Skoda plans electric revolution for 2020

Self-driving Vision E concept promises 500km in a single charge

 

To prove the point that Skoda is a fully-fledged mainstream brand – and not just the discount range from Volkswagen Group, the Czechs are preparing an all-electric SUV coupe with a 500km range and robotic driving.

The Vision E is Skoda’s working on the Volkswagen Group’s MEB electric car architecture, which has already been seen in the ID concept hatch and ID Buzz microbus. It’s a 4.6-m long (pretty big, then) five-seat SUV coupe – ostensibly a chop-top version of the Kodiaq, and there will probably be a conventionally-engined version too as Skoda is keen to capitalise on the segment-busting appeal of the Kodiaq.

Underneath, it has twin electric motors generating a combined 225kW or 305hp, driving all four wheels. Skoda says the car has a relatively low top speed of 180kmh, but acceleration should be deeply impressive with that much power on board. The claimed one-charge range is 500km, but Skoda hasn’t given any notional charging times yet, although the VW Group is part of a pan-European agreement to develop ultra-fast 350kW charging points that could potentially top up batteries such as this in less than 10 minutes.

Autonomous driving

The Vision E also represents a major move for Skoda because it is the first time the Czech company has really talked about autonomous driving. The Vision E is designed to be “Level 3” autonomous, which means it can deal with traffic jams, go into autopilot on the motorway, swerve around obstacles and find a parking space for itself. That’s impressive tech for a car which is supposed to go on sale in just three years’ time. The Czechs currently estimate that as many as 15 per cent of all cars sold could have total autonomous driving capability by 2030.

In the meantime, Skoda will begin gently introducing electric cars into its mainstream lineup, with a plugin hybrid versions of the Superb arriving in 2019, and similar versions of the Octavia and Kodiaq to follow. The Vision E will be joined in the range by four other pure-electric models, as Skoda has said that it wants to have five fully-electric vehicles on sale by 2025.