In addition to the environmental benefits, electric cars are a great thing for exterior automotive design; with the exception of the Toyota Prius, it's generally understood that the visual language of electric should be clean and uncluttered. Even the stodgiest design manager knows that electric means they have to give their team wide latitude to reinterpret the brand in a sleek, modern way, with minimal surface changes compared to the "I spazzed out on CAD" lines of your average new petrol-powered car.
This week Cadillac unveiled their Lyriq electric concept, which The Drive has learned is "80 to 85 percent production-intent." And compared to the dated, conservative look of their current line-up, the Lyriq is a breath of fresh air:
I find the design a tad derivative--in particular, it borrows some of the best lines of Range Rover's Evoque and Velar--but within the context of Cadillac and where they were going, I see these efforts as a positive development in need of some minor refinements. It's no Tesla killer nor e-tron competitor, but the new direction at least demonstrates that Cadillac is trying to stay in the fight.
As for the 15-20% that won't make it into production, I'm really hoping the designers give that grille and rear three-quarter panel a second pass.
They've got plenty of time--the Lyriq isn't scheduled to roll out until 2022.