Though many automakers chose the Shanghai Auto Show to debut their new electric cars, Genesis, a Korean luxury car manufacturer, decided to unveil its latest EV in the Big Apple this week.
In 2017, the company showcased the GV80, a hydrogen fuel cell EV design, and last year, Genesis unveiled the Essentia, an electric hypercar concept. This year, the automaker decided to debut the Mint, a small luxury battery EV, at the New York International Auto Show.
The futuristic vehicle, which only has two seats but ample cargo space, is intended for urban dwellers who are looking for a luxury compact. The Mint, featuring scissor doors and a leather-lined interior, has been customized for a modern lifestyle.
"Luxury has no size," said Manfred Fitzgerald, head of Genesis Motors. "Even a small car with a confined space can feel luxurious. Despite the aesthetic cues, I think it also has a lot of practical features to it like the lateral openings to stow your things. Also, the simplicity of the interior, the fine lines and reducing it to the minimum, to the essentials, is the statement here."
The Mint has been developed with a G-Matrix pattern that is used for efficient cooling and airflow circulation around the battery floor and is the basis for the vehicle’s aerodynamic wheel design. The car also has quad lamps that stretch to the corners in the front and back with top light elements connecting to form wraparound light bands.
Meanwhile, the crest grille is a closed sculptural element with a small opening for the cooling needs of the battery pack. The signature parabolic line wraps around the body of the vehicle, sweeping upwards toward the concave rear of the car.
The interior, though meant for two, feels expansive with lightweight materials, cognac leather, and mullion-free windows. The center console houses a central control knob that can be folded, which turns the floating front bench into a settee. Also, the oblong steering wheel is surrounded by six copper Graphic User Interface (GUI) information screens that display individual vehicle functions
According to Genesis designer Sangyup Lee, "Traditionally, size matters in luxury cars. But the question to ourselves was, 'If you live in a city like New York, is size relevant?’ What if we did something small but luxurious. It's an EV, so we pushed the wheels to the corners.
"Even though it's a small car we could stretch the cabin so there's a lot of leg room and headroom when you sit in it. We also asked ourselves whether four or five seats were relevant; in a city, there are a lot of transport options, and maybe two seats are enough, and we made the rear space utilitarian, so you could carry your stuff."
The cargo area, which is accessed through side-opening scissor doors, are ideal for driving in the city since drivers can easily access their belongings even if a car is parked right behind them. In the cabin, the driver's display is set into the wheel. Also, the pedals and the footrest use Genesis' Matrix design and leather for a touch of Art Deco style.
As to whether all design elements will make it to the assembly line, Fitzgerald said, "I would like to see all of them make it and I will definitely fight for it. I don't know if I'll win, but I'm going to fight to have this on the street just the way it is."