You can't let EVs cook themselves, right?
Not a fan of the huge Lexus spindle grille? Too bad, because it's here to stay. Ever since we first learned a couple of years ago that many long-time customers of Toyota's luxury brand were not at all happy with this design direction, Lexus has essentially doubled-down on its application to all models. How come? Because this styling is working. New and younger customers are walking into Lexus showrooms and driving home in one instead of say, a BMW or Audi.
Lexus is evidently pleased with the ways things are going. But now that electric vehicles are quickly becoming a part of automakers' lineups, such as the Audi e-tron, does Lexus have a new styling language in mind? Nope. The large grille will remain in battery electrics for a very a good technical reason.
Speaking with the general manager of the Lexus Design Division, Koichi Suga, Autocar India has learned that the spindle grille's aesthetic role is just one part of the equation. "EVs also need lots of cooling for the batteries. You may have seen how your mobile phone gets hot because of the battery, so you can imagine the heat an EV's battery generates," Suga explained. "You need proper airflow to cool this. We have battery lifespan that is important to consider and we also have charging equipment, so perhaps our engineers are not at that stage where we can completely eliminate any kind of air-intake duct from the front which is still very important."
There are also some additional practical reasons why this grille design will remain for the foreseeable future: "Our cars have lots of radar systems and many sensors as well. So when you have a grille like this it's easy to install such kind of equipment and all the tech bits," he said.
However, this does not by any means the spindle grille will remain around forever. In fact, Lexus is even toying with the idea of creating a special look just for EVs, but it's in no immediate rush to implement anything. "For us to interpret and create a new kind of look is a challenge and that is something that we are working towards. So even our team right now are working on new designs, trying to answer that question," says Suga.