Genesis Essentia concept not yet headed to production, but here’s hoping

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As we told you a couple of days ago, Erwin Raphael, the head of Genesis North America, spoke to a gathering of Detroit media, saying of the Genesis , “We are very committed to the Essentia.” If adapted to a car, he continued, it would be “a limited edition” and “a statement car.” We took that quote for what it was — aspirational, a strong intent, but not greenlighted. But some in attendance heard that the show car is for . Nope, not yet.

Jalopnik cleared this up via a Genesis spokeswoman: “ is pursuing the feasibility of Essentia — but as of now, there’s no production confirmation,” she said. “Some reporters may have gotten ahead of themselves based on speculation. No timelines to share at this time.”

But take heart. If — again if — the Essentia were to be produced, Raphael wouldn’t peg numbers or prices, just that the performance EV would be more dear than any Genesis on sale right now. The standard production Genesis G90 5.0 Ultimate AWD starts at $74,350 before destination, but the Genesis site quotes an “all-inclusive price from $84,000,” italics ours. So it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest a small-batch electric coupe on a one-off platform with major OEM engineering behind it will step into six-figure territory.

And though Raphael and the spokeswoman didn’t offer a timeframe, Genesis boss Manfred Fitzgerald, in an earlier interview, said his team was pushing to get the electric coupe built and on the road by 2021 or 2022.

So how much diluting of the concept would Genesis designers need to do to satisfy real-world prerogatives? Apparently, not much. Fitzgerald said previously that everything on the Essentia show car is “technically” feasible, although Hyundai design chief Peter Schreyer said the butterfly doors would probably be subbed out for traditional units. The best of the rest could actually make it down the line.

Based on our conversation with designers Luc Donckerwolke and Sangyup Lee when the Essentia debuted at the New York Auto Show in March, we figure the pontoon fenders, knife-edge LED headlights, pushrod-like suspension, and that gorgeous quilted leather interior with the floating, full-width screen and layered 3D carbon fiber are shoo-ins. We wouldn’t be surprised to see that fully transparent hood become a transparent window in a more conventional hood, and the bubble-glass canopy get more reinforcement.

We also wonder if the designers would fulfill their aerodynamic intention of having air pass through the fenders and the body to provide more cooling and downforce. The Genesis creatives weren’t able to complete that detail on the show car, but it’s the kind of extreme-tolerance feature that Aston Martin designers are including on the Valkyrie. Since Genesis would build this as a testament to the brand’s capabilities and ambitions, it’s a given that they want to transfer every whiff of magic they created with the show car to the road. Donckerwolke and Lee, who brought us the Lamborghini Murcielago and fifth-gen Chevrolet Camaro, respectively, understand transferring conceptual seduction to assembly lines. And they’ll never get a better reason to introduce Stardust Gray Metallic paint and Midas Metal Copper highlights paired with blue velvet upholstery.

The biggest question about the Essentia is: What powers it? All we’ve been told is that there are three electric motors capable of propelling the coupe to 60 miles per hour in about 3 seconds. Torque and horsepower, battery capacity, range, recharge times — those are mysteries.

Some of the Detroit media asked Raphael where a production Essentia fits into the Genesis roadmap. We know the carmaker has six vehicles planned by 2022: three sedans, two SUVs, and a sports coupe. Raphael wouldn’t say whether the Essentia was the promised sports coupe, but we suspect a production Essentia would be a profitable side dish, not the widely appealing series car the brand needs. We look forward to seeing it happen, because any road with an Essentia on it automatically becomes a better road.

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