Coming less than a fortnight after the Volkswagen Group announced plans to launch 30 new electric vehicles across its brands before 2025, Skoda has stepped up and announced its role in the new-model onslaught.
In an interview with UK publication Autocar, Bernhard Maier, Skoda’s chairman revealed that the brand is on track to launch an SUV-style EV with a 480km range.
Underpinning the Skoda SUV will be the Volkswagen Group’s modular MEB platform, which will form the basis for all of the Group’s pure-electric vehicles going forward.
The decision to build the Skoda EV of the MEB platform, rather than adapting an existing petrol powered model comes down to ease of packaging with the MEB platform. Previewed on the Volkswagen Budd-e, it allows a sandwich floor construction, thus maximising interior space and keeping the centre of gravity low.
By utilising MEB, and keeping the batteries out of the cargo compartment, the Skoda EV will be able to feature three rows of seating, maintaining the packaging advantages of an SUV.
The decision to go with an SUV over a regular passenger car also reflects the importance of SUVs in Skoda’s line-up, particularly in markets such as China. Additionally, the higher cost of EV production will be more easily absorbed in an SUV, which can wear a slightly higher price tag.
The upcoming electric SUV won’t be the first electrified Skoda to hit the roads however, with Maier disclosing that plug-in hybrid variants of the Superb and Kodiaq are already in the pipeline, with both expected to emerge ahead of the new EV’s 2020 debut.
As it stands currently, Australia - with its lack of EV buyer incentives and underdeveloped charging infrastructure - could miss out on the new electric SUV.
However the Kodiaq may be a likely starter for this market and a plug-in version, although unconfirmed, may also be a better fit here.
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