2019 New York Auto Show: A couple of concepts with love from Korea

Genesis Mint Concept 6.JPG
Genesis Mint Concept (Sinclair Broadcast Group / Jill Ciminillo)

One of the best things for me about an auto show is checking out the concept cars. They are often mesmerizing and fantastical with hints of what might be coming in the future.

Unfortunately, unlike the Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, concept cars are few and far between in the United States.

But both Genesis and Kia revealed a pair of concepts this year at the 2019 New York International Auto Show, showcasing the future of all-electric driving.

Genesis Mint Concept

Focused on user experience and urban driving, the Genesis Mint Concept sports an all-electric powertrain and represents a design collaboration among the teams from Germany, U.S. and Korea.

Meant for the city, Mint has a petite size and a highly organized and functional interior that uses every available inch. Genesis calls it “reductive versatility.”

One look at the interior, however, will tell you this is more of a design experiment than something that will make it into production. It’s esoteric and impractical yet utterly beautiful.

I head someone call the entire vehicle a work of art, and I have to agree. Every detail is stunning. It’s just not road worthy.

Along with that idea, there weren’t any specifications released other than to say that The Mint Concept has a battery-electric powertrain, which is capable of an estimated 200 miles of range per charge and equipped with 350-KW fast recharging – and that is more likely the true glimpse of something that will appear in the future.

Kia HabaNiro Concept

Kia dubs this concept “The Everything Car” with a “spicy” vision of the future of electric vehicles. This name is ostensibly a play on the name of the existing Niro hybrid, but HabaNiro is also a play on habanero and shows that an electric car doesn’t have to be boring.

While this is most certainly part design exercise –with non-functional headlights, odd interior accents and awkward C-Pillars – there’s also an interesting glimpse at technology with a full-width front windshield head-up display and an interactive touchpad display, as well as artificial intelligence systems like the Real-time Emotion Adaptive Driving system and the eye-tracking system.

Another interesting facet of this concept – and again the likeliest glimpse we’ll get of the future – is the powertrain, which is AWD and boasts an all-electric range of 300 miles.

Though the name and some details (like the butterfly doors) may change, Kia calls this a “prescient look into the future of mobility” and advises against assuming it won’t be built.

The Bottom Line:

I love a good concept, and neither Genesis nor Kia disappoint in New York with their design implementations.

While the vehicles in their entirety won’t make it into production, the general shape and some of the technology could.

We look forward to seeing what these automakers have up their sleeves!