Seat forges ahead with electromobility

November 14, 2011 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Volkswagen's Spanish subsidiary Seat announced new models with both hybrid and electric drive. In addition, the company cooperates with partners in industry, science and public sector to develop the smart infrastructure required for the widespread acceptance of electric vehicles.

Seat introduced the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive as a battery-electric vehicle made in Spain. The new Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive represents the company's offering in the segment of plug-in hybrids. According to the vendor, both lines complement each other. The company intends to gather experience in a fleet test, starting in 2012.

The Seat Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive combines the advantages of locally emission-free driving with the long driving range of a conventional internal combustion engine. According to the company, the car drives up to 52 km (32 miles) when operated exclusively on battery power. The hybrid power train is effective enough to drive power consumption down to 1.7 liters of fuel for 100km. In contrast to other HEVs, the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive's driving concept is based on the electric engine in the first place; the combustion engine is almost reduced to the function of a range extender.

Its batteries give the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive a driving range of up to 135km, the company said. The battery cells are located under the rear seat while the drive and the related power electronic circuitry is located under the hood. Solar cells on the roof help to keep the interior cool when parked in the sun. With the vehicle, the company highlights its commitment to electric mobility. "Seat will drive electrically", said Seat's executive vice president for R&D, Matthias Rabe. "For our first fleet of electric vehicles, we chose the Altea since this is our car with the broadest employment spectrum."

The Altea XL Electric Ecomotive also is equipped with new instruments at the dashboard which inform the driver on power consumption, recuperation effectiveness and range, thus supporting an energy-conscious driving style. In addition, apps for smartphones are available to remotely control specific functions of the vehicle such as air conditioning. Also the vehicle's charging cycle can be controlled through this app.