The GV80 concept by Genesis brings fuel-cell power to luxury SUVs

Hyundai’s new Genesis luxury brand currently sells two large sedans, but at the 2017 New York Auto Show, Genesis will unveil a concept car showing some more ambitious future directions it could take.

The Genesis GV80 concept is a hydrogen fuel cell SUV with a futuristic human-machine interface design. That makes it probably the most relevant concept car to appear in New York: A vehicle that capitalizes on the current popularity of SUVs, features a zero-emission powertrain to meet future efficiency standards, and addresses the all-important question of infotainment tech.

The GV80 also hints at what future styling direction Genesis might take as it tries to define its identity. The concept’s exterior looks a like a mix of styling cues from the G80 and G90 sedans, with a bit of Bentley Bentayga thrown in. The mesh texture on the grille, wheels, and door pillars is an interesting touch, while 23-inch rims add plenty of bling. The GV80 also features electric door handles that sit flush with the bodywork, a nod to aerodynamic efficiency.

Genesis did not provide any specifications for the GV80 concept’s fuel-cell powertrain, but parent company Hyundai has plenty of experience in thus area. It already leases the Tucson Fuel Cell in California, and is preparing a followup model that will launch next year. It was previewed by the FE Fuel Cell SUV concept that appeared last month at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. Technology from that model could certainly make its way into a future Genesis.

The layout of the GV80’s interior is best described as minimalist. The dashboard includes a 22-inch OLED screen, a digital instrument cluster for the driver, and precious few buttons and analog controls. The four-seat cabin still manages to include some form of infotainment for each occupant, though. Genesis’ designers used the lack of clutter to highlight upscale materials, including ash wood on the center console, and leather for the seats and instrument panel.

The GV80 concept won’t go into production, but something very similar probably will. Genesis has already discussed launching an SUV, something it definitely needs if it really wants to compete with established luxury brands. Hyundai is also planning a massive influx of green models, so it makes sense for Genesis to add some form of zero-emission vehicle in the future.