Seat unveils world's first electric touring car at Geneva
This menacing Cupra E-Racer from the VW Group hunkers down for its Geneva Motor Show debut.
Chris PaukertFormer executive editor / Cars
Following stints in TV news production and as a record company publicist, Chris spent most of his career in automotive publishing. Mentored by Automobile Magazine founder David E. Davis Jr., Paukert succeeded Davis as editor-in-chief of Winding Road, a pioneering e-mag, before serving as Autoblog's executive editor from 2008 to 2015.
Chris is a Webby and Telly award-winning video producer and has served on the jury of the North American Car and Truck of the Year awards. He joined the CNET team in 2015, bringing a small cache of odd, underappreciated cars with him.
Volkswagen's Spanish arm, Seat, has just revealed what it says is the world's first fully electric racing touring car in the world. Dubbed Cupra E-Racer, the ground-hugging widebody hatchback is part of the company's Geneva Motor Show launch plans for a new performance sub-brand, Cupra.
For the moment, Seat isn't saying what (if any) competition goals it has for the Cupra E-Racer. In fact beyond stating that the battery-powered drivetrain is capable of delivering a steady 402 horsepower and peak boosts of up to 671 hp, the company primarily known for inexpensive hatchbacks and sedans isn't saying much of anything about the E-Racer's performance.
While few details have been revealed ahead of the Cupra E-Racer's appearance at the Geneva auto show, it appears to be an electrified (and no doubt extensively modified) version of Seat's Leon TCR touring car. Last year, the latter contested the short-lived TCR International Series, a touring car championship poised to merge with the popular World Touring Car Championship and European Touring Car Cup in 2018.
While it's unclear if the Cupra E-Racer will ever see competition, one new model that Europeans will definitely be seeing more of is the company's new Cupra Ateca SUV, which pairs a 296-horsepower engine with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Despite being a crossover, the Cupra Ateca shares much of its underlying DNA with the Volkswagen Golf R, so it should be an engaging steer.