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Lincoln debuts electric, autonomous Model L100 Concept car

Jordyn Grzelewski, The Detroit News on

Published in Business News

Lincoln's latest concept car is both a nod to the luxury brand's past and a preview of its electric, technologically-advanced future.

Ford Motor Co.'s luxury division on Thursday debuted the Lincoln Model L100 Concept at Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in California, where Lincoln is the featured marque as part of the brand's 100th anniversary celebration.

The Model L100 — the name of which is a nod to the 1922 Lincoln Model L — is the second concept car the brand has debuted this year. Lincoln in April revealed the all-electric Star Concept vehicle. The Model L100, designers said in an interview, is a step forward from what the Star Concept represents.

It's envisioned as a battery-electric, autonomous vehicle featuring a sleek, aerodynamic exterior and a roomy, luxurious cabin that marks a departure from a traditional interior. The vehicle is one of Lincoln's longest and widest designs, and sits low to the ground.

Inside, the vehicle features an interactive center console "chessboard" with a jewel-inspired "chess piece" controller that replaces the traditional steering wheel — a design enabled by it being an autonomous vehicle.

The Model L100 Concept includes driver-centric as well as social seating configurations. To create social seating, the passengers can flip the front-row seats forward so they're sitting across from the rear passengers.

 

The interior was designed to be an "immersive environment," according to Lincoln, with a digital floor, canopy and ambient lightning. While leaning into digital connectivity and software-enabled experiences, designers said the interior also is meant to provide something of a digital detox, free of unnecessary buttons and keeping in line with the Lincoln brand's vision of its vehicles as "sanctuaries."

The vehicle — whose exterior features metallic paint and frosted acrylic — has a glass roof and reverse-hinged doors. Smart wheel covers use lighting and sensors to provide information on motion, battery life and human presence.

The vehicle senses passengers approaching, activating a "light symphony" that follows them around the vehicle, using an artificial intelligence system and GPS sensors.

"The lighting was a very, very important thing," said Kemal Curic, Lincoln's design director. "Because in the past, Lincoln was all about the large chrome ... grilles. Now we're really playing up the light."

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