From all angles. This is how you have to look at this concept that already captured many looks during its premiere in the last Geneva Motor Show. It comes so evolved that Seat has not hesitated to let us try it before its release. Said and done. With the expectation of driving a prototype, I visit the circuit Castillo in Barcelona. In the short runway I see a tumult of people swirling around a tiny body. There’s the IBE. It is shorter, shorter and wider than an Ibiza. Welcome greetings and the first slogan: “We only have this unit, the same one that will be exposed in the room, so, please, not a single mishap.” So be it.
Before I get behind the wheel, they tell me their characteristics. The IBE has matured a lot since Geneva, although the base remains the same: it is a 100% electric vehicle that represents how Seat sees the future of urban mobility. This philosophy is not new and Mitsubishi, for example, has already put it on sale with i-MiEV. What happens is that the proposal of Seat incorporates an important element: its aesthetics. Who said that an electric car has to have a dull body? Look at the wide wheel arches, the short overhangs, the angles of pilots and headlights, the air intakes, do you like it? If so, what I’m going to overtake now is going to do even more, because these are the lines that will inspire future models of the brand. And the first to collect this DNA will be the Lion in 2016, which will advance you, will have several bodies, not just the five-door. Jorge Díez, an exterior design specialist and project leader, continues to teach me more details. To reduce friction with asphalt, the 20-inch wheels are mounted on narrow 175-mm tires. All the lights are LED and the logos front and back are backlit.
Step inside. The dashboard is exquisitely clean. The central pillar on which the shift selectors are inserted gives a very pronounced lightness. The position at the wheel is comfortable and the brightness of the panoramic roof, bestial. Instead of the instrumentation clocks, a TFT screen provides all the necessary information. Two columns of diodes on both sides indicate the status of the batteries and the steering wheel incorporates a touchpad with which to change the information on the screen. More things: thanks to an unprecedented connectivity system in the Spanish brand, the driver can collect all the information on his phone and then analyze his driving. Shall we take action?
Soft and silent
It’s time to get going. Next to me Antonio Merino, responsible for electromobility of the department of electrical development. During the tour he explains that the most important brain of the system is the one that governs the batteries. He is in charge of optimizing the autonomy to the maximum (about 130 kilometers). In the first few meters I notice the softness, but above all, the ease with which it gains speed from stopped. Its start is forceful and the 0-50 km / h it does in 3.6 seconds. To be a concept, the feel of the steering and the pedals is very good.
Future plans are ambitious in the Spanish house. In 2016 will launch a new generation of the Lion with an aesthetic very similar to this IBE, which incidentally confirms Seat’s commitment to electro mobility.