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Genesis Mint Electric Car Concept — Small In Size, Big On Luxury

The world is cuckoo for SUVs. But is there a place for an all electric two-seater designed for the city? Genesis certainly thinks so.

Genesis is the luxury car brand for Hyundai, just as Lexus is the luxury brand for Toyota. To date, it has offered only large sedans in its limited lineup, but at the New York auto show it brought a concept that can only be called diminutive — the Genesis Mint. About the size of a Miata, it is designed to transport just two people, but that lucky pair will be swaddled in upscale accoutrements.

Genesis Mint concept

Credit: Genesis

Back in the day, a car built for two with just enough room for their luggage was known as a GT, which stands for grand touring. The Mercedes 300 SL — with its iconic gull wing doors –was one such car. It was meant for gobbling up great gobs of asphalt during the day and delivering its passengers relaxed and rested to the Casino in Monte Carlo that night.

The Mint has a similar purpose in mind, but its intended milieu is city streets. Knowing how congested those streets are, the designers of the Genesis Mint — which is finished in mint green — have done away with the traditional trunk and replaced it with a scissor door on both rear flanks, giving surprisingly good access to the stowage compartment behind the seats. Clever!

Genesis Mint concept

Credit: Genesis

“As a brand, Genesis embraces progressive design values, and the Mint Concept reinforces this commitment from a previously undiscovered perspective,” says Manfred Fitzgerald, head of the Genesis brand. “Mint belongs in the city, and we are proud to introduce our evolution of the ideal city car in New York.”

In its press release, Genesis says, “Like a carefully furnished city dwelling constrained by space requirements, the Mint Concept takes advantage of every cubic inch of its interior. The cozy space for two is made to feel expansive, through the use of lightweight textiles, cognac leather, and mullion-free windows.”

Inside, the Mint features a minimalist motif. A screen mounted in the middle of the steering wheel displays relevant information while a cluster of instruments on the dashboard convey other relevant information. The driver’s seat swivels outward and the steering wheel retracts to make getting in and out of the car easier.

Designed by teams in Germany, the US, and South Korea, “The Mint Concept is a designer’s Occam’s razor that challenged us to visualize a scaled-down interpretation of our signature aesthetic,” says Luc Donckerwolke, design chief for the Hyundai Motor Group. He tells CNET Roadshow, “The Mint Concept is a new urban icon that marries classic proportions with forwardlooking, minimalist design. The Mint Concept instantly finds purpose and meaning in the city, just as so many people who call the world’s most densely populated metropolises home.”

If and when the Mint concept goes into production, it will have a battery electric powertrain compatible with 350 volt fast chargers. It may offer a selection of battery sizes depending on the needs of the owner. Not every city car needs to be able to drive 300 miles or more on a single charge.

Is the world ready for a premium two-seater tailored to urban environments? At a time when car buyers crave large SUVs with room for 7 (or more) passengers, the answer to that question would seem to be no. But there very well could be a market for a car like this among well heeled urbanites who want to slip through traffic in style and whisk them to the opera in supreme comfort. If so, the Mint could be just the ticket.

 
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Steve writes about the interface between technology and sustainability from his home in Florida or anywhere else the Singularity may lead him. You can follow him on Twitter but not on any social media platforms run by evil overlords like Facebook.

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