The SEAT León Twin Drive Ecomotive is a plug-in hybrid, so its makers have designed it to run on either conventional gasoline power or electric power. SEAT is already known for its fuel efficient vehicles -- the company applies the "Ecomotive" tag not just to the León concept but also to its Ibiza and Alhambra models -- so it should be no surprise that the León Twin Drive Ecomotive performs well on the road, whether it's in the city or on the highway.
The most recent model shown houses an electric battery pack consisting of lithium-ion batteries, thought by some to be the next step in electric and hybrid car battery technology. The aim, in fact, is for the León Twin Drive Ecomotive to run solely on battery power during low-speed trips in the city. This is typical in terms of hybrid cars, since most cities usually enforce strict speed limits and drivers are rarely able to exceed low speeds, especially when there's traffic.
Trips that span longer distances and require higher speeds, on the other hand, would call on the gasoline engine for greater acceleration and better range. Still, SEAT has self-imposed a 62.1-mile per hour (100-kilometer per hour) speed limit on the León Twin Drive Ecomotive -- most likely to emphasize efficiency over the need for speed.
Although it's not a fully electric car, the SEAT León Twin Drive Ecomotive represents a step toward all-electric production, and officials and engineers hope to use the new plug-in hybrid model as a chance to study better methods of electric propulsion and battery charging. In the near future, SEAT may be phasing out conventional gasoline engines completely, and when they do, they'll need to be ready for all-electric production. SEAT expects the León Twin Drive Ecomotive to be ready for production by 2014.
For lots more information about emerging hybrid and electric car technology, follow the links below.
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- AutomobilesReview.com. "SEAT presents the León 'Twin Drive Ecomotive' project in Madrid." Feb. 16, 2009. (June 15, 2009) http://www.automobilesreview.com/auto-news/seat-leon-twin-drive-ecomotive-in-madrid/9777/
- Broder, John M. "Obama to Toughen Rules on Emissions and Mileage." The New York Times. May 18, 2009. (June 23, 2009) http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/business/19emissions.html
- Evans, Paul. "SEAT's green vision: León Ecomotive and Twin Drive concepts." GizMag.com. March 11, 2009. (June 15, 2009) http://www.gizmag.com/seat-leon-ecomotive-concept/11192/
- Lienert, Anita. "Electrifying SEAT León Twin Drive Ecomotive Makes Debut." Edmonds.com. Jan. 26, 2009. (June 15, 2009) http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=140546
- Navarro, Xavier. "SEAT introduces León Twin Drive Ecomotive hybrid concept." AutoBlog.com. Jan. 13, 2009. (June 15, 2009) http://www.autobloggreen.com/2009/01/13/seat-introduces-leon-twin-drive-ecomotive-hybrid-concept/