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Skoda will go electric in 2019

Skoda CEO confirms “SUV offensive”, plug-in hybrid for 2019 and a pure-EV following that

Even a value-driven brand like Skoda can’t avoid the inevitability of electrification. CEO Bernhard Maier has confirmed that the first plug-in hybrid Skodas will arrive in three years time (a Superb for western markets, but an Octavia and Kodiaq for China), followed closely by a pure-electric vehicle based heavily on the VW I.D. concept revealed on the adjacent Paris show stand.

“We have decided the first plug-in vehicle will be on the market from 2019 onwards, and first battery electric vehicle will then follow quite shortly afterwards,” Maier told us. “We must focus on our SUV offensive, and then we have to focus on electrification.”

Oh yes, between now and 2019 there will be no idle hands at Skoda. The seven-seat Kodiaq, making its world debut in Paris, is just the beginning of an SUV bonanza. About a year from now a more conventional-looking replacement for the Yeti will be launched (think less boxy, shrunken Kodiaq), followed by a smaller Nissan Juke rival and a coupe version of the Kodiaq (China-only, boo) in 2018.

But, it’s with its pure-electric car, in 2020, where Skoda really starts a new chapter. “We need some technological jumps to cope with the biggest challenges we face for our EV. The first is range, the second is charging infrastructure, the third is weight and overall it is cost,” Maier explained. “In all aspects we expect improvements, and with that it will be accessible for Skoda and its customers to go down the EV route.”

Like the VW I.D. concept, Skoda’s first EV will be a unique car, separate to the existing range, and based on the new MEB platform. A comparable range to the VW of up to 373-miles on a charge is expected, and it should slot in parallel to the Octavia in the range. Like all Skodas, the focus will be on practicality, which is where an EV, without a chunky combustion engine to package, really cashes in. “With this new type of powertrain, new ideas in terms of room concepts are possible, and this opens up huge space opportunities. It’s one of our core values,” said Maier.

Autonomous Skodas are on the horizon too with “full level autonomy” on the market by 2025 according to Maier – that’s just nine years from now. So, from the butt of our jokes to a tech-led company on course to sell 1.5m cars a year by 2020. Not bad, ey?

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