Update: ‘Design & Features’ section updated.
Ford Motor Company’s luxury brand Lincoln has confirmed the launch of four electric vehicles by 2026. One of these zero-emission models will likely be a Lincoln Navigator Electric that could compete with a Cadillac Escalade IQ. Here’s our expectation from the flagship Lincoln electric car:
Design & Features
The Lincoln Star Concept unveiled in April 2022 will be the north star (no pun intended) for every Lincoln electric car. Lincoln said during the Star Concept’s announcement that the concept hints at its design language for its EVs. Compared to the gas-engined Navigator that’s currently in the fourth generation, the first-ever Navigator electric should be sleeker and more dynamic.
Expect the Navigator Electric to have fluidic surfaces, a closed-off upper front fascia, connected headlights, and a full-width tail lamp. The electric model may have a lower and more steeply sloping hood and a sloping roofline that leads to reduced drag and thus lower energy consumption.
Lincoln will likely offer the Navigator Electric with 24-inch wheels, a feature that’s quickly becoming a tell-tale sign of true American full-size vehicles. GM already offers 24-inch wheels on the GMC Hummer EV SUV, GMC Hummer EV Pickup, GMC Sierra EV, and Chevrolet Silverado EV, and we don’t see a reason why it wouldn’t offer the same on the upcoming Cadillac Escalade IQ, which will be based on the same platform as these models and directly compete with the Lincoln’s Navigator Electric. What’s more, according to reports from GM Authority and Ford Authority, GM’s gas-powered 2024 full-size SUVs and Ford’s next-gen Navigator will also come with 24-inch wheels.
Inside, expect a slim dashboard with bare-minimum physical controls and a coast-to-coast curved horizontal display, a compact two-spoke steering wheel, and elegantly designed door panels. A flat floor, long wheelbase, and new space concepts would make the Navigator Electric a more practical family hauler than the current, gasoline-powered model.
With a growing awareness of the ethical and environmental problems with animal leather, more people are looking for cruelty-free, sustainable, and recyclable materials in their car’s interior. Notably, the Mustang Mach-E, which comes from the same family in Dearborn, has adopted a leather-free interior. It will be interesting to watch how Lincoln responds to these car buyers.
Lincoln would use the space under the hood not occupied by a gas engine to provide extra cargo space. The frunk may have USB charging ports and electrical outlets as well. Bidirectional charging would allow recharging other EVs and powering electrical camping equipment, domestic appliances, and electronics using the electricity stored in the high-voltage battery pack. Families would be able to enjoy camping and other adventure activities, work from a remote place, and power homes during an outage.
Autonomous Driving features
Lincoln ActiveGlide allows Level 2 hands-free driving in current Lincoln models on more than 130,000 miles of Hands-Free Blue Zones, which are pre-qualified divided highways, in the U.S. and Canada.
Ford is developing two new vehicle platforms, Hau Thai-Tang, former Chief Product Platform & Operations Officer, Ford Motor Company, said at the 2021 Capital Markets Day on May 26, 2021. One is a “rear-wheel drive/all-wheel drive BEV flexible architecture” for mid-size trucks and rugged SUVs, including Ford Explorer Electric and Lincoln Aviator Electric. The second platform is a “scalable dedicated BEV architecture” for next-gen full-size pickup trucks, which is suitable for a model like a Navigator EV.
Whether the Navigator Electric would also have a body-on-frame layout remains to be seen. While the original Hummer SUVs were body-on-frame, General Motors, with the BT1 architecture, has adopted a new approach for the Hummer EV SUV. The electric model is neither a body-on-frame model, nor a unibody model, but between the two (GM engineers are dubbing it ‘Ultibody’). Here the battery pack powering the motors is a part of the vehicle structure.
Locally-made battery pack
The Ford Expedition Electric’s battery pack will have an energy storage capacity of 100 kWh, and its targeted range is 350 miles. The Lincoln Navigator Electric is likely to be a mechanical cousin of the flagship Ford EV, so it may, too, have the same pack. However, being a luxury model, it will likely be slightly heavier, and thus its range could be around 320 miles. Even the relatively lower figure would be impressive for what will be a behemoth SUV.
Ford Motor Company’s designers and engineers are paying extra attention to efficiency, as the company strongly believes installing huge batteries for achieving a decent range isn’t the right solution. “If you have those kinds of batteries, you will not make money,” Jim Farley, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company, said at the company’s Capital Markets Day on May 22, 2023.
At the same event, while talking about the Ford Expedition Electric, Doug Field, Chief Advanced Product Development and Technology Officer, Ford Model e, Ford Motor Company, said that the battery pack that’s one-third smaller (100 kWh instead of 150 kWh) and lighter saves the company thousands of dollars. Speaking further, Field indicated efficiency has become an obsession at the company, which will significantly benefit customers, giving them EVs that are more affordable, cost less to drive, and deliver an impressive range:
The teams have put together these little pocket cards that say, What are the trade-offs of efficiency? How much do I get for every little piece of weight that I take out of the vehicle? What do I get for better tires? What do I get for more efficiency and propulsion?Doug Field, Chief Advanced Product Development and Technology Officer, Ford Model e, Ford Motor Company (Ford Capital Markets Day 2023 on May 22, 2023)
The battery pack used in both the aforementioned full-size EVs could be the IonBoost unit consisting of lithium-ion cells with a new high-energy NMC cathode. Thai-Tang said at the 2021 Capital Markets Day that IonBoost has “the highest energy density in its type in the world.” There’s 88% nickel content in the cathode, which “is a breakthrough,” Thai-Tang said.
Ford Motor Company will likely develop the Navigator Electric’s battery pack at Ford Ion Park in Romulus (Michigan), USA. Built specially for researching and developing battery and battery cell technology, the new facility will entail an investment of USD 100 million. The company may manufacture the battery pack at the USD 5.8 billion BlueOval SK Battery Park in Glendale (Kentucky), USA. BlueOval SK is an alliance between the American automaker and the South Korean battery company.
Production & Release Date
The Lincoln Navigator Electric should be available in the market by 2026.
In recent years, Lincoln has been met with challenges in capturing market share, and the introduction of a product like the Navigator EV could potentially serve as a much-needed catalyst for the American brand’s revival. The Navigator EV has the potential to be a game-changer, providing Lincoln with the opportunity to pull in a broader customer base.
The Lincoln Navigator Electric will likely be a posh full-size three-row SUV offering seats for up to eight people. It should be substantially more comfortable than the gas model and feel effortless to drive. Designed and engineered as an EV from the outset, it should pack loads of extra space for people and cargo. Plus, with features like V2L support and frunk, it could be even more practical for long-haul family trips.
The Lincoln Navigator Electric could be launched by 2026.
The Lincoln Navigator Electric could cost around USD 95,000 onwards.
The Lincoln Navigator Electric will likely compete with the Jeep Wagoneer S and the Cadillac Escalade IQ.
Featured image: TopElectricSUV’s rendering of the Navigator Electric, purely for illustrative purpose.