Spanish automaker Seat is taking the wraps off a vision of the future of urban mobility at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this year, with the unveiling of its concept car Minimó. The all-electric quadricycle has been developed to help meet the challenges of city driving, emission regulations whether that’s stricter laws on what vehicles can enter urban areas, the increasing fatigue of traffic jams or the lack of parking spaces.
The vehicle is designed to be narrow and agile making it easier to navigate around urban areas but is enclosed and practical increasing safety and its ability to serve a wider number of drivers and their needs. An all-electric powertrain with 0 emissions means that entering city centres with even the most stringent emissions legislation is no problem. Add to this the ability to swap battery packs to quickly and efficiently refuel the vehicle, reducing significantly the charging time for private customers and operation costs of an urban electric carsharing service.
Minimó’s hybrid character, bringing together both the qualities of passenger vehicles and motorcycles underlines its emphasis on its primary purpose: the ability to comfortably transport two people in the most minimal of footprints.
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” 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, naked 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. The single headlight is reminiscent of a motorbike, while the rear light design borrows from aeronautics, emphasizing the vehicle’s agility. But the Minimó’s sprightly design also houses practicality.
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 much effortless.
The Minimó gives customers over 100km of range on a single charge of its energy-dense battery pack. But because of its inventive design, there’s no need to wait hours for the vehicle to recharge once all the energy has been used. 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 catchword for the interior of the Minimó is space. Making the cabin as large, bright and enticing as possible in a vehicle with a footprint little bigger than a motorcycle. From the moment the doors open upwards, occupants are greeted with a tactile, clean and comfortable space, with equal amounts of room for both driver and passenger in the 1+1 seating setup. The 360° panoramic view means that passengers can easily take in the splendor 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 SEAT Ibiza today.
The rear passenger is cossetted in soft, smooth materials, clean aesthetics and sensual shut lines. And because the rear space does away with a traditional fixed seat, the sense of space and comfort is heightened. And should the Minimó be driven solo, then 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 other, 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
And the platform is ready to open the door to 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 car sharing’s user pain point. The Concept-car Minimó will make its world debut at the 2019 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona before moving to the Geneva International Motor Show in March.