While the Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo (or "SEAT" as it's known in popular parlance) may not have a lot of soul-stirring designs in its stable, a little electric coupé on display at the 80th Geneva Motor Show may presage a pleasing shift. The IB^E concept presents as a sweet styling study with an emissions-free drivetrain that should provide clues as to the future direction of the Volkswagen subsidiary.
Looking at the low-slung 4-seater whose glowing LED lights seem to suggest evil intent, we can only wish there was a snowball's chance in Suriname it was heading toward production. At least, that is, if it offered the performance its sporty look implies. Not that its 9.4 second 0-60 time is totally snail-like but a sub-six performance would be so much more satisfying. As currently constructed, it holds a 75 kW (100 horsepower) motor under its hood powered by an 18 kWh lithium pack located at the rear of the mean-looking machine. Although the small pack wouldn't allow for an amazing range, it does keep its total weight to just 1000 kilograms (2,205 pounds). Hit the jump for the official press release and watch it do its little turn on the catwalk in the accompanying video.
ELECTRIC ATMOSPHERE AROUND SEAT'S IBE CONCEPT
- Dynamic concept for urban mobility
- Stunning evolution of design DNA
- Electric drive with 75 kW (102 hp) for zero-emissions driving
The world debut of this compact sports coupé brings stunning design and great driving fun into the age of electric mobility.
The SEAT IBE concept car uses the zero-emissions drive of the future in a sporty and dynamic concept for urban mobility. Meanwhile the clean, athletic styling of the concept car gives a subtle clue to the ongoing development of the next generation of SEAT design.
Powerful proportions and a precise, clear design language define the continued evolution of the Spanish brand's design DNA.
Short, low and wide with an extremely low front end and broad shoulders – at first glance, the SEAT IBE seems to have the proportions of a classic sports car. Yet, it interprets this style genre in an innovative way to create a compact vehicle optimised for youthful living in urban areas.
James Muir, President of SEAT S.A. said: 'With the IBE we are demonstrating that, for SEAT, electric mobility will always be combined with excellent design and outstanding driving fun.
'The IBE is in the best SEAT tradition of always offering the boldest and most youthful cars in its class. On top of that, our first electric concept car represents the continuation of our strategy for the future.
'Along with the huge success of the highly efficient Ecomotive models, we are now working intensively on electric mobility; and that includes plug-in hybrid drive, as well as an all-electric vehicle.'
The SEAT IBE is 3.78 metres long – making it more than 25 centimetres shorter than an Ibiza – but its unusual breadth of 1.80 metres and overall height of just 122 centimetres lend it classic sports car proportions.
Classically sporty features of the two-door layout include its extremely low bonnet and long roof line. The short front overhang and muscular rear end work together with the arch-filling 19-inch wheels to underscore the car's powerful, compact look.
Visual highlights include the full LED headlamps, trademark Arrow Design nose, elongated and flattened V-shaped bonnet (made possible thanks to use of a full electric motor), broad 'shoulders' and sculpted flanks. At the back, the rear light clusters again feature LED light guide technology and once again display the 'arrow' thematic.
Tightly cut as a 2+2, the IBE is conceived for youthful lifestyles and while it has plenty of space for a couple, there is also the possibility of carrying up to four.
The SEAT IBE's motor is found beneath the extremely flat bonnet, with the lithium-ion battery positioned in the car's very short rear. With a maximum output of 75 kW (102 PS) and 200 Nm of torque, the power unit delivers exactly the kind of dynamic driving fun you might expect of a car that looks so sporty. The typical 'city dash' from 0 to 50 km/h takes only 3.4 seconds; within 6.3 seconds the IBE has reached 80 km/h and, after only 9.4 seconds, it arrives at 100 km/h.
The 1,000 kg car's continuous power rating is limited to 50 kW (68 PS), with the top speed pegged at 160 km/h – more than enough to cut an impressive dash even on urban motorways.
Battery capacity is 18 kWh, which is plenty to cover all the daily mobility requirements of city life.
It goes without saying, of course, that the SEAT IBE is equipped with the latest safety and communication systems and, in particular, is prepared for car-to-x communication. Anticipating the information network of the future, the car is even capable of exchanging data about its status or safety alerts directly with other vehicles or the traffic infrastructure.