SEAT is taking the wraps off its vision of the future of urban mobility at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today, with the unveiling of its concept car, Minimó.
The all-electric quadricycle has been developed to help meet the challenges of city driving, such as emissions laws regulating vehicles entering urban areas, the growing problem of traffic jams and the lack of parking spaces.
The Minimó brings together the benefits of the smaller dimensions of a motorcycle with the safety and comfort of a larger passenger vehicle, minimising the many frustrations of travelling around our cities.
The vehicle is designed to be narrow and agile making it easier to navigate around urban areas, but is enclosed to increase both safety and its ability to serve a wider number of drivers and their needs.
An all-electric powertrain with zero emissions means that entering city centres with even the most stringent emissions legislation is no problem. Its ability to swap battery packs to quickly and efficiently refuel the vehicle, significantly reduces the charging time for private customers as well as operation costs of an urban electric car-sharing service.
With a length of 2.5m and a width of 1.24m, the concept car is compact enough to traverse even the most congested of city streets and fit into the smallest of parking spots. These compact dimensions allows the vehicle for a reduced footprint of only 3.1m2, much less than a regular city car (around 7.2m2). And, unlike other urban vehicles, a great driving pleasure and comfort is provided thanks to the large, uncovered, 17-inch wheels, a high SUV-like seating position and unparalleled roominess for the passenger, allowing it to sweep through urban streets unlike any other vehicle on the road.
The enclosed design, with its lightweight aesthetic and technical beauty, protects occupants not only from the elements but also improves safety, meaning no matter what the conditions, the vehicle is a practical option for getting around town. A single headlight is reminiscent of a motorbike, while the rear light borrows design cues from aeronautics, emphasising the vehicle’s agility. Despite Minimó’s compact design, it is also highly practical!
The doors are asymmetrical and hinged to open in the tightest of spaces. The smaller left driver’s door means more space can be given to the vehicle’s glasshouse increasing visibility for passengers, while the larger right passenger door makes entering and exiting the vehicle effortless.
Packaged under the floor of the vehicle in an accessible frame, the battery can be swapped with a fresh pack in a matter of seconds and with minimal fuss, allowing the vehicle to continue its journey far quicker than other vehicles on the road.
The 360° panoramic view means that passengers can easily take in the splendour of their surroundings. In fact the distance between the hip point of the rear passenger and driver is identical to that of the SEAT Mii, while the distance between the occupants and the door is more generous than even the current SEAT Ibiza.
The rear passenger is cossetted in soft, smooth materials, clean aesthetics and sensual shut lines. As the rear space does away with a traditional fixed seat, the sense of space and comfort is heightened. Should the Minimó be driven solo, because the rear seat forms an unbroken part of the interior there is ample space for luggage, adding to the vehicle’s practicality and also hinting at possible future uses for the Minimó in non-passenger vehicle guises.
The vehicle offers connectivity solutions to provide a seamless digital experience for the user (private and sharing) based on digital key and wireless Android Auto™ technology. A central digital display behind the steering wheel combines the functions of cluster instrument and digital content from the user smartphone with the necessary safety driving requirements. With the Google Assistant on Android Auto, users can keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel while using their voice to stay connected, easily get answers, manage tasks and control media.
The platform is also ready for future developments. The Minimó is preparing for future Level 4 autonomous technologies, which would allow the vehicle to pick up the user when requested, solving one of the main frustrations of car sharers.