The Skoda Vision E concept
Skoda will launch a performance version of its upcoming electric SUV, as previewed in the Vision E concept
Following the launch of the standalone zero-emissions model late in 2020, a hot version will be added to the line-up, Skoda’s sales and marketing chief Alain Favey has confirmed.
“There will be a vRS version of our future electric car,” he said. “It will be more about styling and experience, and not necessarily performance.
Talking more broadly about the vRS performance brand, “Favey said: “Customers like the sporty experience without [the car] being a flashy sportscar. The most powerful vRS is 245bhp so it’s about the look and the sporty driving of the car.”
Currently, the only vRS model on sale is the Octavia. However, a Kodiaq vRS is launching later this year.
A Fabia vRS, a model which previously existed between 2010 and 2014, could also be introduced on the next-generation of the supermini, which won’t arrive until the next decade. Favey said he believes there is a market for a vRS variant but nothing is yet decided. “The next-generation Fabia will come after 2020 and we are working on different options. I think there is a market for a vRS.”
Last year, Autocar reported a next-generation Fabia vRS is likely to be hybrid. “For the next generation of Fabia, there could be an alternative – we could look at the opportunities a bit differently.” Asked if this meant electrification, boss Bernhard Maier replied at the time: “That would make sense, yes.”
Ahead of the arrival of a hot electric SUV, Skoda is readying for the launch of the standard model in 2020.
Before that, the Czech car maker will launch the electric Citigo-E, a sibling car for the Volkswagen E-Up and Seat e-Mii. However, Favey said the Citigo-E was largely to gain experience in electric cars, to make sure dealers and repairers are ready. “The real first step [into electric cars] will be with the [standalone SUV].
The car, based on the Vision E concept shown at last year’s Shanghai motor show, will use the Volkswagen Group’s electric-only MEB platform which is being used across all the company brands.
Favey described the production version of the Vision E as ‘”very attractive” and said that the car should “not scare current Skoda owners but also appeal to people that aren’t Skoda owners”. The Vision E “gives a very good idea of what the WV will look like,” he added.
Inside, the car will adopt the floating screen seen in the Vision X concept earlier this year. While the Vision X will make production next year as the smallest SUV in Skoda’s line-up, the floating screen will be saved for Skoda’s electric models starting with the SUV, explained Favey.
While Volkswagen is understood to be offering a number of battery capacities with different mile ranges, Favey said the electric SUV, which sits between the Karoq and Kodiaq in size, will only offer one battery which will be capable of at least 300 miles of range. “If it doesn’t have 300 miles, it shouldn’t come to market”.
Favey said that the model would be a higher price than Skoda’s standard range. “Electric cars will always be a bit more pricey than normal vehicles with diesel or petrol engines so we need to attract people that have buying power to buy cars that aren’t the cheapest in the market. We want to speak to a customer base that have the buying power of a Kodiaq, for example, that will be tempted by EVs.”
Pricing will be comparable to a mid to upper-range Kodiaq, he said, so we can expect the EV to cost from £28,000.
The electric model will arrive later than many rivals, including its Volkswagen counterparts, which launch its electric ID hatchback late next year. However, Favey said having two years to prepare is a good thing. “Infrastructure is not at the level it needs to be. It’s good we have two more years to see infrastructure put in place. The retail network has to play a role in charging facilities.”