Small and efficient electric cars designed for emissions-free urban transportation don’t have to be cramped and dreary mobility boxes. At least, not as far as Korean luxury brand Genesis is concerned.
With the reveal of its Mint concept at the New York auto show, Genesis shows a new, softer and significantly smaller side. What’s more, it shows that it understands that some urban commuters want a touch of luxury when they’re driven round. I really appreciate the sentiment, because I wholly agree.
Mint, if it weren’t already clear, is all-electric, and boasts a 200-mile range per charge. Genesis buried that fact at the end of its press release, though. That’s because the bijou mobility concept is all about design and not EV tech.
Mint’s scissor doors open to access its luggage shelf. | Photo: Genesis
Not Mint Green
Slathered in a Hunter Green matte paint and finished inside with very fine tan leathers, you might mistake the car — especially given its size and style — for either an English or German car. It has the fashion sense of a British lux-mobile and the body of, say, an Audi TT. Genesis isn’t shying away from the European inspiration behind the Mint, but swears it has Korean influences, too.
“The interior styling of the Mint Concept takes influence from the Korean tradition of embracing the empty space, as well as modern European furniture design,” Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Design Officer of Hyundai Motor Group, said in a prepared statement. Oh, Genesis, if you didn’t realize, is an offshoot of Hyundai.
Since designers were keen to give the Mint as much interior space as possible, in order to allow occupants to relax, a traditional trunk was foregone. Instead, a luggage shelf that Genesis says is “generous” is the only spot for riders to stow their stuff. The shelf is accessed from the outside however, by scissor doors, which is pretty neat.
Screens In Screens
And on the interior, Genesis has fitted six screens surrounding the steering wheel and a seventh inside it. Volkswagen embedded a screen in its ID. ROOMZZ concept that it unveiled this week in Shanghai. I love screens; don’t get me wrong. But I wonder if automakers are starting to get a bit too screen crazy. I mean putting a screen inside a steering wheel is starting to feel a lot like something Xzibit would have done on an episode of MTV’s Pimp My Ride.
Mint, like Audi’s AI:ME concept, starts to give us a better glimpse of what a luxurious but small mobility machine might look like. And I am excited. Really, when brands started talking about mobility subscriptions and cars you’d never own, I started imagining the interior of a city bus but shrunk down to the size of a VW Beetle. By that I mean, hard plastic everything and hose-down-able seats.
Mint’s bench seats are finished in tan leather. | Photo: Genesis
If you gave me the option to throw $200 month at Genesis and a car like the Mint turned up in front of my apartment every morning to whisk me away to work, I’d be pretty psyched.
I’ve long wondered what carmakers would do to separate themselves from the competition when all cars are electric and drive themselves. Genesis Mint’s Bentley-like attention to detail and design shows exactly how brands will make the case to choose one over the other.