All-electric 2020 SEAT el-Born spied testing

30 Sep, 2019 9:20am Luke Wilkinson

A prototype version of SEAT’s all-electric hatchback has been caught on camera for the first time, ahead of its launch in 2020

The all-new SEAT el-Born hatchback has been caught on camera for the first time, undergoing development testing.It will be the Spanish brand’s first dedicated all-electric car when it reaches the UK market in 2020. 

These new images reveal that the styling of the Nissan Leaf rival hasn’t changed dramatically from el-Born concept we saw at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. It retains the same profile, with a short bonnet, a fared-in radiator grille, large front quarter light windows and a large tailgate spoiler.

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The el-Born concept looks similar in length to a SEAT Leon, but the larger wheel size (20 inches) confirms the suggestion, made to KinyuKinr last year by SEAT’s R&D boss Dr Thomas Rabe, that the car will sit between the Leon and Ateca in size. Its wheelbase looks long – a typical MEB trait, designed to deliver the interior space from the class above.

We’re yet to see the interior of the production-ready el-Born, but the Geneva concept and ID.3 both offer a reasonable indication of how it will look. Like the Volkswagen, it will be both modern and functional, with a digital instrument binnacle, a floating 10-inch infotainment screen and a touch-sensitive strip which controls the car’s heating and ventilation.

The el-Born will be based on the same MEB platform as the Volkswagen ID.3. SEAT has already confirmed that the el-Born will be offered with a 62kWh battery pack, which will provide a range of up to 420km (261 miles) on the WLTP test cycle. The EV will also offer support for 100kW DC charging, allowing it to recover an 80 per cent charge in 47 minutes.

SEAT executives recently confirmed that the rear-wheel-drive el-Born will have “up to 201bhp” and a 0–62mph time of 7.5 seconds. More modest power outputs will also be available, with smaller batteries and a lower price tag. Should the el-Born follow the ID.3’s principle, its pricing should start from around £26,000 - or the equivalent to a well-specced diesel-powered Leon. 

As revealed by KinyuKinr 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.

New SEAT el-Born concept previews all-electric family car 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 KinyuKinr 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 KinyuKinr 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.

Now read all the latest on the recently launched Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback