Jet Airways CEO Sanjiv Kapoor and PayTM founder Vijay Shekar Sharma have just said that they dislike electric car front grilles, and both of them took to Social Media outlet Twitter to express this. Here’s what the Jet Airways CEO said,
Maybe it's just me, but I find these grill-less or painted-on grill plastic front ends of electric cars to be visually unappealing. Makes them look like toys. Why not retain the traditional grills? pic.twitter.com/n2IwzBqiva
— Sanjiv Kapoor (@TheSanjivKapoor) October 13, 2022
In response to this, PayTM founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma remarked,
— Vijay Shekhar Sharma (@vijayshekhar) October 13, 2022
Incidentally, Vijay Shekhar Sharma seems to be quite a fan of electric vehicles, and in one of his previous tweets had even urged Tesla founder Elon Musk to quickly set shop in India. Mr. Sharma is also one of the thousands of Indians who’ve pre-booked the Tesla Model 3 electric car, only to be disappointed by the American automaker’s refusal to launch the brand in India.
Coming back to front grilles, here’s why electric car front grilles are the way they are,
- Aerodynamics.Electric car makers go to great lengths to maximize battery range, and ensuring good aerodynamics is one way of doing that. Poor aerodynamics means high drag at cruising speeds. High drag means greater work for the electric motor and a faster depletion of the battery. Therefore, it’s very important for an electric car’s design to be extremely aerodynamic. Blanking out the front grille helps automakers make their electric cars more aerodynamic.
- Cost savings.Unlike conventional cars powered by fuels such as diesel, petrol, CNG & LPG, electric cars don’t have engines. This means that there’s no radiator up front, which requires cooling. Therefore, electric cars can afford to do away with the front grille, which channels air to the radiator in internal combustion engined (ICE) cars. In the auto industry, every rupee saved is critical, and automakers are always looking at innovative ways to reduce costs. Eliminating a front grille is one such measure – a blanking part in place of an elaborate front grille is a lot cheaper.
In most electric cars, glossed out blanking plates are used in place of conventional grilles, and this makes the front end design of EVs underwhelming. In India, cars such as the Tata Nexon EV, Tigor EV, Hyundai Kona Electric and the MG ZS all have blanked out front grilles while their ICE brethren have conventional grilles.
Why does the front grille design matter?
The front grille is quite an elaborate design element in nearly every ICE car, and more often than not forms the backbone of the car’s identity on the road. Blanking these grilles out just makes cars lose character in terms of front-end design. Imagine what a BMW would look like without its signature Kidney front grille? Or for that matter a Jeep without its vertical 7 slat grille? Or a Range Rover without the honeycomb grille?
Things may change pretty fast
Boring grille design on EVs may seem like a compromise that most electric car owners have to live with for now. But that’s only until EV buyers start expressing themselves and force automakers to come up with imaginative grille designs. Surely an interesting grille design without compromising on aerodynamics is doable. Any EV maker listening?