EVs Make Grilles Passé, Headlight Signatures Now Dominate Design Says Hyundai Boss

EVs Make Grilles Passé, Headlight Signatures Now Dominate Design Says Hyundai Boss

Grilles will no longer dominate the design language of vehicles, at least not at Hyundai. That’s according to the Korean brand’s design chief, SangYup Lee who says headlight design will now be the aesthetic tie that binds vehicles in a lineup.

“In the EV era, the grille is no longer needed,” Lee told Car and Driver at the New York International Auto Show. “Having a traditional ICE element carry to future, that’s probably not the right move.”

Light signatures will now take on increased importance over gaping grilles and the takeover of LEDs has already started at Hyundai. Vehicles like the Sonata and the Tucson are traditionally powered and their lights have started becoming incorporated into grille design. That will only become truer in the future.

Read Also: Audi’s Future Might Be Electric But It Will Still Keep Its Singleframe Front Grille

The automaker has already started implementing this design philosophy into its EVs, with Lee stating that the pixelated lights of the Ioniq 5 will be seen throughout the Ioniq lineup in the future. “None of them have a grille, but the consistency is the pixel lamp,” he said. “When you see pixel lamp, it’s a Hyundai.”

As long as he’s in charge, Lee states that Hyundai’s EVs won’t have a fake grille. In many ways, it’s the company that has prepared him for this strong stance. A veteran of the automotive industry, Lee has felt the strictures of history on his work. Lee formerly worked at GM where he designed the 2006 Camaro concept and at Bentley, where the weight of expectation dominated his work.

See: Hyundai Celebrates The Grandeur’s 35th Anniversary With A Retrofuturistic Electric Concept

“With Hyundai, you have more freedom,” he told C/D. “What you’re doing is part of what will become the brand legacy.”

Lee and Hyundai are in the process of creating a legacy in more ways than one. Along with creating the brand’s aesthetic legacy, they’re also forging a path forward during one of the automotive industry’s biggest-ever periods of change.

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