Skoda has taken the covers off its new, all-electric SUV, the Vision E at this year’s Shanghai motor show. Although just a concept car, for now, the Vision E gives us a hint as to what’s to come from the Czech manufacturer in the future in terms of design and technology.
Without the need to cool a hot and oily internal combustion engine, the Vision E does without a front grille. Instead, it has two wide LED strips that extend the entire width of the car. The car’s two triangular headlights are integrated into an upper light strip that sits just below the bonnet line, while a lower panel of LED lights is placed in the front bumper.
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Despite the SUV’s coupe-like silhouette, Skoda has stayed true to its brand values and made sure the Vision E is eminently practical. The concept has no B-pillars, so its conventionally opening front doors and suicide rear doors make for a wide and practical openings through which the four passengers can access the inside of the car. Slightly elevated seats increase the view out, they also rotate 20 degrees towards the outside of the car on entrance and exit – making it easier to get into and out of.
Skoda had previously released two sketches of the Vision E’s interior. These drawings show an interior unlike anything we've seen from Skoda before, with only the corporate steering wheel giving any indication that it's related to any other model in the marque’s range. The clean, uncluttered dashboard is interrupted only by a wide-aspect touchscreen infotainment system. The minimal design makes it easy to maintain the horizontal lines of the Vision E’s exterior throughout the inside of the car, too.
Elsewhere in the car, each passenger has their own screen via which they can control entertainment and comfort settings. The Vision E also has a 'phone box' in each armrest through which phones can be wirelessly charged and the contents accessed through the passenger displays.
The brand has flourished in recent years on the back of strong core models like the Octavia and impressive new models like the Kodiaq SUV. Future plans, demonstrated by this new bespoke electric SUV crossover, involve the widespread electrification of future models. The sleek fastback SUV will borrow parent company Volkswagen’s electrified MEB platform, Skoda will utilise tech developed by VW for its range of I.D electric vehicles. With this platform and technology being developed, a full production version of the Vision E should be ready by 2020.
The concept is powered by two electric motors producing a combined power output of 302bhp. Power is then delivered to all four wheels, although the proportion sent to each axle is variable to maximize its agility and safety.
As well as charging via a cable, the Vision E is capable of charging up inductively via a pad that sits beneath its front axle when parked. Once full charged the car’s two motors give it a range of up to 310 miles.
On top of the styling and engineering insights, the Vision E has been developed with autonomous capabilities. The car is able to drive automatically in in traffic and on the motorway. It’s also able to search for free parking spaces, once it’s found a suitable space it guides itself there and then parks on its own too.
Far from just resting on selling affordable and conservative models, Skoda wants to use its momentum to push forward using all the research and development power that the VW Group has at its disposal.