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SEAT Presents Electric Drive Research Prototype to Spanish Government

Under the hood of the SEAT León Twin Drive prototype. Click to enlarge.

SEAT, a member of the Volkswagen Group,  presented an electrically-driven research prototype to Miguel Sebastián, Spanish minister for Industry, Tourism and Business. The research prototype is an electrically-powered León Twin Drive Ecomotive vehicle equipped with a lithium-ion battery for urban circuits, connected to an internal combustion engine for interurban trips, with optimum consumption level.

SEAT’s Global Sustainable Mobility Plan for 2014 is designed to carry out research within the field of plug-in hybrid propulsion and into the gradual phasing-out of the use of the internal combustion engine.

The SEAT León Twin Drive prototype. Click to enlarge.

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.

The Spanish brand’s first electrically-driven car prototype is based on a León in which the traditional combustion engine has been replaced by a 35 kW (46 hp) motor. 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 motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery pack located at the rear of the vehicle, providing sustainable power of 35 kW and a self-imposed top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph).

The battery pack. Click to enlarge.

This prototype will allow SEAT 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 all-electric range, which, in the case of the current vehicle, is 50 km (31 miles).

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 efficiency of SEAT’s Ecomotive cars with the advantages offered by electrical propulsion.

Plugging in. Click to enlarge.

Within its Ecomotive range, SEAT already offers the Ibiza Ecomotive with CO2emissions of 98 g/km, the León Ecomotive (119 g/km), and the Alhambra Ecomotive (159 g/km). Two of the models, the Ibiza and the Alhambra, are the vehicles have the lowest emission levels for their respective segments.

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.

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.

—García Sanz


John Taylor

We need to move to electric cars, and toss the gas engines altogether.
If recharge can be done in under 2 hours (and it can with today's technology) then placing recharge stations at points of interest, shopping malls and restaurants will provide an infrastructure that makes the electric car become viable.

A driving range of at least two hours and preferably three hours is reasonable, and we can achieve this with today's batteries.

So, this is not a situation needing new technology, but one that needs political will to get going.

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