SEAT is a company not well understood in the US, and most wouldn’t even know VW owns it. And the company has electric plans for the future of the Spanish carmaker. We’re still left wondering if we’ll ever see a SEAT on this soil, let alone an electric one.
VW Teases an Electric Race SEAT
What do you do when you want to show you’re serious about a given technology after a scandal? You don’t just talk about it, as VW has already found out. You talk about it and you show it. And that’s just what the company is finally doing with its subsidiary SEAT‘s Cupra e-Racer, a race-ready electric vehicle (EV).
An electric racer is nice, but how does that sell? Race series sell, and sell well. Specific models with their own specific race series have boosted overall sales. The philosophy goes back to the 1960s with Ferrari’s motto of “race on weekends, drive to work on Monday.” It worked in the 1960s, but today is a different landscape. EVs are part of a giant puzzle of what we call electric-mobility (e-mobility) that involves public transportation, personal, and any means to get from point A to B in a clean and efficient way.
Today, most European companies are well-versed in the racing advertising game. You can find an exhaustive list of model-specific cup races designed to get owners excited about the car. The Maserati and Porsche cups are among the most well-known. On any given weekend, an owner can take their car and duke it out on the track, while driving back to work on Monday morning. And VW understands racing very well, having been itself involved in it one way or another for decades. It is looking to strike a loud introduction of a race-ready EV that can race on weekends and commute to work on Monday. But can the SEAT Cupra e-Racer really do that?
In some ways, the electric SEAT reminds us of the first European GTs that terrorized the old world in the 1980s. The VW Golf and Peugeot GTI were the queens of local streets 40 years ago. If VW plays its cards well, it could introduce the first electric GTI, a performance EV that most people could enjoy practically every day, and for fun on the tracks on weekends.
SEAT Cupra e-Racer Realities
If we have become aware of one thing with VW, it’s that the company loves to toot its horn and has made copious use of PR and media to navigate itself out of the diesel scandal. And before it gets there, it knows it needs to be pragmatic, while rebuilding its damaged public image and establishing how to make a profit selling EVs.
Since electric sedans and Roadsters already exist, as well as a growing number of entry-level EVs, VW could be using SEAT’s Cupra e-Racer as the first electric “touring-class” race car, as sort of an EV GTI, for those of you lucky enough to remember those days. For this, the e-Racer rests on the company’s Cupra Leon TCR platform, which was tweaked to put out 402 HP of continuous power and 670 HP peak power. Still more on the racing side of things than your everyday grocery cruiser, but it shows VW knows it now has to show something on the track. It also means this is going to be a fun little EV to knock around town.
VW Readies A Race EV For The Masses
Using SEAT as its introductory EV “GTI” street and track racer makes perfect sense for VW. SEAT’s Cupra sports platform is part of the company’s longer strategic “E TCR” category.
Since we now have a Formula E and GT Championship series, can we have a smaller e-GTI series and cup? The VW e-Racer should find a warm reception and hopefully unleash the same passion it did in the 1980s on the streets of Europe.
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