While many of the new automotive offerings at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show were centered around hybrid technology, Seat’s approach for its concept was electric-only, seen in the IBE concept. The Spanish company believes that its show car offers an insight into further styling developments and promises it will be entertaining to drive.
The Spanish division of Volkswagen believes that IBE is a perfect city car, with generous seating for four adults, and with many innovations added for the target youth market. The 2+2 layout vehicle has a high roofline, ensuring good headroom, while also allowing a large trunk. Despite the 3.78 x 1.8 x 1.22 m (12.4 x 5.9 x 4.0 ft) dimensions, IBE has a mass of just 1000 kg (2200 lb).
“The IBE is like a concentrated gene pool for our next generation of vehicles,” said Luc Donckerwolke, Chief Designer at Seat. "It also represents a promise for the future of the automobile that, even with electric drive, design will be exciting and driving will be fun.”
“The IBE is a zero-emissions vehicle, which is becoming increasingly important in many areas, and it has also been optimized for future information systems," said Frank Bekemeier, Executive Vice President for R&D at Seat.
The car’s drive motor, as well as all the power electronics, are situated under the hood of the vehicle, with the lithium-ion battery situated in the rear. The powertrain achieves a total power output of 76 kW and 200 N·m (148 lb·ft). Zero to 50 km/h (31 mph) is covered in 3.4 s, zero to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 9.4 s.
IBE is equipped with an 18-kW·h battery pack, which gives it a theoretical maximum range of 130 km (70 mi). Seat engineers believe this is more than the average driver would cover in a day and, therefore, decided to discount the idea of a plug-in hybrid vehicle, which could offer more performance but require charging either at a charging station or through a household mains socket. Further green credentials are gained from the car’s low-rolling-resistance tires that sit on 19-in wheels.
The IBE concept has been equipped with the latest car-to-car and car-to-infrastructure communications technology available within the Volkswagen Group, allowing the overall safety level of the vehicle to be improved over what is currently available.
Away from the powertrain, the exterior design of the IBE has been influenced by the electric power. Two air intakes on the lower bumper were designed to allow for the cooling requirements of the electric drive, and because the compact electric motor and power electronics require less space than a conventional internal-combustion engine, the car’s front end has been optimized. The V-shaped hood has been stretched further and is a lot flatter than normally possible, giving extra benefits to aerodynamic performance of the car.