What is it?
A compact MPV isn’t the most obvious platform for a prototype EV what with its weight and the fatter face it presents to the wind, but this project is more about Seat preparing itself to offer EVs rather than providing an amp-powered Seat Altea XL Electric Ecomotive in the near future.
What’s it like?
That this car is a less than ideal carrier of an electric powertrain is confirmed by a modest 84mph top speed and its sauntering 12 second advance to 62mph. But never mind all that. The aim here is for Seat to gain real-world experience of developing, building and operating EVs, and to refine their functionality.
And it’s here that the Altea is at its most interesting, because of its many drive modes. Besides normal there’s eco, which limits its top speed to 78mph and runs the air conditioner’s compressor more leanly, and there’s also a range mode, designed to extract the last meter of motion from the battery. It cuts the compressor altogether, confines you to 71mph and prunes the Seat’s accelerative thrust between 22mph and 47mph.
You can also select ‘S’ to increase the strength of regenerative braking – handy in cities or on twisty roads – or use the paddle shift buttons on the wheel to call up finer gradations of deceleration.