New SEAT el-Born electric car 2020: pictures, specs and details

Cupra patent application suggests hot version of SEAT electric car is on the way

The SEAT el-Born electric car – based on the same platform as the Volkswagen ID.3 – was first revealed in concept form at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show (above), with a production version set to go on sale later in 2020. Now, patent applications spotted in May 2020 for ‘Cupra Born’ and ‘Cupra el-Born’ suggest that SEAT is gearing up to release a hotter Cupra-badged version, too.

Specifications have yet to be confirmed, but a sportier Cupra version of the el-Born could use a more powerful electric motor than its SEAT sibling.

SEAT's sister brand Volkswagen is also working on a performance variant of its version of the car. The proposed 'ID.3 R' would feature an electric drivetrain developed by Volkswagen Motorsport.

The standard el-Born is expected to have a range of just over 260 miles, calculated under the latest WLTP testing procedure. Its 0-62mph time is given as 7.5 seconds, while the car's 62kWh battery can be recharged in as little as 47 minutes using a 100kW DC fast-charging point. Total power output is just over 200bhp.

The production version of the el-Born was spied testing near the Arctic Circle in January 2020. The car’s camouflage wrap gave little away, however the distinctive headlight design previewed on 2019's concept vehicle appears to have been retained. The wing mirrors also boast a similarly sharp design, although at the rear the tail-lights look more conventional than those featured on the concept.

A lack of a grille and aerodynamic alloy wheels are giveaway signs that the test mule was an electric vehicle, although SEAT made identification easy in this instance with the addition of a ‘Vehículo Eléctrico’ sticker on the front passenger-side door. Meanwhile, the outline of the charging port flap is visible over the right-rear wheelarch.

SEAT el-Born

Design

SEAT says the el-Born's electric drivetrain has allowed the four wheels to be pushed to the corners of the car, giving it "more vibrant and energetic stance" than traditional internal-combustion-engined cars.

Aerodynamics have had a major influence on the el-Born's looks, with the large SEAT 'S' logo flush with the body up front. There are cooling vents low down on the front of the car to channel air to the battery pack, but there’s no need for a conventional radiator. A set of 20-inch 'turbine' alloy wheels also contribute to aerodynamic efficiency, while there's a double-layer spoiler at the back.

"el-Born is the ultimate translation of our emotional SEAT design language into the new world of electrical vehicles,” said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, SEAT's director of design, last year. “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.”

Interior

Inside, the el-Born has a digital cockpit, a 10-inch infotainment screen and "increased internal proportions" compared to a typical internal-combustion-engined car of similar size. Storage space has been boosted, too, with space to keep a bag between the two front seats.

On-board technology included 'Level 2' autonomous capability, assisting the driver with steering, acceleration and deceleration, along with intelligent parking assistance.

Price and on-sale date

There's no indication of an exact UK price for the el-Born yet, but it's expected to be competitive with family hatchbacks like the Volkswagen Golf. SEAT has confirmed it'll go on sale some time in 2020.