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Seat announces its first electric car at MWC

The company will begin testing the car in Barcelona from April, with a fleet of ten units

At Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress Seat announced the company’s first electric car, the e-Mii. The carmaker has also chosen Barcelona to conduct its first tests: ten electric cars will take to the city’s streets from April of this year.

The all-electric fleet will be driven by employees of Barcelona Tech City, located in the Palau de Mar, Barcelona. At the congress, Seat president Luca de Meo also confirmed earlier reports that its parent company, Volkswagen, will base its new innovation centre at its headquarters, which is also located in Palau de Mar.

Nonetheless, the e-Mii will not go on sale until 2019. It will have a range of 150 km, a top speed of 130 kph and a fast charging time of just 30 minutes. The new model will also feature always-on technology that will allow access to the car with a smartphone. Indeed, tests with the first fleet of ten cars are partly aimed at improving connectivity.

Seat aims to lead the connected car market

The Spanish car manufacturer stated that it has made a significant commitment to incorporating the internet in its vehicles: this is the first time that Seat has had its own stand at the MWC, with a presence at both the Gran Via and Plaça d'Espanya pavilions. The company's president, Luca De Meo, stated that "we didn’t come here to talk about cars only, but also about the role of automobile companies in the world of connectivity and the internet".

De Meo also stressed that "the motor industry is experiencing a moment of ‘reflection’ and the relationship with the customer is also changing; we are convinced that we have a lot more to gain than to lose in this transformation". Seat believes it has an advantage in this respect, thanks to the synergies with its parent company, Volkswagen.

Seat hopes that connectivity will "help to improve life and mobility in the city". Therefore, in addition to its new models, which are already connected, they have also taken into consideration drivers of older cars: from December the company is to offer its customers the Seat Dongle which will allow owners of older cars to connect their vehicle to a smartphone.

A small device, the size of a battery, the Dongle connects to the car in the same way as service centres do to access data. The company will provide it free of charge to customers on request. It is a means for customers to "adapt and update" their cars and for the company to collect the largest amount of data possible in order to improve every aspect of mobility and connectivity.

Seat stated that the company has strict guidelines for managing the data and will only make use of information that will help it to improve quality and its customers’ driving experience. The company is in regular contact with the Spanish authorities to ensure it adheres to the privacy laws that govern the handling of such information.

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