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Skoda is joining the EV party
New Vision iV concept previews Skoda’s first MEB-based car due in 2020
Unless you’ve been living under a wireless charging pad for the last year, EVs are big business right now. Following in the wake of VW Group siblings Audi and VW, Skoda will be joining the electric party in 2020 with this, the Vision iV. Well, something like this, as it’s still a concept for the time being.
What is the Vision iV? A bright yellow four-door crossover coupe that’s been basted with a tick list of 2019’s must-haves: an electric drivetrain, front and rear full-width light bars, vegan interiors, autonomous functionality, plus voice and gesture control.
Although the silhouette is familiar to other oxymoronic four-door crossover coupes – BMW X4, Mercedes GLC etc – being powered by two electric motors (one on the front axle and one on the rear axle) and a stack of batteries, the designers have been able to accentuate the proportions as there’s no need for an internal combustion engine up front. It’s 4,665mm long, 1,926mm wide and 1,613mm tall, but its wheelbase is the measurement that’s worth getting your tape measure out for. We’ll save you the hassle, it’s 2,765 mm. Why is it important? Wheelbase is the key as it’s where the flat ‘skateboard’ battery frame sits. More wheelbase, more battery – an 83-kWh lithium-ion battery good for up to 500 km in the WLTP cycle and when powering the combined output of 225 kW is good for 0-62mph in 5.9 seconds.
See, the Vision iV borrows VW Group’s new dedicated electric platform, MEB. This simply shaped modular battery platform offers the possibility of RWD or AWD, plus variable wheelbase and width. It’s adaptable and, crucially, cheap to make so VW brands will be sprouting plenty of EVs out with it over the next few years.
Sitting with a powerful stance and strong lines, Skoda’s designers have emphasised its face thanks to a newly-designed front grille. Like a Venetian blind that got up on the wrong side of the bed, it’s angry and slatty but also makes the Vision iV cut a more premium shape. Having the high-riding stature of an SUV but the sleekness of a sporty coupe, there’s a lot going on but there are those aero-optimised 22-inch wheels (with illuminated Skoda lettering) to distract you. Like the Hyundai Nexo, there’s a striking full-width front lightbar up front, flush door handles and cameras instead of wing mirrors (to improve aero) on the side and another full-width lightbar at the back.
Not having to deal with the traditional internal combustion engine packaging and the faff of a transmission tunnel, the inside has been designed to maximise space. There’s a new squircle steering wheel that probably won’t make production, plus a cascade of screens including a large, central floating display. But, given it’s been coded to drive itself thanks to an array of laser scanners, radar sensors and cameras, the interior is a place to lounge and relax in a garden of plant-based materials, vegan vinyl fibres and bio-degradable wool while you shout at a digital pixie in the dash to change the radio station and turn up the heater. Yes, this is the future of motoring people.
As you may have noticed, there’s currently a land grab by every major manufacturer to secure some of the highly-lucrative electric market. Tesla got the ball rolling, but now the big boys like BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Jaguar are all releasing its take on the future of transport. This concept shows that Skoda is playing catch-up and dedicating itself to an electric future. And it’s being serious.
Later this year, it’ll softly enter the market with a plug-in hybrid Superb, before going fully-electric with an electrified Citigo. But it’s also throwing around two billion euros at alternative drivetrains to launch this, its first production model based on the VW Group’s MEB platform, in 2020. The hope is to then launch ten electric vehicles by the end of 2022.