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SEAT's Geneva motor show star was the all-electric el-Born, the Spanish brand's first ever all-battery model. Although still a concept car, it's a very close look at a 2020 production model which will share its all-battery underpinnings with the upcoming Volkswagen ID.
Underneath is the same MEB electric car platform which Volkswagen will be putting into production later this year, and SEAT is making some impressive performance claims for it. It's quick, hitting 100km/h from rest in 7.5 seconds and SEAT says that it should go 420km on a full charge - short of the expected 500km range for the Volkswagen ID, but about comparable with the Kia e-Niro and Hyundai Kona EV.
"Mobility is evolving and with it, the cars we drive. SEAT is at the forefront of this change, and the el-Born concept embodies the technologies and design philosophy that will help us meet the challenges we face in the future," said Luca de Meo, president of SEAT.
Style-wise, it's almost a small MPV, with a tall hatchback shape, and "a double layer spoiler [which] contributes to the aerodynamic performance." There's no grille at all, as SEAT says "There is no need to take in air to cool the engine so no demand for a grille" and there's no getting away from the fact that it looks very, very like a Tesla Model 3 at the front. In fact, if you took the SEAT badges off...
In technical terms, there's a 204hp single electric motor, mounted at the rear (yup, it's rear wheel drive). It's also set up for fast charging, sort of. Find a 100kW fast-charger (there are none in Ireland, as yet) and you can recharge the batteries to 80 per cent full in 47 minutes. Hopefully, the new families of 150kW chargers, due to start being installed in Ireland by the IONITY group, will speed that up a bit more.
To try and preserve that range, the el-Born is fitted with a heat pump, which can feed warm air to the cabin without overly draining the battery. SEAT claims that the heat pump adds as much as 60km to the overall range.
The interior is relatively conventional, which perhaps reinforces the word coming from within SEAT that the El-Born is 95 per cent production-ready, and not a pie-in-the-sky concept car.
"SEAT is committed to being at the cutting edge of vehicle technology and we're thrilled to be revealing our very first all-electric vehicle. The el-Born is an innovative yet practical concept car, that's both technologically advanced and environmentally friendly. We are deeply in tune with the future mobility demands of our customer base and the el-Born is the ideal product that will take advantage of this ever-changing consumer demands and the current and future tax reliefs in Ireland" said Niall Phillips Brand Director at SEAT Ireland.