Genesis Intends to Build the Essentia Concept as an EV, and It May Be Powered by Hydrogen

Jens Meiners
Photo credit: Matthias Knödler

From Car and Driver

  • Genesis showed its startlingly beautiful Essentia coupe concept a year ago, and now Hyundai's luxury brand is stating its intention to put it into production as an electric vehicle.
  • The production Essentia could potentially be powered by hydrogen fuel-cell technology, CEO Manfred Fitzgerald told C/D.
  • Hyundai recently invested in battery-electric supercar specialist Rimac with an eye toward EV and hydrogen cars.

The Genesis Essentia concept is still under development for possible series production, Genesis CEO Manfred Fitzgerald told Car and Driver in a recent interview. "There are so many beautiful concept cars that have a very short life span; they are shown and then never seen again. We are trying not to follow that road," Fitzgerald said, adding: "We are still working on it, and it is still alive. It shall be an electric vehicle."

Fitzgerald also said that it would not necessarily be a battery-electric vehicle but that it could also be powered by a hydrogen fuel cell. "The Essentia can have different means of electrification, and that is something that we are currently debating," he explained.

Fitzgerald is a fan of hydrogen-powered cars: "I believe the battery-electric vehicle is just a transitional technology. I see a lot of potential in telling the hydrogen story in the right way, and as soon as people really see it they will recognize the upsides and all the benefits," he said, adding that hydrogen cars could "kill a lot of pain points of what they are associating right now with electrification."

Yet there is a strong hint that the Essentia could actually be a battery-powered car: Hyundai recently invested $90 million in the Croatian carmaker Rimac, which specializes in battery-electric supercars. The Genesis Essentia could be one of the projects Hyundai is planning to assign to Rimac, although a Genesis spokesperson called our question about it "pure speculation at this point."

The Genesis Essentia was launched at the 2018 New York auto show and dominated automotive coverage of the show. The New York launch was followed by appearances at the Concorso d'Eleganza at Villa d'Este on Lake Como and at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Monterey, California.


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