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SEAT unveils plug-in hybrid Leon prototype

It marks the end of four years and a €34m (£29m) investment, aimed at informing the introduction of electric vehicles in the country. Participants included included 800 professionals from 16 private companies and 14 public bodies, headed up by the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell with the support of Spain’s Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness.

The Leon Verde, as the prototype is known, uses a 120bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and 101bhp electric motor to offer a combined 168bhp. A full battery charge offers a 31-mile electric range, totalling 507 miles with its 40-litre fuel tank filled, while NEDC figures show a combined 176.6mpg and 36g/km CO2 emissions.

Among its innovations, the car can be controlled remotely via a smartphone, is capable of feeding electricity back into the grid and features SEAT-patented software which memorises driver behaviour and daily routines to optimise energy consumption.

Working with utility companies including Cobra, Endesal, Iberdrola and Red Electrica Espana, Cenit Verde has also resulted in a new charging system which only tops up the battery when grid demand is low, allowing the driver to take advantage of lower energy costs.

SEAT has already conducted short-term trials electric vehicle fleet – made up of plug-in hybrid Leons and battery-electric Alteas – with participants including the Community of Madrid’s Department of the Environment and Land Planning, the Port of BarcelonaBarcelona City Hall, the Catalan Energy Institute and utility company Endesa. This is expected to inform a production model due to launch in 2015.

Alex Grant

Trained on Cardiff University’s renowned Postgraduate Diploma in Motor Magazine Journalism, Alex is an award-winning motoring journalist with ten years’ experience across B2B and consumer titles. A life-long car enthusiast with a fascination for new technology and future drivetrains, he joined Fleet World in April 2011, contributing across the magazine and website portfolio and editing the EV Fleet World Website.

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