Conventional grilles on electric cars for aesthetic purposes

I feel the ICE variants look definitively better while the EVs look like after-thoughts.

BHPian Reinhard recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

Ever since EVs started appearing on the stage, we have started seeing closed-off grilles on their faces in most cases. Its of course about looks & looks are completely subjective. So some will like them, some won’t. I don’t. Most of the EV versions of existing ICE cars look rather awkward from the front. As if their mouth is covered with a duct tape. A car held hostage.

Its not that the car doesn’t need cooling when its an EV. Certainly, there are enough components that need cooling and ventilation in an EV also. Why not retain the vented grilles that we have grown up watching right from the Ford Model T? There is no express need to block those faces anyway. In fact – vented grilles save many grams of plastic & input costs (I’m sure Maruti EVs will have vented grilles).

Here are a few samples of conventionally powered cars vis-a-vis their EV counterparts from recent times. I feel the ICE variants look definitively better while the EVs look like after-thoughts (which they pretty much are in a way).

Volvo XC40

ICE:

Recharge (EV):

Hyundai Kona

ICE/Hybrid:

EV. No offence, but I think this is the ugliest execution of a street legal car’s face:

The MG eZS is an exception – where the EV has a pretty beautifully finished vented (I presume) grille just like the ICE counterpart also.

ZS petrol:

ZS EV:

How can a thread be complete without a Tata Easter egg?

We have the Tata Nexon 2020. When launched together with the EV, the ICE Nexons actually came with closed off top half of the grille. First I thought if they mistakenly started installing EV fascia on ICE cars! Interesting implementation here since EV as well as ICE Nexons structurally look identical, which is great. The real cooling anyway is achieved through little gaps under the T logo and the large air-dam and cooling vents around the Bi/Tri-Arrow lower grille.

ICE:

EV:

Of course – there are exceptions in cases of ground-up EVs like the iconic Teslas and stablemates. They look fine. In future, I guess cars designed as pure-blood EVs will have better aesthetics as designers pay more attention. Currently, most EVs are built on top of what were ICE cars, so there are limitations to what the designers can imagine for differentiation.

Personally – I’d still really prefer that the cars have traditional / conventional faces even when we see the imminent shift to Electric Mobility within a decade’s time. Grilles in our mind are a significant contributor to the car’s personality. Remember how much we are annoyed by the large kidney grilles of the new BMWs? Anything IMO looks much better than these flat slabs upfront. What do other BHPians think about it? Or there are even more aspects to it – like some benefits of having a closed grille for EVs that trump looks (I can think of lesser drag = better range + low wind noise to start with).

Here’s what GTO had to say on the matter:

EVs intentionally look a bit “different” for marketing + image purposes, and the fact that owners also want a differentiator. Similar to the green number-plates. There is no denying that driving an EV today has bragging rights. Also note that the examples you have listed above are ICE cars converted to EVs; they weren’t EVs built from the ground up.

I think a lot of manufacturers carry off the grille-less look well, especially them Teslas. The Model S is almost a decade old now, but see it in person and the car looks absolutely astonishing:

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Some other EVs that have really managed the transition well:

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Absolutely love what Rivian is doing!

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VW, being VW, will always get its styling right:

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Check out BHPian comments for more insights and information.

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