Do more electrons equal more go?

The newly minted standalone brand Cupra is shaping up to be much more than just a go-to for performance thrills. According to a recent report from Autocar, SEAT brass have divulged that Cupra could also act as the development workhorse for a number of new technologies, including electric drivetrain tech.

Continue reading for the full story.

The Full Story

Cupra Could See Electric Drivetrain Tech Before SEAT
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SEAT research and development head, Matthias Rabe, promised more electrification, including battery electric vehicles.

Cupra, the once-upon-a-time performance division for Spanish automaker SEAT, detached itself from the mothership earlier this month to become its own standalone brand. Now it’s looking like Cupra will act as the technological pioneer as well, developing electric vehicle technology that will eventually trickle down to the rest of SEAT’s lineup as the automaker leverages the premium pricing attached to the Cupra models.

“We’re in a phase where we will have to integrate a lot of technologies into the product because they are available, from engine technology to connectivity, driver assistance systems, everything,” said SEAT head honcho Luca de Meo, according to a recent report from Autocar. “When you do it in a car supposed to be sold at, say, £11,000, it’s something, but to do it in a car two to three times the price you have some space to integrate that technology. We will use Cupra as a gate to bring technology that will cascade to the rest of the SEAT range.”

SEAT research and development head Matthias Rabe was more specific, saying that “there will be more electrification in Cupra, and we’re thinking about battery electric vehicles. We’re also looking at the digital world, both inside the car and how it connects outside it.”

Financially, it makes sense, but from a marketing perspective, the new role could raise a few issues. For example, would Cupra, a brand that’s best known for its hardcore performance machines, be the right fit for electric vehicles and upgraded connectivity tech, both of which aren’t part of the traditional stripped-down go-faster formula?

Cupra Could See Electric Drivetrain Tech Before SEAT Exterior
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Rabe said that hybrids and plug-in hybrids will likely be part of the Cupra lineup. Customers could see the Cupra version of certain upcoming vehicles first.

According to Rabe, newfound battery power would actually make for a pretty good fit. “We will continue with the internal combustion engine, but we have ideas of how to get more power as well,” he said. “We’re looking at the idea of electrification in a sporty way, not in a limited way like with a PHEV today.”

Rabe also added that hybrids and plug-in hybrids will likely be part of the Cupra lineup in the near future. What’s more, customers could very well see the Cupra version of certain upcoming vehicles prior to the SEAT version, which would be a bit of a role reversal between the two brands.

Either way, look for new hybrid and all-electrics heading down the line soon, as Cupra has plans to offer seven individual models by 2020. Cupra’s only confirmed production model thus far is the Ateca SUV, but it’s possible we’ll see a new hot hatch Ibiza as well. Both models are slated to appear at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show next month with gas power only.

References

Cupra Could See Electric Drivetrain Tech Before SEAT Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Cupra Ateca.

Cupra Could See Electric Drivetrain Tech Before SEAT Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2019 Cupra Ibiza.

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Read more Seat news.

Source: Autocar

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