All-Electric Genesis Essentia Concept Debuts at New York Show

(Bloomberg) -- On Wednesday, at the New York Auto Show, Genesis unveiled the car it says shows the way forward for the Hyundai Motor Co.-owned luxury brand.

The Essentia Concept is an all-electric concept coupe. Made from a super-lightweight, low-slung, carbon-fiber monocoque body, and with battery-powered motor that the brand says will get it to 60 miles per hour in three seconds, it is Genesis’s first electric vehicle.  

Not much is known about the new car, which looks like a cross between a grand tourer and a sports coupe. But it’s clear that Genesis has launched it in order to keep up with the likes of the electric cars and prototypes (i8, Project 1) of Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz, respectively. It’ll have plenty of work to do there: Genesis is sold at only 100 U.S. dealers nationwide, compared with more than 300 for those bigger brands. But Hyundai’s luxury brand is well-respected among industry insiders and has good momentum. Last year, Genesis sold 20,612 vehicles in the United States, up 12 percent over 2016.

At any rate, the Essentia has a stunning, sexy look. This is a good thing, considering that while Genesis makes excellent cars, it continues to generate less awareness and hype than its flashier German competitors. The most striking thing about the Essentia is its two butterfly doors, which open silently with fingerprint- and facial recognition-enabled push-button controls. The transparent hood ends in a Formula 1-style nose, and air intakes on each side are flanked by thin quad headlights that sit flush with the car’s body that’s wrapped around by seamless glass windows, front-to-back.

On each corner, four large wheels, with rims shaped like stars, flank the body, as you’d see from Aston Martin or Jaguar. The short, angled rear has a small spoiler on the lip of the trunk hood, and the body is finished in “Stardust Gray Metallic” paint with the signature Genesis crest on the grille.

On the inside, cognac-leather and chevron quilting coat the two cockpit-style seats; a slim center console and an eight-inch widescreen display divide the cabin. Genesis didn’t release specifics on the range, power, or charging time of the motor, since this is a pure concept not slated for production. (That said, expect a production-ready Genesis coupe to appear in the lineup sometime in the next few years. Automakers don't produce concepts for nothing; it’s fair to say that this concept is a step toward a real coupe.)

The Essentia Concept comes on the heels of Genesis’s other big launch at the New York show: the 2019 G70, which sits among the six new models Genesis will introduce to the global market by 2021.


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