We've already seen spy photos of the production version of Volkswagen's new Golf-sized fully electric car, alternatively referred to as the I.D. or the Neo. As an intent to show that the MEB platform underpinning the Volkswagen will be utilized on other Volkswagen group cars, Seat, the Spanish carmaker, has released images of its own take on the MEB architecture.
Seat's MEB concept wears the slightly "Game of Thrones"–like name El-Born. It won't be the first one to the market, but it's the first MEB car to shed its cloak of disguise in near-production form. Eventually, the El-Born will follow the Volkswagen version to the dealers in 2020, and reportedly these images show a "95-percent production ready" car. That figure is getting thrown around quite a bit these days.
Instead of employing an Autobianchi tactic — Fiat used a lesser Autobianchi badge to whisk future platforms and ideas such as transverse-engined FWD into production before using the same tech under the Fiat brand — Volkswagen will bring the I.D. electric hatchback to market first, instead of using Seat to test the waters. But the Seat is hardly a second banana, as its figures are convincing enough: the 62-kWh battery pack gives it a range of 260 miles (on the WLTP cycle), and its 204-horsepower electric powertrain takes it to 62 mph in 7.5 seconds. With 100-kW DC charging, the battery reaches 80-percent capacity in 47 minutes. The VW version's production is slated to begin in November 2019.
The El-Born's cab-forward design gives some hints about the Volkswagen version, even if the MEB platform is more of a skateboard rather than something defining hard points. Seat is VW's Mediterranean brand with a slightly sportier image so the design is sharper and, for a lack of a better word, more dynamic. The nose has just the tiniest bit of the grille-less Model 3 front about it. Inside, there's a large, 10-inch touchscreen turned toward the driver, and behind the steering wheel, we see a glimpse of the drive mode selector; there's no shifter on the center console. The gauge cluster is a simple rectangular screen.
When it reaches the market in Europe, the production Seat El-Born can be priced a little under a comparable Volkswagen, if other Seat models can be used as a yardstick. Seat also has a presence in Mexico, so it's not completely out of the question to spot one of these elsewhere in North America, either.