Cadillac Designer Says EVs Can Look Stylish And Be Efficient

Cadillac’s senior VP of global design says EVs don’t have to look boring


by Brad Anderson

June 11, 2024 at 09:09

 Cadillac Designer Says EVs Can Look Stylish And Be Efficient

  • The designer’s statements come shortly after the carmaker unveiled the U.S. spec Optiq.
  • With aero efficiency a key consideration for EVs, many manufacturers are opting for simple, minimalist designs.

The Cadillac Lyriq, Celestiq, and Optiq have radical designs by EV standards and according to the company’s senior vice president of global design, Michael Simcoe, there’s no need to design EVs that look like “a lozenge with wheels.”

As manufacturers try to squeeze as much range from their EVs as possible, many are adopting simple design philosophies, prioritizing soft lines. This is particularly evident in vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y, as well as many of the EVs coming out of China. However, Simcoe believes it’s possible to make efficient and stylish vehicles.

Read: Cadillac Wants To “Surprise And Delight” Celestiq Buyers

“Anyone who tells you that to do an efficient vehicle, you have to do a lozenge with wheels is wrong,” he told Australia’s CarsGuide in a recent interview. “You can make very efficient vehicles that have style as well.”

Simcoe believes that the homogenization in automotive design among EVs isn’t just about aerodynamic efficiency but also an attempt from car manufacturers to have vehicles that will appeal to a broad range of customers, essentially turning cards into commodities.

“[Design changes are] more about commoditization of design and a power to see something that works in the showroom, with customers, and a whole industry that has the speed to – within a couple of years – move in that direction,” he said. “And then two years later there’s somewhere else, and then somewhere else. But that’s commoditization of vehicles, it’s not necessarily aerodynamics that are doing that.”

 Cadillac Designer Says EVs Can Look Stylish And Be Efficient

“If you’ve got the speed to react quickly to a trend and you’re seeing something on the other side of town that’s working and people are buying and you’ve got the speed to get there before the market dries up, then you’re dealing with commodities rather than a real focus on your brand and the value you have in the design itself. If we all did that you could forget the brand thing because everybody would be buying the same interior and the same exterior. And there is a bit of that in the market right now, globally.” 

Cadillac’s most recent addition to its range of EVs is the Optiq. Introduced in U.S. spec late last month, the new Optiq has an edgy design dominated by a black crystal grille, complex LEDs, and a cabin featuring several different materials, bold creases, and edgy lines. It certainly stands out compared to a Tesla Model Y with its far more minimalist design.

Is the Optiq’s more dramatic design something consumers will be receptive to? Only time will tell.

 Cadillac Designer Says EVs Can Look Stylish And Be Efficient


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