Genesis Mint Concept is perfect for a New York debut
Genesis is a luxury car manufacturer, and the current series is rich in larger cars – as it should be, considering size gives feelings of wealth and prosperity. So it was quite surprising then when the company decided to bring an electric car to the 2019 New York Auto Show. But according to Genesis, it may not be so surprising.
"Mint belongs to the city," said Manfred Fitzgerald, global leader of the Genesis brand, in a statement. The Korean automaker thinks more and more people will move to city centers in the coming years, and there will be a need for pint-sized premium cars. "It's a white point on the map," Fitzgerald told Roadshow at a preview event in New York. It was a tiny little thing ̵[ads1]1; it seems to be about the length of a Mazda MX-5 Miata. These 21-inch wheels are almost comical in contrast, pushed out to the corners of the car. But see the concept from the dead on the front or back, and you'll notice the width, further enhanced by the LED lights that span the length of the front and back facades.
The coolest part of Mint can be its back doors – which are not really like doors at all. Instead of a conventional tailgate with a suitcase, two small hatches swing up and down, allowing you to access the load roof from the sides of the vehicle. The low, wide locking opening provides surprisingly good access to the space behind the front seats. It's easy to imagine that this car is parked in parallel on a busy street and just flip the side door open so you can throw your belongings inside.
It may be purely conceptual for now, but it is not difficult to imagine something as on the road. "I don't believe in a" la-la-country "concept, said SangYup Lee, Genesis's parent company Hyundai's global design center, Roadshow.
Mint's powertrain is also not bad. It is of course a concept, so this is all hypothetical. But in theory, Mint uses an all-electric powertrain with a range of about 200 miles, with the ability to use 350 kilowatts of fast charge. Genesis imagines that this car will have at least Level 3 partially autonomous abilities as well.
Fitzgerald says it would send "wrong message" to make the Mint concept of the incinerator, and Genesis believes this car is better served as an EV. As for the series, Fitzgerald Genesis says "wants to have a flexible concept" – in terms of production, more offers can be offered. "If this is a city car, you don't need much spectrum," he says.
You also don't need a crazy interior. Open the front doors, and Mint reveals its very simple cabin: a bench with space for two, and an armrest in the middle, with a one-piece dashboard with no cloth. In fact, when you open the door, you turn toward you, and the dash moves away – it not only helps with the entrance and exit, it is very inviting.
The car's central infotainment screen is small and located inside the steering wheel. Small stacks of buttons flank the wheel and provide shortcuts to common functions. At the end of the armrest you will find a ball that rotates and shines when the car is on, and that is how you put the car in park, reverse, neutral and drive. Similar bullets are found on the doors, which act as the electronic locks and window switches.
The main device theme is the Genesis "G-Matrix" pattern. It is designed in the floor lining, and a similar pattern is applied to the load cover behind the seats. We saw this design on the Genesis Essentia coupe concept from last year's New York show, and we are told that something will soon come to the company's production cars. "You will see many bold statements from Genesis in the future," said SangYup Lee.
But do we want to see a production version of Mint? Of course it is up in the air. "We really hope to see this in the near future," Fitzgerald said – it may even be more viable than a road-release of Essentia.
This is a small car that makes a big statement.  The concept's hypothetical electric powertrain is said to offer 200 miles of reach.
Steven Pham / Roadshow
Update, April 17: Adds additional information