Electric cars coming soon: Seat elBorn
Electric vehicles still account for a tiny proportion of car sales, but that could soon change, because these upcoming models push the boundaries of performance, range and desirability...
On sale: 2020 | Price from: £28,000 (est)
Look just beneath the surface of this el-Born concept car’s funky, futuristic styling and you’ll glimpse Seat’s first electric car. Based on the same underpinnings as Volkswagen’s upcoming ID 3 electric hatchback, the el-Born will lead to a production model with about the same footprint as the current Leon family hatchback.
Powered by a 201bhp electric motor, the el-Born has an official range of 261 miles on the new WLTP test cycle – far greater than electric rivals such as the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, which offer 186 and 168 miles respectively on the same test. The el-Born should also be nippy; it can cover the 0-62mph sprint in 7.5sec.
Charging the el-Born to 80% capacity takes as little as 47 minutes using the latest 100kW rapid chargers, but that time will increase dramatically if you use a standard wall-mounted charger. A heat pump can extend battery life by as much as 37 miles in conditions where cold can quickly sap an electric car’s range.
Seat is traditionally seen as the VW Group’s sporty brand – something that’s emphasised by the el-Born’s wide, low stance, with its wheels pushed to the very edges of the car. Design features include a closed-off grille (no air intake is needed to cool an engine). There are intakes lower down, though, to increase the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and send air to the battery pack. The el-Born concept sits on 20in wheels that help to channel cooling air to the brakes.
Inside, the el-Born features a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system that’s angled towards the driver, plus a digital instrument cluster. The absence of an engine up front has also allowed Seat to maximise room inside the car and provide lots of storage space, including under the centre console between the front seats, although boot capacity is still unknown.
The el-Born is capable of controlling its own acceleration, braking and steering in certain situations, such as on the motorway, and its advanced driver assistance systems include a self-parking function.
Prices haven't yet been announced, but the el-Born is likely to cost less than the Volkswagen ID, which is expected to start at £35,000. A price of around £28,000 is therefore likely, but remember that as a fully electric car, the el-Born will also qualify for the Government's electric vehicle grant, which currently stands at £3500.
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