SEAT is setting a clear course for electro-mobility with the unveiling at the 2010 Paris Motor Show of its latest generation SEAT IBE concept car. This week in the French capital the Spanish brand is presenting its clear vision of a super-compact sports coupé for urban mobility in the near future. The first version of the SEAT IBE was presented in Geneva earlier this year and, since then, its design, technology and interior have been further developed.
Making its debut in Paris is an interior which is incredibly spacious and versatile for a vehicle of this format, as well as an innovative concept for individualised connectivity and infotainment.
Clearly, driving fun and dynamics are at the heart of the SEAT IBE. The little sports car is low and wide, with powerful proportions and a concentrated gaze delivered by the razor-sharp lines of its LED headlamps. With its short body length of only 3.83 metres it is the ideal fit for the urban mobility of the young and young at heart. And the SEAT IBE perfectly combines its sports car character with innovative technology. The all-electric drive facilitates local zero-emissions driving fun, while the powerful motor with 75 kW (102 PS) and the low weight delivered by intelligent mixed-material construction guarantee refined performance.
Alongside the impressive technical concept, the design of the SEAT IBE also points to an exciting future. Its athletic styling and clear, precise lines indicate an evolutionary step in SEAT design DNA. Style elements with unmistakable character – reduced to the minimum but perfectly executed – demonstrate the strategic quality of SEAT design in the development of future model generations.
‘SEAT is working very hard on future electro-mobility,’ said James Muir, President of SEAT, S.A. Following the great success of our highly efficient Ecomotive models, hybrids and electric vehicles are further steps in our clear corporate strategy. And the IBE leaves no room for doubt – the future will find SEAT offering the most innovative, bold and youthful cars in their respective segments, without sacrificing anything in terms of usability.’
The SEAT IBE takes a unique approach to combining dynamic design and compact sporting character with exceptional usability. It is conceived for the urban conurbations of Europe such as Paris, London, Berlin or Barcelona. Here is where the IBE will come into its own with zero-emissions driving fun, fabulous manoeuvrability, an impressive amount of space – and, of course, a cool look courtesy of its clear and extroverted design language.
‘Zero-emissions mobility in urban areas is becoming increasingly important,’ said Frank Bekemeier, Executive Vice-President for SEAT responsible for Research and Development. SEAT is developing innovative concepts for these new challenges. The IBE is a very special combination of compactness, usability and style, which makes it unique.’
Demonstrating beyond doubt that environmentally responsible does not have to equal dull looks or lacklustre performance, the SEAT IBE is a super-compact 2+2 sports coupe with classic sports car proportions. At just 3.83 metres in length it undercuts the successful SEAT Ibiza by around 20 centimetres. Yet, at an unusually wide 1.77 metres and only 123 centimetres high, the IBE possesses the classic proportions of a sports car.
The SEAT IBE is an all-electric vehicle that generates zero local emissions and has a package layout optimized for this new technology. The drive motor is located together with the power electronics at the front of the car. Their compact dimensions facilitate the extremely flat and dynamic contour of the bonnet. The lithium-ion battery is positioned in the rear.
Thanks to an incredibly compact independent rear suspension layout, the energy storage unit fits beneath the floor of the luggage compartment. With a maximum output of 101bhp and 148lb ft of torque, the power unit delivers exactly the kind of dynamic driving fun promised by the exterior styling. The city dash from 0 to 50 km/h (31 mph) takes only 3.6 seconds; within 6.6 seconds, the IBE has reached 80 km/h (50 mph), and after only 9.7 seconds it arrives at 100 km/h (62 mph). This impressive performance is a function not only of the powerful off-the-line characteristics of the electric motor, but also the low weight of the car which tips the scales at only 1,100 kilograms. Intelligent lightweight engineering is the key, as well as the proven technological efficiency of aluminium and steel in its construction. The continuous power rating is limited to 67bhp, with the top speed pegged at 100mph – which is more than enough to cut an impressive figure even on urban motorways. Battery capacity is 18 kWh and set up for a range of around 81 miles, which is ample for the daily mobility requirements of city life.
SEAT is also using the IBE to showcase its answer to the demands of the mobile generation for connectivity and infotainment. In the Paris show car the driver can use a wireless application to connect his smart phone, such as an iPhone, to the car and conduct an on-line check of its systems, including the battery and a trip computer display. An album or a song can be selected from the smart phone and played through the car’s sound system by pressing the ‘drag to car’ option. The dash screen and the steering wheel touch controls simplify operating and navigating the integrated infotainment menus. Furthermore, all manner of assistance and navigation functions can be used via special apps, and multimedia content stored in the device can be downloaded and accessed.
‘The IBE shows SEAT’s vision for a car of the future that is as emotional as it is ecologically responsible and affordable,’ said SEAT Head of Design Luc Donckerwolke. The IBE is a concentrated version of our design DNA. Both exterior and interior are characterised by their focus on key elements, by a clear and precise architecture, by modern technology and by materials that are as high-quality as they are ecological.’
The exterior design of the car also delivers an exciting glimpse into the ongoing development of the SEAT design language. ‘The IBE is a gene pool for our next generation of vehicles,’ said Mr Donckerwolke. Many of its elements describe our design language going forward. And it demonstrates how well driving pleasure and ecology come together at SEAT. Driving will be lots of fun in the electric age, too – at least it will in a SEAT.’