LCD or e-ink screen instead of grille for the front of electric cars?

Electric cars don’t need a cooling airflow from the front, thus rendering grilles superfluous. The Tesla 3 has a flat nose and a slab where you’d expect the grille:

Some competitors have figured out more aesthetic solutions. The Kia EV6 replaces the traditional gasoline-car grille with… multiple grilles:

Here’s a Mercedes concept, suitable for Burning Man:

Could we find a more interesting use of this space? With an LCD or e-ink screen, the car could have different personalities at different times of day or for different drivers. The e-ink approach would consume much less battery power, of course.

A Maskachusetts driver could, for example, mirror the state-run highway signs that urge motorists to get vaccinated (but there are no vaccine clinics at the state-run highway rest stops). Alternatively, he/she/ze/they could turn the car nose into an extension of his/her/zir/their lawn. The nose display could read “Black Lives Matter” and then change automatically to “#StopAsianHate” if a gold Lexus were approaching. A Floridian, unable to choose among the 100+ specialty plates available, could rotate among the designs (no front license plate is actually required in Florida, but many of these are fun designs, especially if the mournful “save the…” messages were removed):

(Why do people want to concentrate on the negative? Wouldn’t it be just as effective to say “Celebrate Our Seas” as “Save Our Seas”? To say “Manatee Friends” rather than “Save the Manatee”? Why does the sea turtle plate need a written message at all? People who see the plate will be reminded that Florida is home to sea turtles and to respect their nesting sites.)

7 thoughts on “LCD or e-ink screen instead of grille for the front of electric cars?

  1. They actually have a radiator down near the road to cool the battery, motor, & air conditioning. The closed front is just a visual marketing gimmick occupying the top half. Suspect the closed front is going to go away, as republican administrations in deplorable foreign countries continue to warm the planet & people get tired of waiting for their batteries to cool.

    • TS: That is a tough question! Sea Turtles would be a natural choice given https://philip.greenspun.com/blog/2018/12/25/merry-christmas-again-to-the-sea-turtles/ , but I don’t like the mournful “Helping Sea Turtles Survive” logo (I’ve seen some frames that cover this area, so maybe it would be legal to cover this over with a Brother label: “Sea Turtles R Awesome”; https://www.clickorlando.com/news/2018/04/19/many-florida-drivers-break-license-plate-law-without-even-knowing-it/ says the frames that I’ve seen are NOT legal.)

      I have been teaching at Florida Atlantic University and do have some school spirit (there is a covered walkway from the classroom to a Chick fil-A!), but haven’t been to a football game.

      The Animal Friend plate would be good, but there is no golden retriever or Samoyed on it and we don’t have a cat. Endless Summer looks good, but then people might ask “Do you surf?” and it would be embarrassing to admit that my long COVID symptoms prevent me from surfing. Everglades River of Grass has a roseate spoonbill, which is a good-looking bird and there is no depressing slogan.

      The default plate is kind of nice, with a friendly “Sunshine State” at the bottom or the county name (“Palm Beach” in our case).

      I wonder if U.S. Coast Guard would be the best for avoiding speeding tickets. Everyone loves the Coast Guard!

      The state has “Family Values” and “Family First” plates while simultaneously offering “permanent alimony” to any plaintiff who has been married for 7 years and wants to enjoy being paid to have sex with lots of new friends on Tinder. (FL also offers unlimited child support profits to those whose way of starting a “family” is having sex with an already married dermatologist or dentist, albeit at a lower scale than if the same sex act had occurred in Maskachusetts.)

      “End Breast Cancer” would be a good reminder that we started our War on Cancer in 1971. Maybe shutdowns and masks would enable us to win this war? Certainly worth a try! If you think the war is almost won, you can get Stop Heart Disease..

      Home of the Blue Angels would be fun and it is the only aviation-themed plate, but people might ask when I got my F-18 type rating.

      Walt Disney World would be good for reminding the kids to nag a little more often regarding trips to Orlando.

      I am confused as to what kind of person wants to have “Stop Child Abuse” and “Kids Deserve Justice” on the back of his/her/zir/their car. Nobody will disagree that child abuse is bad, I hope, or that kids deserve justice (in the form of one parent being paid to break up a child’s home and be free to have sex with 50 new partners?), but why be reminded of these unhappy topics on every trip?

      Support Homeownership for All would be ironic, considering that we are renting. I guess there are plenty of realtors and mortgage brokers who think that insufficient tax subsidies are provided to the real estate industry.

      The young folks in our building would have no trouble believing that I had earned Pearl Harbor Survivor. Since gender ID is fluid, I should also be able to identify as “Woman Veteran.” The Navy Submariner plate would be good since I can just say that all of our operations were secret and I can’t talk about my service.

      I could order a Miccosukee Indian plate so that Elizabeth Warren will feel welcome if she comes down here to fundraise and I pick her up in the Honda Odyssey.

      This is the jam choice experiment writ flat! https://hbr.org/2006/06/more-isnt-always-better

  2. I think you’ve hit on the solution to Tesla’s paint problem! Just make the whole car into a big flexible OLED display/cloaking device. They’ll never know what hit ’em.

    More seriously, why are we still manufacturing cars with clunky license plate holders and the prison labor to go along with manufacturing them? Prisoners who have to stay in jail even when some are released due to COVID should be reading law books and so forth, not making license plates. Why don’t we have nice displays on cars that can show government-issued license plate images that can feature variable backgrounds and “skins?”

    You can get rid of the license plate lights, all that rust-prone and clunky hardware, and the plates can update and just *vanish* if someone doesn’t renew their registration and inspection sticker. Cut down on the trips to the DMV and shipping through the mail, etc., etc. and push the cost back on the manufacturer and end user. Then you can charge *more* for the customizable plate option, and hackers will love it. This is a winning idea and will put the license plate flipper manufacturers out of business.

    Then with biometric phone ID and Bluetooth, if someone with an expired license or a criminal steals the car, the faux LP can light up with big Drudge Report sirens and suchlike.

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