Genesis’ two-seater Electric Mint Concept showcased at 2019 New York Auto Show

Manfred Fitzgerald, the executive vice president and global head of the Genesis brand, declined to give specifics on how the car might perform on the street if it were to be made, but said it wouldn’t necessarily need a driving range past 70km (44 miles).

By: | Published: April 18, 2019 12:22 PM

Tuesday night in New York City, Genesis unveiled a petite concept car it says will help the brand make inroads with wealthy urban customers of the future. The Genesis Mint is an electric two- or three-passenger city car that looks, at a glance, slightly larger than a Mini Cooper. Finished in a hunter-green matte paint and with a curved roofline that flows seamlessly from the windshield to the rear, the Mint has two doors for passengers and two small additional window-size doors set behind those, which open upward like scissors to allow access to a rear storage ledge behind the seats.

Manfred Fitzgerald, the executive vice president and global head of the Genesis brand, declined to give specifics on how the car might perform on the street if it were to be made, but said it wouldn’t necessarily need a driving range past 70km (44 miles). The goal is to address the problems of overcrowding in cities, to move toward an electric future, and to look stylish while doing so. Small people-movers can still be functional, the argument goes, with features such as creative storage space and comfortable seating.

“This is our interpretation of the all-electric city car,” Fitzgerald said. “We believe there’s still a white spot on the map for OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] to create something like this, where we don’t have to say large equals luxury and small equals entry-level.” The brand would not put a date on when a car like this might actually be put into production.

The Mint looks clean and sleek inside, with one bench seat covered in cognac leather and a slim dashboard devoid of buttons and knobs. The seat moves slightly when the driver’s side door is opened, to aid with ingress and egress. A honeycomb matrix design runs along the leather-clad floor up through the rectangular steering wheel; six small round screens line the wheel, which has one rectangular screen in the middle to aid visibility and parking. A small trunk in the front and rear might at some point be incorporated into the car as well, though none seemed apparent at the time of the debut. On the exterior, frosted headlamps stretch around the corners of the car, softening its demure outer edges.

Fitzgerald said the car is meant to feel luxurious and appeal especially to women drivers. From the look and feel of it, the Mint might also appeal to lovers of the Fiat 500, Mini Cooper, BMW i3, and Audi TT.

The Mint is the latest electric concept designed by the South Korean brand. It follows Genesis’s futuristic Essentia supercar concept designed by former Bentley designer Luc Donckerwolke, which made its debut in 2018, as well as a roster of production models that includes the G90, G80, and G70 sedans. Fitzgerald demurred when asked how the production of the Essentia concept was coming, noting that the company would love to “greenlight” the project but is still searching for “the right formula for the propulsion system.” The same, it might be assumed, would apply to the Mint.

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