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The Skoda Vision E SUV concept is a testament to what Skoda plans to do in the future, as far as electric cars are concerned. The concept was recently revealed at the Shanghai motor show and it is based on the Volkswagen Group's new MEB electric vehicle platform. The car is expected to go on sale in 2020.
The production version of the car, with its 304hp, is expected to go from 0-100kph in just six seconds. The concept car that was showcased has a wheelbase of 2,851mm, which is considerably longer than other Skoda models such as the Kodiaq SUV and Superb saloon. This extra length can be afforded due to the new floor-mounted battery, compact motors and drive components of the MEB electric car platform, which allowed Skoda to push the bulkhead farther forward. According to Skoda, there is seven percent more internal space and a seating position that's 25 per cent higher. The graceful ‘coupe-like’ roofline affords easy access.
As far as technology is concerned, Skoda has left no stone unturned. The Vision E concept could come equipped with advanced autonomous driving technology. These features will include autopilot functions that will navigate through city traffic and on highways without human input. It will also let the car overtake, change lanes and look for parking spots. The Czech car maker has said these actions are possible with the use of an array of cameras and a variety of sensors. The interiors have been fitted with a 12-inch touchscreen, centrally mounted and arranged in conventional ‘landscape’ format as well as screens on the back of the front seats to entertain drivers and passengers when the car is in autonomous mode.
To emphasise interior space, Skoda has designed ‘clamshell-style’ doors in which the back pair hinges rearwards to give access to the cabin unhindered by a central pillar. A favourite of concept designs, it is most likely that the production car will feature a central pillar to ensure adequate side-impact safety. The dashboard will feature new technology to allow the driver to steady his/her hand as functions are selected on the move. As with most concepts, the interior comes with an expansive windscreen and smooth, well-lit surfaces everywhere.
Coming to the most important aspect of this concept, which is the power. The Vision E SUV is the first Skoda concept powered by a battery-electric drivetrain. As mentioned earlier, the car is the beginning of an expansive Skoda plan to increase the production of hybrid and electric cars. The first electrified Skoda will be a plug-in hybrid version of the Superb launched in 2019. "By 2025, one in every four cars sold by Skoda worldwide should be a plug-in hybrid or have a purely electric drive," says the company. Two lithium-ion battery packs are being engineered for the Vision E and its VW Group platform twins – either an 80kW or a 50kW – are expected to be offered as individual models just as different engine capacities make up a car range today. These battery packs can then be combined with a choice of two motor outputs – 175kW (237hp) on the rear axle and 50kW (68hp) on the front axle.
Skoda promises 'particularly smooth and dynamic' acceleration up to the car's top speed of 180kph. Company sources say that the maximum performance combination will still offer a 500km range, although a 237hp two-wheel drive Vision E equipped with an 80kW battery is tipped to offer an even longer range.