• Jan 23rd 2009 at 7:58PM
  • 11
The SEAT Leon Ecomotive was a Leon that had been picked over and removed of many inefficiencies in order to deliver a frugal 3.7 liters/100 kilometers (63 miles-per-gallon) as well as lower CO2 emissions. The SEAT Twin Drive Leon Prototype takes that idea a giant leap further by making the car a plug-in hybrid, adding a 35kW electric engine to the car that handles all of the motivation on the urban cycle.

Almost all of the car's running gear was massaged in the drive to become a hybrid. A lithium-ion battery pack powers the electric motor, and it is said to propel the car to a range of 50 km and a maximum speed of 100 km (62 miles-per-hour). For the moment, the 1.9-liter TDI engine remains to handle extra-urban duties. However, SEAT is looking at completely phasing out the internal combustion engine on future Ecomotive models.

Spain's Minister of Industry wants one million hybrids on Spanish roads by 2014, which is when the Twin Drive could make its appearance in showrooms. You can read all about it in the press release after the jump, and see it in the gallery of high-res photos below.

[Source: SEAT]


For immediate release
22 January 2009


● SEAT petrol/electric hybrid will use ingenious Twin Drive technology
● Aspiration to develop viable 'plug in' electric powered vehicle
● First Twin Drive SEATs could be in showrooms by 2014

A radical new SEAT, conceived to run on electric power or a conventional petrol engine, has been unveiled in Spain. The green-minded Leon Twin Drive Ecomotive prototype made its debut at the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell, near Barcelona.

The ultra-low emissions concept was unveiled in front of Spanish Government minister Miguel Sebastián, as well as Catalan and local government representatives. As its name suggests, the innovative Twin Drive concept is being developed to pioneer important advances in hybrid technology.

The initial aim is for Twin Drive-equipped SEATs to run on electricity in urban areas, switching seamlessly to conventional petrol or diesel power for longer trips out of town. So-called 'plug-in' hybrid propulsion, as well as the eventual phasing out of the internal combustion engine in future Ecomotive models, is also on the agenda for SEAT.

SEAT chairman Erich Schmitt, along with Volkswagen Group Executive Committee member and Chairman of SEAT's Board of Directors, Francisco García Sanz, unveiled the radical Leon prototype.

Mr García Sanz said: 'Half way through the last century we made a decisive contribution to putting a whole generation on wheels. Today, 50 years on, we also want to be leading players at the beginning of a process of development and industrialisation of this type of car.'

SEAT's ambitious Twin Drive development plan, which stretches to 2014, focuses on creating a whole range of Ecomotive vehicles with exceptional fuel economy and dramatically reduced CO2 emissions.

The car shown at Martorell features an electric motor powered by lithium-ion batteries. There has been extensive modification of the gearbox, brakes, heating and cooling systems, while major changes to the vehicle's electronics have also been carried out.

The prototype will allow engineers at the Spanish brand's state-of-the-art technical centre to research advanced electrical propulsion techniques, battery recharging and vehicle range.

As things stand, of course, SEAT is already at the forefront of low emissions, high economy motoring with models such as the new generation Ibiza Ecomotive, current Leon Ecomotive and Alhambra Ecomotive all leading the way in their respective segments of the market.

The forthcoming new Ibiza Ecomotive, for instance, is capable of 76.3 mpg on the combined cycle (94.2 mpg extra urban), with joint best-in-class CO2 emissions of just 98 g/km.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      This probably works best in congested cities in Europe (and possibly the US), where use of the battery only would clear up pollution/emissions a bit.

      Not sure, yet hopeful, that its Golf VI twin-drive counterpart will make it stateside if they decide to produce it.

      For me, it would be perfect for my needs. I've got a 20 mile round trip commute to work, so I'd probably be battery the whole way (unless the newer programming kicked on the diesel engine for highway stints). For the occasional road trip, I'd be diesel taking advantage of the long range fuel economy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Judging by the inclusion of a tdi powerplant, which VAG deems the ultimate highway solution to pollution and fuel economy, it would seem this car is hedging against urban and highway use.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is this the 'red I' engine? The 1.9TDI on its own is no slouch, if the electric motor motor can be used in tandem for a power boost a la Prius, this could be quite a sleeper!
      • 6 Years Ago
      We could use some of those in the U.S.
      • 6 Years Ago
      In standard car already does 63 miles-per-gallon, and it’s the same size as a Focus. Sign me up!
      • 6 Years Ago
      It has a bad case of Bangleitis.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Did everyone miss the fact that this thing is a diesel hybrid?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I don't think so. This is the SEAT version of two other versions we've seen that are in the Golf V and VI, so most of us have already been keeping tabs on the tech.

        It's basically a hybrid, but was designed to run only on batteries for 30-40 miles, then switch to diesel. I thought I read a blurb about the Golf VI (and this too by extension) having a little bit different programming, letting the diesel take over if sooner, like if you were on the highway or over 50mph or so, so that the battery could be saved for when you reached your destination.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I would be willing to give up both of my civics for one of these. I think it is simple and neat. Like it a lot.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Have you ever driven a Seat? no? that's what I imagined.
        • 6 Years Ago
        firstplace: What gives you the idea Seat is a "C rate brand?" You're aware the Leon is a Golf under its clothes, right? Certainly not a C rate car.

        I rented a Leon while in Europe not so long ago, and it was impressive. Surprise, it drives like a Golf but with a bit more flair in the styling. Like most modern cars, it's hard to judge from photos. I don't think it looks overly Bangleized-- as Mr. Ed says above-- in photos, but it looks even better in person.

        There probably isn't a business case for VW to bring Seat to the States, yet I'd still love to see them try. Sounds like there would be some takers in this group.
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