Temperatures ranging from 0 to 50 degrees and varying terrain raise major driving difficulties

A dune field measuring 22 kilometres long and 5 kilometres wide, featuring mountains of sand, varying terrain and extreme temperatures. This is the challenge facing the SEAT Tarraco in Morocco’s largest desert.

– From  0 to 50 degrees in a matter of hours: The desert is one of the places on the planet with the most radical temperature variations, rising to 50 degrees during the day from freezing at night. For this reason it is essential that the exterior temperature does not affect the interior of the vehicle or the driver.

 “The ideal, comfort temperature is 21.5 °C, and the climate control’s Auto option automatically regulates the temperature inside the vehicle”, says María García, an engineer in SEAT’s Development and Aerodynamics Department. The three-zone climate control, which can also be adjusted from the second row of seats, delivers individual comfort even in these harsh conditions.

-Sand and more: The journey to the dune is full of rocky, uneven terrain that require precision driving skills at all times. With the Tarraco’s adaptive chassis control, the system automatically adjusts the firmness of the suspension, modifying its characteristics according to the surface conditions and driving style. “The system is able to react to uneven surfaces in a matter of thousands of a second to optimise its performance, making it easy to get to the dune”, explains Stefan Ilijevic, head of Pre-developmentPatents and Innovation at SEAT.

– Dunes the size of cathedrals: The landscape of this area is characterised by its impressive dunes, which can reach heights of up to 150 metres, similar to that of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Driving up a mountain of sand requires adapting the assistants: “For example, we must deactivate the stability control System before driving onto the dune to prevent locking the wheels and allow them to freely find traction on the surface”, Stefan recommends.

– From the 60 litre fuel tank of the Tarraco to the 50 days a camel can go without water: Finding a petrol station in the middle of the desert is a near imposible task. Although the Tarraco features a 60 litre tank, it is still no match for the 50 days a camel can go without drinking. “Driving in the dunes requires a lot of power, which generates greater consumption. Fortunately we have a large fuel tank”, says Stefan.

– 100% LED technology: As the day progresses, the desert colours change from orange red to glowing gold. The ridges and peaks of the dunes create shadows that make it difficult to choose which direction to take, but the full LED headlamps on the Tarraco give a bright, clear view ahead. “During the development stage, components such as the headlights and rear lights spend up to ten days in a climate chamber at extreme temperatures ranging from -40 to 90 °C to test their durability and ensure their performance in demanding surroundings like the desert”, points out the SEAT engineer.

SEAT is the only company that designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting 80% of its vehicles, and is present in over 80 countries on all five continents. In 2018, SEAT sold 517,600 cars, the highest amount in the brand’s 68 years of history.

The SEAT Group employs more than 15,000 professionals and has three production centres – Barcelona, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza, Arona and Leon. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca in the Czech Republic, the Tarraco in Germany, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.

The multinational has a Technical Centre, which operates as a knowledge hub that brings together 1,000 engineers who are focussed on developing innovation for Spain’s largest industrial investor in R&D. SEAT already features the latest connectivity technology in its vehicle range and is currently engaged in the company’s global digitalisation process to promote the mobility of the future.