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SEAT petrol electric hybrid prototype

SEAT has unveiled the Leon Twin Drive Ecomotive prototype which can run on electric power or a conventional petrol engine. The company says the first Twin Drive SEATs could be in showrooms by 2014, and their aspiration is to develop a viable ‘plug in’ electric powered vehicle.

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’s 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 prototype 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 to research advanced electrical propulsion techniques, battery recharging and vehicle range.

In the meantime, the forthcoming new Ibiza Ecomotive will be 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.