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ON THE ROAD- All electric SEAT el-Born to debut at Geneva

SEAT el-Born will make its very first appearance in front of the world’s media at the Volkswagen Group this week, before its public debut at the 2019 Geneva International Motor Show. This latest SEAT model is a concept car and a gamechanger for the industry; as a high performance vehicle which considers the necessities of real world driving.

SEAT el-Born is the first 100% electric vehicle based on the Volkswagen Group MEB platform. This sporty concept car with advanced electric technology, was inspired by, and named after, one of the most iconic neighborhoods of Barcelona: El Born.

The vehicle was designed and developed in Barcelona and will be manufactured at the Zwickau plant in Germany; SEAT will be the second brand to introduce an all-electric vehicle based on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform.

As the motor industry evolves, pushed by commitments to reduce CO2 emissions and environmental impact, SEAT is assuming greater responsibility and accelerating towards a low carbon future. Cities are becoming more densely populated but customers want to continue to use personal mobility, so the SEAT el-Born concept fuses the core aspects driving change in the automotive industry: electrification, autonomous driving, shared-mobility and connectivity.

“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.

With a power and energy dense battery pack giving the SEAT el-Born a range of up to 420km on the WLTP official test cycle and the ability to reach 100km/h in just 7.5 seconds, the vehicle also remains dynamic and practical. Add to this its ability to recharge the battery in as little as 37 minutes, and it starts to shift perceptions of electrification.

The SEAT el-Born isn’t just about the promise of usable electrification, but the integration of other technologies too. The vehicle incorporates autonomous functionality to support the driver as well as a host of assistance systems.

“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.    

Designed to drive

The SEAT el-Born is designed to drive. Its dynamic proportions are enabled by its electric powertrain, pushing the wheels to the four corners of the vehicle,creating a vibrant and energetic stance.

It embodies the future of vehicle design in a modern and integrated way, emphasised most acutely at the front of the vehicle. Aerodynamics are key to maximising the vehicle’s range, to this end the SEAT logo on the front is flush to the body, where there is no need to take in air to cool the engine so no demand for a grille. Cooling vents are placed lower down the front, providing air to the battery pack and streamlining air flow over this area.

As the eye moves over the SEAT el-Born, the position of the A-pillar has noticeably moved further forward, creating a sleeker look, and internally, more room in the cabin. This is facilitated by the electric powertrain requiring less room.

“el-Born is the ultimate translation of our emotional SEAT design language into the new world of electrical vehicles. Our Design Team has taken very seriously the challenge of making our first full electric vehicle attractive. I believe that driving electric cars has to be thrilling, has to be fun. We have to make customers fall in love with the idea of the electric car”, said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Director of Design at SEAT.

Improved aerodynamics play a key role along the side of the vehicle, with an air curtain incorporated into the design, balancing performance with aesthetic appeal. With 20” wheels, the need to maximise performance was crucial. The turbine design creates a positive flow of air that not only improves aerodynamics but also ventilates the brakes to maintain dynamism. The wheels provide the perfect balance between aerodynamics, heat evacuation and lightness. At the rear of the vehicle, a double layer spoiler contributes to the aerodynamic performance too, ensuring airflow remains smooth and turbulence is minimal. It also provides an awareness of the vehicle’s dynamic and performance virtues.

Inside, space is maximised thanks to the all-electric powertrain, giving the opportunity to offer a completely new experience. The sculpted cabin gives a feeling of lightness, but also technological advancement, with the integration of the digital cockpit, a 10” infotainment and connectivity screen perched in the centre of the dashboard. Once inside, the immediate focus is on the driver, with all the lines in the dashboard pointing towards them. Space is no longer a premium inside the cabin, with all occupants enjoying more room to relax into their cocooning seats, thanks to the increased internal proportions, but the space is also used to maximise practicality and functionality. There is also greater storage space; for example you can store a bag between the two front seats.

Powered to perform

With a power output of up to 150kW (204PS) the vehicle can reach 100km/h in as little as 7.5 seconds – enough to meet the demands of any driving scenario. But that is only half the story. Electric vehicles aren’t solely judged on their performance, but also their ability to travel further on a single charge of their batteries and minimise the time taken to recharge once the stored energy has been depleted. A metric that the el-Born excels in.

With a real world range of up to 420km based on the WLTP drive cycle from its 62kWh energy dense battery pack, the vehicle is ready to travel wherever the customer needs. Also, with compatibility with up to 100kW DC supercharging, the battery can be returned from 0 to 80% in as little as 37 minutes.

In addition, this model integrates an advanced thermal management system to maximise vehicle range in the most extreme of environmental conditions. The heat pump can reduce the electrical heating consumption, saving up to 60km in autonomy – useful in countries like Ireland where temperatures can drop and climate control systems are necessary.

Technology that delivers

As our roads become increasingly congested, cars need to take some of the strain from the occupants. SEAT el-Born does just this, integrating the latest developments in autonomous functionality and connectivity to relieve some of the pressures of modern life.

The SEAT el-Born benefits from autonomous level two systems, giving partial automation to the vehicle so it can control steering, acceleration and deceleration events. Add to this amongst other Intelligent Park Assist and the SEAT el-Born is a concept car that encapsulates the future of driving.

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