New SEAT el-Born concept previews all-electric family car at Geneva

The all-electric SEAT el-Born concept, which boasts a 62kWh battery and has a range of 261 miles, has been revealed at Geneva

This is the SEAT el-Born, a close preview of how the Spanish manufacturer’s first all-electric family car will look when it arrives next year. 

SEAT’s star of the Geneva show, the el-Born is the sister vehicle to the Volkswagen ID. hatchback, codenamed Neo, which is due to make its debut in production form later this year. It shares that car’s MEB chassis architecture, will be produced at the same plant in Zwickau, Germany, and will follow soon after the VW’s debut, with el-Borns likely to arrive in SEAT dealers in the first half of 2020. Indeed, SEAT has already confirmed that it will be the second of the VW Group brands to bring an MEB car to market.

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The el-Born’s profile is pretty similar to that of the ID. hatchback too. It has a short bonnet, a flush front grille incorporating some neat triangular patterns and a blacked-out C-pillar designed to make the roof appear as if it’s floating.

 

The overall length looks similar to that of a SEAT Leon but the larger wheel size (20 inches) confirms the suggestion, made to Auto Express last year by SEAT’s R&D boss Dr Thomas Rabe, that the car would sit somewhere between the Leon and Ateca in size. But the wheelbase looks long – a typical MEB trait, designed to deliver the interior space from the class above.

If anything, the interior of the concept looks even more close to production, with sensible materials and fabrics, and a layout that manages to look both modern and functional. Conventional instruments have been replaced by a small digital screen, and a glimpse of the letter ‘P’ at its right-hand side suggests that the gear selector will be mounted up high and beyond the steering wheel, much as in a BMW i3. This, in turn, frees up useful storage space between the front seats.

The dashboard has a ‘floating’ 10-inch infotainment screen and what looks like a touch-sensitive ‘strip’ that controls the heating and ventilation. It’s likely that this marks our first glimpse at the basic layout of the ID. incidentally, since elements like the instrument panel and infotainment screen are probably shared with the VW. 

SEAT says the el-Born will have a 62kWh battery – the largest of the predicted range of capacities that will be offered in the ID. So equipped, the el-Born has a range of up to 420km (261 miles) between charges on the tougher WLTP test cycle, SEAT claims. The car has 100kW DC charging, so it can be restored from zero charge to 80 per cent in 47 minutes.

The rear-wheel-drive el-Born will have “up to 201bhp”, SEAT says – enough for a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds. But this statement suggests that other, more modest power outputs will be available – presumably with smaller batteries and at lower prices. If the el-Born follows the ID. hatchback’s principle, its pricing should start from around the same as a well-specced Leon diesel – so about £26,000. 

As revealed by Auto Express last summer, the el-Born takes its name from a trendy region of SEAT’s home city, Barcelona. The company has not officially confirmed the name for the production model, but it has trademarked a number of possibilities, including E-Born and Born-E. 

The el-Born will be SEAT’s first family EV but it may not be its first pure-electric model on sale. The company is still expected to bring an e-Mii all-electric city car to market at some point during the next 12 months.

Click here for all the latest in the bild-up to the 2019 Geneva Motor Show…

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