Tuesday, January 27, 2009

SEAT unveils hybrid prototype

Hybrids are in vogue at the moment, particularly with the new Honda Insight in the spotlight this week, so SEAT has picked a good time to unveil its very own green petrol-electric car - the Leon Twin Drive Ecomotive.

SEAT's Twin Drive system is still in development, so the prototype unveiled at its Martorell Technical Centre in Spain is merely a glimpse of the maker's intention to up the green ante in the near future - but it means there are currently no economy or emissions figures to tell us if the Leon is a Prius-beater.

The Leon Twin Drive's electric motor is powered by lithium-ion batteries, and the car features extensive gearbox, braking, heating and cooling systems modifications.

Twin Drive works in a similar way to Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive tech - by running on electricity alone at town speeds, only using the petrol motor when more power is needed or the electric unit runs out of charge. It's a plug-in hybrid too, and it paves the way for a range of hybrid SEATs set to hit showrooms by 2014. The maker also wants to 'phase out the internal combustion engine' in future Ecomotive cars, which means it's already developing electric vehicles.

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