate on the Star.... because as the automobile evolves, this car will guide us to a new tomorrow and shows how Lincoln will define future luxury.

J Why was this concept vehicle name the Lincoln Star? 

EL The metaphor of the Star is used with this concept because it is guiding light showing us the path forward in an electrified world. The name gives us clarity of the importance of this concept.

Earl Lucas with Lincoln's Star Concept (Photo Credit: Shawn Lee)

J Besides the Lincoln Star being a fully electric vehicle (Battery Electric Vehicle), what makes this concept a standout for the brand?

EL The Lincoln Star is a standout for the brand because it shows the fully evolved surface language of our Quiet Flight design DNA. The surfaces are even more human and more elegant than our current production products. With the Star, we have removed the traditional chrome details, while advancing the finishes. The exterior is Satin Amethyst which we believe is royal but done in a more youthful execution.

J While I know that Lincoln has the Aviator and Corsair plug-ins, when should consumers expect to see the first battery electric vehicle (fully electric vehicle) from the brand?

EL We haven’t yet shared specific details for Lincoln’s first fully electric vehicle – we will have more to share in the future. But, I can say that our first fully electric vehicle will be a very distinct vehicle that advances our Quiet Flight DNA, and the global debut of the Lincoln Star Concept previews what that can look like.

J Are there any elements from the Star Concept that will show up in future Lincolns?

EL The Star Concept is a vision of an electrified Lincoln. It will help guide us with surface language and capturing our brand ethos. As future Lincolns present themselves, the Star will have an influence on them.

J Will the Lincoln Star evolve from a concept to one that we can find on showroom floors?

EL The Star is a concept and should be received as such. However, if past Lincoln show cars can be used as an indicator, Lincoln concepts help guide production products.

J With Lincoln making the shift to BEVs, should we expect a sedan, coupe or convertible in the brand's portfolio again? As you know, Cadillac is launching a $300,000 flagship car.

Lincoln Star Concept (Photo Credit: Lincoln)

EL We are aware of the competition and will remain true to our brand and our product time cycle. Our brand is human-centric and will deliver products that our customers want and desire.

J When will the entire Lincoln brand be electrified?

EL Lincoln will make the transition to electric over time and by mid-decade; we expect about 40 percent of Lincoln’s global volume will be zero-emissions vehicles – part of the company’s Ford plus plan. We’ll share more specific details on the number of vehicles and timing at a future date.

J Have electric vehicles changed the art of how you are designing? 

EL Yes – the electric vehicle has changed the art of designing vehicles because the electric powertrain allows for new silhouettes.

  Lincoln Star Concept (Photo Credit: Lincoln)

J Here's the last question. After we were forced to work remotely during the height of Covid, what elements from that experience have been incorporated into how you lead with your design team now that you're back in the studio?

EL I believe that the Covid experience made all of us appreciate our in-person interaction more. The WebEx meetings are problematic because we can interrupt each other and talk out of cadence. We took for granted the normal interactions and normal speaking patterns of in-person meetings. Our team is highly motivated to push the brand forward after the Covid experience... and Covid did teach us more about being human.

J Earl, thank you again! As you know, you continue to make all of us proud.  

Lincoln Star Concept (Photo Credit: Lincoln)

Lucas was responsible for such breakout hits as the 2010 Ford Taurus and the 2018 Lincoln Navigator.

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