SEAT rolls-out first plug-in hybrid and all-electric EV prototypes


November 10, 2011

SEAT's electric vehicle prototypes: the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive plug-in hybrid (left) and Altea XL Electric Ecomotive (right)

SEAT's electric vehicle prototypes: the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive plug-in hybrid (left) and Altea XL Electric Ecomotive (right)

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Spanish Volkswagen subsidiary SEAT is the latest automobile manufacturer set to make the move to electric vehicle production. With a view to mass-producing its first electric vehicles in the next five years, this week the company presented not one, but two prototype electric vehicles. The first is a plug-in hybrid called the Leo TwinDrive Ecomotive plug-in hybrid, while the second is an all-electric car known as the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive.

The Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive is designed as either a three- or five-door five-seater with a range of 52 km (32 miles) and a top speed of 120 km/h (74.5 mph). Adding the combustion engine to the mix in combined mode sees the vehicle's top speed jump to 170 km/h (105.6 mph). In this mode SEAT expects fuel economy of 1.7 liters per 100 km (138.36 mpg US), which is equivalent to 39 g/km of CO2.

Back in 2009, SEAT said the Leon TwinDive Ecomotive project was the company's first step towards a 100 percent electric car and that car has now arrived in the form of the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive prototype. The exterior similarities between the Leon and the Altea are obvious at a glance but the real differences can be found under the hood.

With an electric motor producing 115 hp (85 kW) and 270 Nm or torque, the five-door, five-seat, all-electric Altea XL boasts a limited top speed of 135 km/h (83.8 mph) and a range of 135 km (83.8 miles). The batteries are located are located under the rear seats and the boot so there's no intrusion into the passenger compartment.

Along with a regenerative braking system, the Altea XL also features rooftop photovoltaic cells that can be used when the car is parked to recirculate fresh air around the passenger compartment and reduce the energy needed to cool the car down later on by the climate control system.

With an eye on gathering information from some real world testing before moving into mass production, SEAT plans to make both models available to governmental institutions in Catalonia and Madrid for use in their vehicle fleets. The company has penciled in 2015 for the launch of its first electric plug-in hybrid, to be followed in 2016 by its first all-electric car.

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

Too little, too late. Before this EV can roll out it will be obsolete. I predict it will never be produced. The platform is obviously taken from an ICE. A fatal, but common error.


Stories are being written now about a crash-tested Chevy Volt 5 hours after the test starting to burn. A few more people against EVs will now run around saying \"SEE? SEE? SEE? Unsafe!\" Same thing with small effifient cars, 3-wheel vehicles, velomobiles. Sadly, this will be a very difficult battle. I would prefer a small 3-wheel enclosed electric vehicle; but if I don\'t show \'love\' for a 7-person massive visually blocking gas hog - I am out of touch with humanity.

Chris Jordan
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