After parent company Volkswagen detailed its plans to release 30 new electric and and electric-assisted models by 2025, senior representatives from Skoda have told British website Autocar that the company is working on an all-new electric vehicle (EV).
Bernhard Maier, chairman for Skoda, said: “The group is working on a modular, new electric platform and we are in the team. There is no alternative to electrification. We have to tackle it”.
Above: Skoda VisionS concept
It seems that the new Skoda EV will be its own standalone model as opposed to being based on an existing offering in the company’s line-up - likely to sport an SUV body.
Speaking to Autocar, Duncan Movassaghi, brand director for Skoda’s UK arm, said: “It’s easier to package something that was designed specifically to be an electric car”.
“Electric cars will be more expensive [than petrols and diesels] for the foreseeable future, so it makes sense to produce a more premium model like an SUV.”
Above: The 2019 Skoda Superb PHEV will be the brand's first model to feature electrification
While the new high-riding EV will be the brand’s first all-electric vehicle, it will actually be the third electrified model from the Czech car maker, after the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions of the Superb large car and upcoming Kodiaq seven-seat SUV - both due around 2019.
The Volkswagen group’s MEB platform is being specifically developed for electric vehicles, with a target range of over 480 kilometres, and a quick-charging time of just 15 minutes.
If these figures make it to the production version, the MEB component set could well eradicate the ‘range anxiety’ normally associated with EVs.
Batteries for the new platform are packaged in a flat, sandwich floor - similar to that used by the Skoda VisionS PHEV SUV concept that was revealed earlier this year.
Until now, batteries for hybrid SUVs have been packed under the boot floor, precluding the fitment of a third row of seats.
However, using this new battery packaging method in the middle of the VisionS concept’s platform, Skoda created space to fit third-row seating into the boot - something likely to carry across to the company’s new electric SUV.
Also part of Skoda’s 2025 plans is to expand its global portfolio from 102 markets to 120, and increasing the brand’s presence in China.
“We are in 102 global markets now, but we will expand that to more than 120 by the end of 2025,” said Maier.
“If we want to double our presence in China, it is simply not possible without SUVs,” he said, referring to a pair of new China-specific models that will be released in the coming years.
Above: The Skoda Kodiaq SUV is due in Australia next August, with a PHEV version to follow
With the PHEV versions of the Superb and Kodiaq due for launch in 2019, and the new electric SUV to follow the year after, it shouldn’t be long before the first electrified Skodas begin to hit Australian showrooms.
Volkswagen Australia’s managing director has already hinted that we could see PHEV and EV models in the company’s local dealerships as early as 2020, which could see Skoda’s local arm follow suit in the push to electrify the Volkswagen group’s collective line-up.
To read more on the Volkswagen 2025 electrification strategy, click here.