First Drive: Skoda Vision E concept
Skoda is a brand that’s clearly going places, but one area where it lags behind the competition is in the EV marketplace. It doesn’t even have a mild hybrid or a plug-in model to fall back on as yet, although in 2019, the Superb will ‘go PHEV’ in order to give Skoda buyers an economical alternative to diesel.
However, the striking Vision E concept car – debuted in Shanghai early in 2017 and due to make its European entrance at the forthcoming Frankfurt Motor Show – is Skoda’s clear signal of intent to start making pure EVs – and lots of them at that.
Between 2020 and 2025, the company wants to unleash no fewer than five EVs, and the Vision E is said to preview a model which will reach showrooms in three years’ time. It’s a coupe-SUV-crossover promising acres of interior space thanks to the use of the new modular EV-optimised ‘MEB’ platform from the Volkswagen Group, high-end connectivity and infotainment, and a scintillating drive.
This latter facet is said to come about because of the inherent properties of EV power delivery, in which the car takes off very quickly with instant torque, allied to optimised weight distribution. These are characteristics that Tesla, in particular, has used to its enormous benefit and now Skoda wants a slice of the action.
With no explicit details on battery capacity or charging time, Skoda says the four-wheel-drive (it has two electric motors, one on the front axle and one on the rear) Vision E is capable of 312 miles on a charge, while simultaneously delivering 0-62mph in around six seconds and a limited 112mph maximum speed. Thank a total output of 302bhp for those impressive performance numbers. Interestingly, a presentation on these five future EVs revealed some of Skoda’s electric cars will be rear-wheel drive, a layout not seen in the company since the notorious Rapid of the 1980s.
Having had a brief drive in the priceless concept, it would appear Skoda’s ability to call on the wider Volkswagen Group’s EV know-how is going to reap dividends. The Vision E operates as smoothly and as easily as any production-ready EV, with good throttle response and plenty of punch courtesy of the potent twin motors and four-wheel traction. The ride and noise suppression also seemed to be there or thereabouts, although we must add the caveat that we only drove the Vision E indoors for a short period of time – and its concept car-status means we couldn’t gauge much about the steering at this stage, the Skoda having a huge turning circle and a slow set-up.
What We Think:
Skoda’s previous two concept cars, the Vision C and Vision S, both went on largely unchanged to become the Superb and Kodiaq, so the Vision E is said to be ‘80%’ the finished article that we’ll see in 2020. It’ll have a less dramatic interior and exterior styling toned down from some of this concept car’s show stand excesses, but in essence here is a family-friendly coupe SUV that’s fully zero emissions, with a decent range and powerful performance on offer. If Skoda prices it right, then we could be looking at an EV revolution coming out of the Czech Republic.
Type: Battery-electric vehicle
Electric range: 312 miles
CO2 emissions (tailpipe): 0g/km
Charging port: Type 2 AC/CCS DC
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