New SEAT el-Born 2020: electric hatchback spied

Electric SEAT el-Born spotted winter testing ahead of anticipated launch later in 2020

The new SEAT el-Born – an electric hatchback based on the same platform as the Volkswagen ID.3 – has been spied testing near the Arctic Circle.

The car’s camouflage wrap gives little away, however the distinctive headlight design previewed on last year’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 is an electric vehicle, although SEAT has 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.

The SEAT el-Born concept was revealed at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show, with the company claiming at the time that it "answers the varied questions posed by the electric revolution and becomes a game-changer in the process". It also said the el-Born "fuses the core aspects driving change in the automotive industry: electrification, autonomous driving, shared mobility and connectivity."

As well as being electrically powered, the el-Born showcases extensive mobile and internet connectivity features, in line with market trends. The production version is set to go on sale later in 2020. The el-Born concept closely followed the reveal of the SEAT Minimo 'urban mobility' concept at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2019.

The 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.

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.