SEAT will launch an urban battery-electric vehicle (BEV) based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB platform by 2025. Priced between €20,000 and €25,000, it will enter the somewhat unexplored market space of affordable electromobility.
As a cornerstone of SEAT’s ‘Future Fast Forward’ plan, the upcoming BEV will ‘make electromobility accessible to the masses,’ as well as helping the brand achieve its Green Deal targets. Another key element of this roadmap is the carmaker’s commitment to localised production in Spain. SEAT wants to upgrade its Martorell factory in the country to produce more than half a million electrically-chargeable vehicles (EVs) annually.
‘We want to manufacture electric cars in Spain starting in 2025,’ said SEAT president Wayne Griffiths. ‘Our ambition is to produce more than 500,000 urban-electric cars per year in Martorell, also for the Volkswagen Group, but we need a clear commitment by the European Commission.’
An affordable urban-EV also represents an important milestone for SEAT. It contains the potential to unlock electromobility for a much larger group of consumers, open up sustainability for the carmaker, and enable greater growth within the Spanish automotive industry. While the whole world has seen enormous COVID-19 economic fallout, Spain has seen one of the largest contractions in Europe as noted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
In automotive terms, the country saw 58,279 new cars registered last month, down 38.4% on February 2020. Without an improvement in consumer confidence, a return of tourism, and/or new measures to stimulate new-car demand, the Spanish market will continue to struggle. Autovista Group currently forecasts that demand will recover from the 32% loss in 2020, albeit only by 6% to about 900,000 units in 2021.
But the extension of the government-backed MOVES II incentive scheme, and confirmation of the subsequent MOVES III, aim to make BEVs and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) a staple of the industry’s green recovery.
Recognising Spain as Europe’s second-largest car-production industry, the carmaker pointed out the country bears a great responsibility when it comes to achieving the European Green Deal targets by 2030. This new project will therefore involve creating an EV ecosystem, including localising the electric value chain, starting with the battery. SEAT also plans to stimulate demand for EVs and develop the public-charging infrastructure, which is sorely needed to boost confidence in the drivetrain.
‘We have drawn up the plan, we have the right partners on-board and we are generally ready to invest. This project is intended to become the driver for the transformation of the Spanish automotive industry,’ said Griffiths. ‘The support of the Spanish Government and the EU Commission for this cross-sectorial and nation-wide plan is needed for the Volkswagen Group to be able to take the final decision on its execution.’
The carmaker also confirmed Cupra will launch the Tavascan SUV in 2024. It will be the brand’s second BEV following on from the Born model at the end of 2021. ‘Our dream will come true: the Cupra Tavascan will be a reality. Based on the MEB platform of the Volkswagen Group, it will be designed and developed in Barcelona and will reach Europe and overseas markets in 2024,’ Griffiths explained.
So, as well as launching new vehicles, Cupra will boost the company’s financial results and open doors to new markets. The brand is forecast to double its sales and turnover, which in 2020 amounted to around €900 million. In 2022, it will also begin operations in Australia as a key move towards expanding in the Asia-Pacific region.
‘Australia is a young market and Cupra is a young brand. Customers are looking for new brands, there is a high middle-class income and it is a progressive society. We are confident that Cupra can be successful in this country,’ said Griffiths.