Looks like: The Veloster … of the Future!
Defining characteristics: All-electric powertrain, wheels pushed out to the corners, scissor doors for access to parcel shelf
Ridiculous features: Besides the scissor doors? “The center console, which houses a central control knob, can be folded, turning the floating front bench into a settee.”
Chance of being mass-produced: An all-electric city car is anathema to American shoppers, but it might fare better globally, particularly in countries where gas is appropriately expensive and in cities doing their best to ease vehicle-based pollution.
Genesis’ latest concept car, the Mint Concept debuting at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, is not the gorgeous Essentia Concept of 2018’s New York show. Instead of an all-electric grand tourer, the Mint Concept is a tiny city car designed for people who occasionally need to drive from A to B in a car when A is never very far from B.
Related: More New York Auto Show Coverage
The two-door Mint Concept offers roughly 200 miles of range — not enough for long trips, but plenty for occasional local errand runs. To that effect, the Mint Concept doesn’t boast a cavernous cargo area; instead, it has a rear parcel shelf accessed by scissor doors on either side and “ample space to stash temporary items that are essential for day-to-day life, with focus on portability and accessibility.”
Inside, the two-door car has a swiveling bench seat ahead of the parcel shelf. The oblong steering wheel is flanked by six screens, three on each side, that house functions such as turn signals, phone connectivity and navigation. A seventh screen is housed inside the steering wheel and displays more critical things like the speedometer, keeping the driver’s focus on the road.
Interior materials include an absolutely gorgeous cognac leather to complement the matte-green exterior paint and gunmetal accents throughout the passenger compartment, including the floor. Outside, the enormous wheels are pushed out to all four corners, which increases the Mint Concept’s maneuverability.
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Will the Mint Concept become a production car? BMW sells the i3, but Mercedes-Benz keeps its city cars under the Smart brand, so the Mint Concept could be sold under the Genesis brand or perhaps be sent down to Hyundai so as not to “dilute” the luxury image Genesis is trying to cultivate. Regardless of brand, U.S. car buyers historically haven’t been that interested in the idea of a city car, all-electric or otherwise. Attitudes in the U.S. may change over time, but the Mint Concept may have a better chance in overseas markets that are more environmentally conscious. It’s no coincidence that Genesis’ next production car is going to be an SUV — since that’s what every luxury brand “needs.”
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