Click on image for a hi-res gallery of the Seat León Twin Drive prototype
SEAT has introduced a new concept, based on the current Seat León (which itself has a lot in common with the Audi A3) that sports an all-new plug-in hybrid powertrain. The model, called the SEAT León Twin Drive Ecomotive, has two driving modes: the car is equipped with a lithium-ion battery mated to a 35 kW (46hp) motor engine and is connected to an internal combustion engine. The all-electric mode has a range of 50 km (30 miles) with a maximum speed of 100 km/h (60 miles). The car was recently shown to the Spanish Minister of Industry who, not long ago, promised a million all-electric or plug-in hybrid cars on Spanish roads in 2012. That goal has been pushed back to 2014. SEAT, which is now the least successful brand in the VW group, hopes to do its part to be a part of this market, so a production version of the SEAT León Twin Drive Ecomotive could be available in 2014. Full press release after the jump.
AS PART OF GLOBAL SUSTAINABLE MOBILITY PLAN FOR 2014
SEAT presents its electric car project to Spanish government
# The electrically-powered prototype presented shows the potential of the Twin Drive traction for a compact range vehicle.
# This technology uses electrical power in urban circuits, combined with a combustion engine for interurban trips, with no range restriction.
# The first units could be available from 2014.
Today SEAT presented an electrically-driven vehicle prototype on which the Spanish brand is currently working to Miguel Sebastián, Spanish minister for Industry, Tourism and Business. The SEAT project is an electrically-powered León Twin Drive Ecomotive vehicle equipped with a lithium-ion battery for urban circuits, connected ingeniously to an internal combustion engine for interurban trips, with optimum consumption level.
The presentation was made at the SEAT Technical Centre, and was also attended by Antoni Soy, the Catalan government (Generalitat)'s Secretary for Industry and Business as well as the mayors of the municipalities where SEAT's facilities are located.
Representing SEAT were Francisco García Sanz, member of Volkswagen's Executive committee and Chairman of SEAT's Board of Directors, and Erich Schmitt, Chairman of SEAT.
García Sanz highlighted the importance of this vehicle from the point of view of investment made, not only in environmental terms, but also in the future of the company. "Whereas half-way through the last century we made a decisive contribution to putting a whole generations on wheels, today, 50 years on, we also want to be leading players at the beginning of a process of development and industrialization of this type of car which combines an electric power unit with an internal combustion engine".
None the less, he also underlined the need to involve all stakeholders in order to guarantee sustainable driving in the future: "Product technology by itself is no guarantee for success. The implication of electricity utility companies as well as the clear support from governments is crucial in order to assure mobility and autonomy for the users".
The plan, with a time-scale stretching to 2014, is designed to carry out research, within the field of 'plug-in' hybrid propulsion, into the gradual phasing-out of the use of the internal combustion engine so as to launch onto the market SEAT models with very low consumption and environmentally-friendly CO2 emission levels.
Later on, the different representatives were provided with a description of the technical aspects of the SEAT León Twin Drive Ecomotive project; the Spanish government's Minister for industry was taken for a test drive in the vehicle.
SEAT León Twin Drive Ecomotive project, the first step
The Spanish brand's first electrically-driven car prototype is based on a León in which the traditional combustion engine has been replaced by an electric one. Likewise, certain elements such as the gearbox, power braking, heating and cooling systems, and a substantial part of the electronics have also been modified. The engine is fed by a group of lithium-ion batteries located at the rear of the vehicle, providing sustainable power of 35 kW and a self-imposed top speed of 100 kph.
This prototype will allow the Spanish brand's engineers to carry out research into the specific features of electrical propulsion and above all how to improve on one of its main drawbacks – quick battery recharging and range, which, in the case of the current vehicle, is 50 kms.
The Twin Drive Ecomotive project is a first step towards a 100% electric car, and consists of the development of a hybrid vehicle combining the well-tested efficiency of SEAT's Ecomotive cars with the advantages offered by electrical propulsion.
Thus, a drastic reduction of CO2 emissions will be achieved, combined with noteworthy performance and range. With its Ecomotive range, SEAT already offers its clients the Ibiza Ecomotive with emissions of 98g/km of CO2, the León Ecomotive (119 g/km), and the Alhambra Ecomotive (159 g/km). For the record, two of the models, the Ibiza and the Alhambra, are the vehicles have the lowest emission levels for their respective segments.