At an event prior to the opening of the 2019 New York International Auto Show, Hyundai's luxury Genesis brand revealed its idea of a battery-electric city car called the Mint Concept. Calling it a “designer's Occam's razor,” Hyundai's chief designer, Luc Donckerwolke, said the Mint is supposed to be a minimalist expression of Genesis' brand styling, scaled down to city car dimensions.
Designed in collaboration by Genesis' global design team members in Germany, the United States, and South Korea, the Mint Concept is a lightweight runabout. The matte Hunter Green, two-passenger concept is a new take on the traditional three-box design, with the passenger “box” stretched between the wheels, and very short front and rear overhangs. Quad headlamps and taillights are pushed to the corners of the little car, giving it a more substantial stance, with a wraparound light band connecting front and rear lighting units. The brand's signature “Parabolic Line” also wraps around the body. Another brand-identifying element, the “G-Matrix pattern,” is used for the lower half of the Mint Concept and continues into the cabin, and also forms the basis of the concept's aerodynamic wheel design.
Electric cars don't have the same cooling requirements that combustion-powered vehicles do, so the characteristic Genesis “crest grille” has been vestigially reduced in size. The batteries are charged with a center mounted port mounted in the back of the car.
Though the Mint Concept is a three-box design, it has no conventional trunk lid. Access to a “generous” parcel shelf is via scissor-style side openings that reveal a low load floor to ease stowing and removal of cargo items.
“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,” Donckerwolke said in a statement. The use of lightweight fabrics, cognac-colored leather, and mullion-free windows give the tiny interior a more expansive, uncluttered feel.
The instrument panel and seat swivel automatically to aid entry and egress and the center console can be folded, turning the floating seats into a bench. Matching the leather are six copper screens that surround the oblong steering wheel, displaying vehicle status, with critical information supplied by a seventh screen built into the wheel.
The Mint Concept is probably a non-functional “pushmobile,” though Genesis says that it has a high-density battery-electric drivetrain with an estimated range of 200 miles. Likely a full concept, no mention was made of any plans for production.