March 12, 2009 SEAT displayed its first electric vehicle prototype in January of this year to Spain’s Minister of Industry who recently promised one million EVs on Spanish roads by 2012. SEAT has now announced the 74.3mpg TDI powered Leon Ecomotive at the Geneva Auto Show 2009.

Twin Drive Plug in Hybrid

Based on Volkswagen Twin Drive (VW owns SEAT) plug-in hybrid technology SEAT says the Leon Ecomotive Twin Drive project is a first step towards a 100% electric car. The Leon Twin Drive comes with a 35 Kw electric motor powered by rear mounted lithium-ion batteries with an EV only range of 50 km (30 miles) and a top speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). SEAT have not released details of the combustion engine to be used but the VW Twin Drive uses a 2.0-liter turbo-diesel 90 Kw (122 HP) for a total of 125kw (170 hp) combined power output from the parallel hybrid. SEAT plan to use the vehicle as a testbed for Plug-in hybrid systems with production planned for 2014.

Ultra-Green Leon Ecomotive

At the Geneva Auto Show 2009 SEAT unveiled a 1.6 Litre TDI version of the Leon that gets 74.3 mpg (3.2l/100km) from it’s common rail turbo diesel. Lengthened gear ratios, low rolling resistance tires and optimized aerodynamics all help to reduce fuel consumption, as does a start/stop system and brake energy recovering system. The Brake regeneration feature is said to harness energy generated during the braking process to save fuel by reducing the usual drain on engine power that stems from a conventional alternator. There is no further explanation of this feature in the press release but similar systems use an intelligent alternator controller (IAC) that reduces drag on the engine by only engaging when required to charge the battery, especially when braking, whereas a traditional alternator is always taking power from the engine.

Thanks to the new systems and detailed refinements such as a DPF particulate filter the CO2 emissions have been reduced to just 99 g/km over a current Leon Ecomotive’s 119 g/km.

Paul Evans

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