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First electric car and plug-in hybrid in the works for SEAT

SEAT, the Spanish car manufacturer, is working on its first electric car, the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive, and a plug-in hybrid, the Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive. The SEAT Altea XL Electric Ecomotive will be designed, developed and manufactured in Spain.

The SEAT Altea XL Electric Ecomotive will produce 115 hp (85 kW) and 270 Nm of torque. It will be limited to a top speed of 83 mph. With its roomy passenger compartment and generous boot, the electric Altea XL will be ideal for family transport or company use. This is due to a smart location of the batteries under the rear seats and the trunk, making no intrusion into the passenger compartment. As with all SEAT vehicles, the Altea XL Electric Ecomotive will be a pleasure to drive.

Other features on the car will include a sophisticated regeneration system with adjustable braking torque to optimize energy use. Also it will have a rooftop photovoltaic cells that will recirculate fresh air inside the passenger compartment. This will reduce the energy used by the climate control system.

“SEAT has its electric future assured. With the electric Altea XL we are showing just how mature our technology is.” said Dr Matthias Rabe, SEAT Executive Vice-president for R&D. “The electric Altea XL was an intentionally studied choice for the first fleet.  It will enable us to experiment with a wide variety of uses.”

The Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive, SEAT's plug-in hybrid, has a range of 32 miles per hour, with a top speed of almost 75mph using only the electric motor. In combined mode (electrical plus the gas engine) the consumption forecast is 138mpg and 18.5 kWh per 60 miles. Top speed in combined mode is 105mpg.

“The Leon TwinDrive Ecomotive is an exciting and ground-breaking solution.  Technically, it allows you to drive in all-electric mode, while at the same time enjoying smart hybrid drive.” said Dr. Rabe. “Thanks to its great range, none of our customers will need to change their lifestyle or transport habits.”

Initially SEAT will make available units of both models to government institutions in Catalonia and Madrid for use in their vehicle fleets. This will allow the Spanish automaker to assess commercial strategies for electric vehicles in the medium-term. They hope to launch the Leon plug-in hybrid car in 2015, to be followed a year later by the all-electric Altea.

“Customers demand a more sustainable form of mobility, but their needs are diverse.  Therefore, we believe that a parallel strategy of developing two different technologies will put SEAT in the best position to meet their needs.” said SEAT President James Muir.

SEAT is furthering its environmental commitment to its car manufacturing processes with several projects. One innovation SEAT has used at its Martorell production facility is the implementation of EuroEnergest, an energy consumption monitoring system enabling more efficient energy use and savings of 3,900 tons of CO2 per year.

Another equally innovative decision was the ‘SEAT in the Sun’ project, where photovoltaic cells were installed on the temporary holding areas for vehicle protection and to produce sustainable energy. This doubled energy capacity from 4 to 8 megawatts. Next year the project will be completed, and with connection of the final stage, power will go up to an amazing 10.6 megawatts. To put into an environmental context, this means that ‘SEAT in the Sun’ will reduce CO2 emissions by 6,200 tons per year.

SEAT is the number one industrial investor in R&D in Spain. The 'Cenit Verde project' a public-private-partnership between manufacturers, universities, research centers and the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation are all making strides in making the electric vehicles a reality in Spain. The introduction of the Leon and Altea reflect that auto manufacturers are recognizing the importance of electric vehicles and innovations to make green cars. Innovations from these cars will ultimately impact the Spanish economy and Spain as a whole.

Please contact Adam Yamada-Hanff – [email protected] – for comments, questions, or topics. You can also follow him on Twitter @AdamsAutoAdvice

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