The GT-inspired concept is the company's first all-electric effort, and it's a good one.
Genesis doesn’t just have its G70 manual-equipped sport sedan on display at the 2018 New York Auto Show. The company just pulled the covers off this stunning electric concept car called Essentia, and to say it’s striking among the various machines on the auto show floor is an understatement.
This concept is a first for Genesis in many ways. For starters, it’s chock full of carbon fiber from the body to its monocoque structure and chassis. It’s also the company’s first full-on battery-electric vehicle, and though details on the power are not available, it’s said to have multiple electric motors that can send the Essentia to 60 miles per hour in an estimated three seconds. Of course, this is a concept vehicle with vague details so take that with a grain of salt.
What should be taken very seriously, however, is just how good this car looks. Genesis says the Essentia embodies the classic Gran Turismo design elements, namely a long hood with swept-back styling and a low profile. In fact, the roof only sits 50 inches off the ground thanks to an I-shaped battery layout that installs in the car’s center tunnel instead of underneath. Butterfly doors open on either side to reveal a posh interior with brown leather seats in front and blue velvet in the back, and of course there’s plenty of carbon fiber and aluminum trim to be found.
Given that the Essentia is entirely electric, one might wonder what resides under that long GT-inspired hood where normally you’d find a big V12. In this case, the car is fitted with clear bodywork that reveals the carbon-fiber chassis, suspension components, and yes, storage space as well. There’s additional storage space in the rear, but the motors are thus far a mystery. Presumably they are located at each wheel like the Rimac Concept One.
Genesis also emphasizes the Essentia is about reducing interior clutter while creating a strong connection between the car and its driver. That sounds like marketing-speak for sure, but there’s something very interesting about this concept that seems to back that up. It carries all kinds of tech as one would expect, including extensive vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, and a smart nav system that will choose routes based on “driver inclination” and automatically set up the car to suit the driver’s style. One thing we didn’t see mentioned anywhere – not even hinted at – was any sort of autonomous control.
In this day and age, that is indeed a very interesting omission. Then again, with a machine this stunning, how could you not want to drive it?
Gallery: Genesis Essentia concept
ELECTRIFYING ESCAPISM: GENESIS REVEALS ESSENTIA CONCEPT AT NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL AUTO SHOW
Mar 28, 2018
NEW YORK, N.Y., March 28, 2018 – Today, Genesis unveiled its groundbreaking Essentia Concept at the New York International Auto Show. The all-electric, high-performance concept elevates and reimagines the “Athletic Elegance” design paradigm, while providing a vision of future Genesis product performance and technology.
“We understand our obligation as a luxury car manufacturer to create objects of desire, sparking passion and inspiration by emphasizing a culture while exceeding expectations in terms of technology and connectivity, bringing our outside world seamlessly to the inside of the vehicle,” said Manfred Fitzgerald, Global Head of the Genesis Brand. “This is what the Genesis Essentia Concept is all about, and we are thrilled to introduce our interpretation of an all-electric, two-door Gran Turismo here in New York.”
Essentia is the brand’s first battery electric vehicle and features a lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque, a robust, multi-motor electric powertrain, and a custom-tailored interior. Essentia is the brand’s initial concept for a true GT car and challenges the status quo as the ultimate manifestation of Genesis design and engineering. As a capable, thrilling sports car designed to counter the complexities of a modern lifestyle, Essentia offers serenity, clarity, and beauty.
“The Genesis Essentia concept defines our vision for an electric Gran Turismo that integrates Athletic Elegance and Genesis DNA as defining parameters,” said Executive Vice President Luc Donckerwolke, Head of Genesis Design. “A Gran Turismo typology highlights our ambition as a luxurious car brand for the connoisseurs and it is the perfect base to project our DNA in the future.”
Exterior Inspiration: Updating an Icon
Throughout the design, the philosophy of “Athletic Elegance” has a prominent role, marrying power and precision through artistry. Essentia takes its inspiration from iconic Gran Turismo proportions, with a long bonnet and a swept-back cabin. Finished in Stardust Gray Metallic, the carbon fiber-bodied Essentia is positioned low to the ground intentionally, to make it instantly recognizable through a graceful silhouette.
“The search for dynamic proportions was contrasted with advanced aerodynamic flows to highlight the bionic combination of performance and aesthetics,” Donckerwolke said. “Essentia embodies the genetic elements of the Genesis design.”
Its front fascia introduces an evolution of the Genesis Crest Grille that highlights efficiency and aerodynamics. Visible through the transparent hood is the advanced carbon fiber chassis, pronounced formula car-style nose cone, as well as the exposed, pushrod suspension. Intakes positioned left and right of the Crest Grille function as air curtains, streamlining airflow around the front corners.
Flanking the Crest Grille are signature Genesis Quad Lights, first introduced on the GV80 Concept. Made possible by laser optical technology, the extremely thin, flush headlights are integrated into the body of Essentia. Extending onto a side blade aft of the front wheels, the lights create a unique light signature for Essentia. Functional air outlets located just behind the front wheels reduce pressure buildup and contribute to reduced drag.
The side profile of Essentia is dominated by the iconic parabolic line that provides visual structure to the body while also emphasizing its overall length. The anti-wedge parabolic line gracefully runs along the shoulder line of Essentia until it meets the muscular rear wheel arches. Butterfly doors enable effortless and elegant ingress and egress. A sensor mounted in the B-pillar integrates fingerprint controls and biometric facial recognition for opening and closing the doors.
The rear of Essentia is defined by an aerodynamic cut-off surface that houses the flush rear Quad Lights and emphasizes the muscles of the rear haunch. An elegant rear diffuser surrounded by carbon fiber acts as a clever, integrated venting solution for the rear wheel arch. Midas metal copper, which is also used as detail trim on the bespoke wheels inspired by the Genesis G-Matrix philosophy, surrounds the entirety of the daylight opening.
Interior Functionality: Elegant De-cluttering
The underlying design theory behind the cabin of Essentia was to maximize the connection between car and driver. Reducing clutter and focusing on beautifully executed details, while displaying the elegant, transparent cockpit cell, was critical.
“On the interior, purism has also dominated the creative process for the interior skin, the layer in contact with the occupants, but less traditionalist the connection between the outside skin and the internal structure. We connected both with our flowing G-Matrix that uses a dynamic web allowing lightness and internal air flow. This highlights the exciting opportunities being explored in 3D printing which transcends the lengthy, inflexible and costly tooling process,” said Donckerwolke.
The interior of Essentia utilizes a mixed-material approach influenced by high fashion and classic color combinations. Cognac leather seats with chevron quilting envelops the driver and passengers in true cockpit fashion. A slim center console covered in Oxford Blue leather bisects the cabin. The front and rear seat belt slots are out of the ordinary, as well, composed of glass pearl finished/treated aluminum and polished aluminum. Layered carbon fiber décor adds a sporty and technical element to the interior details, with a 3D optical effect achieved through the latest technology of layering individual pieces of carbon.
Ahead of the driver is an 8-inch widescreen display with piano black surround. The information in the cluster includes only what is necessary for driving. The widescreen display is operated by a jewel-like central controller, providing a fulfilling user experience for both driver and front passenger.
The rear seats, which are accessed through Essentia’s butterfly doors, are covered in contrasting, Oxford Blue velvet. In line with Essentia’s purpose as a true grand tourer, a luggage compartment behind the rear seats affords plenty of cargo room for a weekend road trip with no particular destination in mind.
Electrification: Evolving the GT Benchmark
Underneath the carbon-fiber monocoque of Essentia is a state-of-the-art, high-density battery pack and multiple electric motors that enable a powerful, confident driving experience. The electric powertrain allowed Genesis Design to redefine classic GT proportions with an extremely low, transparent hood that flows seamlessly into the windshield and the “bubble” roof.
The battery pack is housed in the center tunnel in an I-shape structure, as opposed to underneath the passenger compartment. This allows Essentia to achieve the super-low, 50-inch roofline and spacious, GT-style cabin. With an estimated 0-to-60 time of 3.0 seconds, Essentia brings sports car-level performance to the realm of electric luxury coupes.
Disconnectivity: A New Standard
Essentia was designed to be thoroughly connected to the world around it, while providing its occupants a virtual escape. The technology housed in Essentia surpasses the industry standard, focusing on the connection between the vehicle and its environment in the near future.
For those moments when knowing what’s ahead is critical, Essentia features advanced vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle technology. Essentia can inform the driver of up-to-the-minute road conditions, and help avoid accidents and traffic jams. Further to that, instead of simply providing the quickest or most efficient route, Essentia uses machine learning intelligence to recommend routes based on driver inclination.
And when the route is chosen, Essentia automatically tailors the driving character to its owner’s preference for that road. From seat position to powertrain performance and audiophile system to chassis settings, the joy of the journey deserves technology to match.
Essentia also integrates with smart homes and devices, offering situation-based, personalized recommendations. Entirely customizable, the system also allows Essentia to connect seamlessly with the driver's smart home systems to preprogram HVAC settings, turn on lights, allow for package deliveries, and automatically take the stress out of mundane tasks.
AI also plays a critical role in the technological capabilities of Essentia. Voice recognition and the next-generation Genesis Intelligent Assistant allow for two-way dialogue and full vehicle control through voice command, as well as individual driving behavior analysis and driver mood determination. Essentia can transact mobile payments through its center screen, making electronic payments possible for all kinds of situations.