It looks like an EV-style enclosed grille but can be used for any type of vehicle.
Without the need to cool a conventional, internal combustion engine, electric vehicles are often equipped with an enclosed front grille. The BMW i3 is an example of this, while the Tesla Model Y doesn't have a traditional front grille at all.
Ford's Mustang Mach-E also has a smoothed-over front-end, and the automaker has filed a patent with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a new grille assembly with a mostly enclosed design that appears to be for an EV. Notably, the patent details that the grille has an illuminated grille logo.
The patent, discovered by a user on the Mach E Club forum, displays images of the flat grille with a narrow slit just below it. In the description of the design, a "display assembly" is also described, which leads us to believe that this could be more than merely an illuminated grille and possibly a means to communicate some kind of information via the grille itself.
Interestingly, Ford has used what looks a lot like a Lincoln Continental for illustrative purposes in the patent's sketches. However, the patent specifies that although a sedan is used, the grille design could apply to other body styles as well as human-operated or fully autonomous vehicles.
Lincoln already offers an illuminated grille for models like the Navigator, while other automakers like BMW offer similar optional upgrades. Considering this, we're inclined to believe that Ford, Lincoln's parent company, has more advanced uses for this latest patent. Ford's patent also makes note of the different airflow needs for vehicles with different powertrain types.
While not all patented technologies find their way into production models, they often provide a glimpse into the (sometimes near) future. Last year, Ford was found to have filed a patent for an innovative car cover that doubles as a charger for your EV by utilizing solar power. It remains to be seen if that piece of tech makes its way into production, and if the new grille assembly is merely aesthetic or something more interesting.