ŠKODA presents a look into the future of the company at the Auto Shanghai exhibition (19-28 April 2017): with the VISION E and an outlook on electromobility, ŠKODA is presenting its growth strategy in impressive style. VISION E is the name of the first purely electrically powered concept car in the long-established Czech brand’s history, which spans over 120 years, and bears unmistakable features of the ŠKODA design language with its futuristic design. The generous amount of space, state-of-the-art assistance systems and ŠKODA Connect services as well as numerous ‘Simply Clever’ features are typical of ŠKODA.ŠKODA is also making electromobility ‘Simply Clever’ with a long range, easy-to-use charging technology and outstanding economic efficiency. In addition to plug-in hybrid vehicles, ŠKODA will also have five fully electric cars in its range by 2025. Then, one in every four cars sold by the brand worldwide should be a plug-in hybrid or have a purely electric drive.
“With the VISION E concept car, we are presenting the future face and technology of ŠKODA in every aspect. This includes the brand’s refined design language and future-oriented technology. The ŠKODA VISION E is our company’s first purely electric vehicle that also allows for autonomous driving at level 3,” said ŠKODA CEO Bernhard Maier, adding, “With the VISION E, we have transferred features typical of ŠKODA into a fully electric vehicle: the new ŠKODA design language with a generous amount of interior space, innovative technology and the latest assistance systems as well as numerous ‘Simply Clever’ features. And we are offering all of that with a respectable range for the vehicle.”
The ŠKODA VISION E is based on Volkswagen Group’s MEB (modular electrification toolkit) and, with its two electric motors, has a power output of 225 kW. This allows the VISION E to accelerate particularly smoothly and also extremely dynamically up to its top speed of 180 km/h. Thanks to the efficient and powerful lithium-ion batteries and an intelligent brake energy recovery system, a range of up to 500 km is achieved. Furthermore, the VISION E can also drive completely autonomously and reaches level 3.
The design of the VISION E
The ŠKODA VISION E is 4,688 mm long, 1,924 mm wide and has a height of 1,591 mm. Due to the long wheelbase – 2,851 mm – and the short front and rear overhangs, a very generous and comfortable interior has been created in typical ŠKODA style. The future-oriented car combines an SUV-style raised seating position and a hatchback’s generous amount of space with a dynamic silhouette and a gently sloping roofline in the style of a coupé.
“Over the last few years, with our ŠKODA design language, we have produced several sensational concept cars that point the way to the brand’s future,” said Karl Neuhold, Head of Exterior Design at ŠKODA. “The new ŠKODA VISION E is now presenting the next step towards a future-oriented design.”
The modern ŠKODA design wows with harmonious proportions, neatly moulded surfaces, precise lines and clean-cut edges. Equally characteristic are the powerful contours, which set the stage for a sensational interplay between light and shade that conveys dynamism and emotiveness. With their 3D design, the crystalline structures of the headlights, tail lights and other features dominate the sophisticated character that is defined by modern technology and a particular degree of refinement. The design is an expression of the timeless elegance and modern functionality that is typical of ŠKODA cars.
ŠKODA’s brand-typical design language has continually developed in recent years. The concept studies have introduced the anticipated new details: in 2011 with the ŠKODA VISION D and subsequently the ŠKODA VISION C (2014) and ŠKODA VISION S (2016). This continuous development is also reflected in the latest new models and has now been elevated to a new level with the ŠKODA VISION E.
The front section of the ŠKODA VISION E is characterised by the strikingly shaped bonnet. Below the bonnet, a wide LED lighting strip runs across the vehicle’s entire width and flows into slim, triangular headlights at both ends. All lighting units at the front and sides are in white. As with other electrically powered cars, there is no classic radiator grille. Instead, below the wide lighting strip, the bonnet extends to the lower air intakes.
The ŠKODA VISION E’s headlights feature Matrix LED technology that ensures comprehensive road illumination which is adapted to the individual driving situation. The highly efficient LED headlights produce a dipped and high beam which is directed precisely and evenly onto the space in front of the car. The lighting control is connected to a front camera to analyse the individual traffic situation. The data that this records allows for precise definition of the light distribution at all times.
Another, slim LED lighting strip runs below the air intakes and extends across the entire vehicle width. Below this sits the front spoiler, completing the front section. The combination of classic ŠKODA design details and new features lends the ŠKODA VISION E an extremely compact, robust and dynamic appearance.
The side view is characterised by the sharp incline of the windscreen, and the roofline, which begins to gently slope towards the rear at an early stage. This design accentuates the coupéstyle appearance. There is neither a classic B-pillar nor are there the typical wing mirrors. The rearhinged rear doors, which are operated electrically, make getting in and out of the car extremely comfortable. The tailgate is also electric. There are no wing mirrors but rather cameras that transfer what is happening around the vehicle onto interior displays. This solution improves the vehicle’s aerodynamics and the functions previously associated with the wing mirrors (e.g. recognition of vehicles).
The bold tornado line, which rises towards the rear, runs from the headlights to the tail lights and creates an exciting interplay of light and shade on the body’s surfaces. Below the tornado line, a further LED lighting strip runs through the vehicle’s front half. It is tapered towards the body’s centre and therefore underlines the wedge shape, as well as giving the side view additional contour.
The shape of the lower side sills is rugged and bold. On the wings, there are large air vents at the level of the A-pillar. Large wheels and alloy rims in a futuristic design underline the concept car’s character. The unmistakably long wheelbase hints at the generously sized interior.
The rear section also combines sculptural design and crystalline shapes. At the bottom end of the large and sharply inclined rear window, the tornado lines seamlessly flow into a flush tailgate spoiler. The triangular tail lights with their multifaceted glass are wider towards the outer edge and extend far into the rear side section. Shining in white, the ŠKODA brand logo sits centrally between the tail lights.
With the ŠKODA VISION E, all of the tail light functions feature advanced LED technology. The LED light sources are particularly energy efficient and produce a high contrast effect. This leads to particularly harmonious and expressive signalling of all relevant lighting functions.
There is a further strongly contoured line below the lighting units which takes up and continues a corresponding line on the side. The strong moulding of the line and the tailgate spoiler create a concave surface area which incorporates the tail lights and the brand logo which shines in white. A further LED lighting strip runs below the rear line and a black apron rounds off the rear section’s bottom part. As with all fully electrically powered vehicles, there is neither an exhaust system nor tailpipes.
The distinct horizontal lines and the dynamic wedge shape give the ŠKODA VISION E a particularly sporty appearance, even when stationary. The combination of design elements and classic ŠKODA features makes the VISION E an attractive representative of ŠKODA’s evolved design language.
Thanks to the large glass surfaces, the interior is light and transparent. The concept of horizontal lines is continued consistently and underlines the interior’s clear-cut structure and generous amount of space. Four individual, body-contoured seats with new backrests emphasise the modernity of the vehicle.
The seats are slightly raised, thereby providing great visual clarity. In addition, the seats can be rotated by up to 20 degrees. They turn towards the outside when the doors are opened, which makes getting in easier. After closing the door, they return to their initial position – a new ‘Simply Clever’ feature that provides additional comfort through ergonomically optimised design and mechanics. Due to the concept, there is no need for a transmission tunnel in the front or rear, which creates a generous feeling of spaciousness.
Besides the cockpit screen for the display of conventional vehicle data, there are further displays for the occupants. The central touchscreen sits in the middle of the dashboard, so that the driver and front passenger can operate and read all of the important functions and services.
In addition, there are individual displays for the front and rear passengers to allow for the operation of numerous comfort functions such as information and entertainment. The front passenger display is integrated into the dashboard whilst the displays for the rear passengers are in the backrests of the front seats. Furthermore, the front and rear passengers can control their individual entertainment program using their own touch displays. The front passenger’s control unit is incorporated into the right armrest; the rear passengers’ control unit is located between the two rear seats.
A Phonebox is built into the inside of each door, allowing inductive charging of the occupants’ smartphones. The smartphone’s personal settings, data and information can be accessed via the individual displays. Ambient lighting is integrated into the doors’ decorative strips and below the dashboard. It can be set to one of ten colours and can therefore be adjusted to the individual mood.
As soon as the vehicle drives autonomously, you can slide the front seats back and enjoy guaranteed maximum relaxation. At the same time, the steering wheel is raised, which means the largest possible amount of space and a corresponding degree of comfort.
The ŠKODA VISION E is a fully electrically driven concept car based on the Group’s MEB (modular electrification toolkit). Thanks to its power output of 225 kW, the ŠKODA VISION E accelerates instantly and extremely dynamically. The characteristics typical of electric motors include maximum torque available from a standing start. The concept car achieves the highest level of dynamism ever experienced in a ŠKODA. Its top speed is 180 km/h. The powerful lithium-ion batteries and intelligent brake energy recovery enable a range of up to 500 km.
Due to intelligent management, the two electric motors work together with maximum efficiency and permanently drive all four wheels of the ŠKODA VISION E. Front and rear wheels are driven as required to ensure maximum levels of stability, safety and dynamism at all times.
The liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery is particularly powerful and is housed in the crash protection area deep in the chassis floor and located centrally between the front and rear axles. This positioning of the slimline high voltage storage unit also contributes to the favourable weight distribution between the front and rear axle as well as to the ŠKODA VISION E’s low centre of gravity.
Intelligent charging is one of the numerous ‘Simply Clever’ features. It is done inductively, for example via a floor panel in the owner’s garage. Here, the vehicle is brought to a stop with the front axle above the floor panel/pad. This charging pad is connected to the power grid. Overnight, it completely charges the vehicle’s batteries automatically using induction technology, i.e. the operation is completely contactless and does not require a charging station or cable reel. Quick charging is also possible – 80 per cent of battery capacity in only 30 minutes.
With the VISION E, ŠKODA not only provides an outlook on the fully electric and thereby locally emission-free future of mobility but also on the forms of automated and autonomous driving which can be realised very soon. “The ŠKODA VISION E concept car achieves the requirements for level 3 of autonomous driving. It can operate independently in traffic jams, complete motorway journeys using autopilot, stay in lane or take evasive actions, overtake other vehicles, independently look for free parking spaces and drive in and out of parking spaces autonomously,” says Christian Strube, ŠKODA Board Member for Technical Development. The VISION E concept car achieves the requirements for level 3 of autonomous driving. It can operate independently in traffic jams, complete motorway journeys using autopilot, stay in lane or take evasive actions, overtake other vehicles, independently look for free parking spaces and drive in and out of parking spaces autonomously. All of this is aided by various sensors with different ranges and numerous cameras that monitor the traffic situation.
Driver assistance systems
The ŠKODA VISION E is equipped with numerous assistance systems which increase safety and comfort, and are already available for many of the current ŠKODA models today. Furthermore, several additional innovative systems can be found on board the ŠKODA VISION E. These include Traffic Jam Assist, which automatically accelerates or brakes, the autopilot for motorway driving, which steers, accelerates and brakes independently (provided that the motorway fulfils the conditions for autonomous driving), the car park autopilot, which automatically searches for and guides the car to free parking spaces, and the Educated Parking function, which memorises and finds the driver’s preferred parking locations.
The Educated Parking system is important particularly in regard to the inductive charging of the high-voltage battery. The system’s distinctive feature is its ability to learn. The driver just has to complete a full parking manoeuvre twice in order to gather all of the information required for it to work. Subsequently, the system is able to independently find the exact parking location that is ideal for inductive charging and guide the car to it.
The ŠKODA VISION E features various laser and radar scanners around the vehicle for long, medium and short distances which can detect vehicles or obstacles on the relevant route and in the vehicle’s surroundings.
Display and operating concept
The ŠKODA VISION E’s display and operating concept comprises new systems that optimise comfort and safety while driving. The innovative digital Human Machine Interface (HMI) system guarantees maximal flexibility when controlling numerous functions in the car. The infotainment, communication and navigation functions can be activated and controlled both with the help of a central control unit on the centre console and via the individual touchscreens.
In addition to this, the ŠKODA VISION E also features gesture control for selected functions. Defined hand movements performed by the driver in the area around the centre console are picked up and identified by a camera. This allows standardised instructions, such as adjusting the audio system’s volume or answering phone calls, to be given with simple hand and finger gestures, without the driver having to take their eyes off the road.
Other new features available in the concept car include the Eye Tracking function which constantly monitors the driver’s eye movements. The camera-based system is able to always display the information required by the driver at the right time and in a perfectly ergonomic position on one of the screens in the interior. The Eye Tracking function can also be used to analyse how alert the driver is. When the driver’s concentration is waning, Driver Alert fatigue detection is activated and prompts the driver to take a break. Another system that optimises safety and that is being introduced in the ŠKODA VISION E is the heart rate monitor, which constantly monitors the driver’s heart rate and warns them if it is at a dangerous level. Should a medical problem arise, the ŠKODA VISION E can use its automatic driving functions to steer the car onto the hard shoulder without the driver’s help and bring the car to a stop. In the event of an emergency (e.g. a heart attack), the system can call the emergency services.
Infotainment and ŠKODA Connect
Comprehensive connectivity between the car, driver and passengers provides an extremely comfortable and safe journey. All of the connectivity features available offer improved access to information, a wide range of entertainment and an even higher level of safety. The ŠKODA VISION E is equipped with the latest infotainment systems. All of the capacitive touchscreens come in a ŠKODA-typical glass design. Thanks to a superfast LTE module and the most cutting-edge navigation system that comes with a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, which connects all of the occupants’ mobile devices, the occupants of the ŠKODA VISION E are ‘always online’.
The range of infotainment features is complemented by the ŠKODA mobile online services, which provide navigation, information, entertainment and assistance. Via the ŠKODA Connect portal, the customer can even configure services from their home computer as well as transfer destinations, routes and points of interest to the car.
The Care Connect services support the ŠKODA VISION E’s occupants in many situations. The data is transferred via a SIM card that is installed in the vehicle. Numerous online services can be run via the ŠKODA Connect app on a smartphone.
Electromobility, ŠKODA style
ŠKODA will make electromobility a permanent feature of everyday life. To this end, vehicles are being developed with plug-in hybrid drives as well as cars which are purely electrically powered. These will impress with qualities that are typical of the brand: “A long range, easy-to-operate recharging technology and outstanding economic efficiency make electromobility ‘Simply Clever’ – in typical ŠKODA style,” says Bernhard Maier, CEO of ŠKODA. Electromobility plays a crucial role in the company’s global growth strategy. In addition to plug-in hybrid vehicles, ŠKODA will also have five fully electric cars in its portfolio by 2025. From that point onwards, one in every four cars sold by ŠKODA worldwide should be a plug-in hybrid or have an entirely electric drive. The fully electric vehicles will cover different segments and thus appeal to a wide range of target groups for ŠKODA’s take on purely electric mobility.
ŠKODA is particularly expert at developing vehicles which stand out due to their suitability for daily use, versatility, uncomplicated functionality, adaptability and excellent value for money. These characteristics also play a decisive role in the innovative concepts for the mobility of the future. Electromobility in the typical style of ŠKODA allows for locally emission-free driving with the highest degree of reliability, suitability for daily use and economic efficiency. ŠKODA models with plug-in hybrid as well as purely electric drives will therefore represent an attractive offering for a wide range of customers in the volume segment.
Plug-in hybrid model from 2019, five purely electric vehicles by 2025
Flexibility also defines the short and medium-term development of the ŠKODA model range and its expansion to include vehicles with plug-in hybrid and entirely electric drives. “The launch of the ŠKODA SUPERB with plug-in hybrid drive is scheduled for as early as 2019. For us, this marks the beginning to the age of electrified drive systems,” says Bernhard Maier, CEO of ŠKODA. This marks ŠKODA’s entry into the age of electrified drive systems. The first model with a combined petrol engine and electric drive will enable locally emission-free driving in an urban environment and also outside of it. In subsequent years, further plug-in hybrid models will be launched in other vehicle segments too.
In parallel, ŠKODA is developing its own vehicle concepts for purely electric mobility on the basis of the Group’s MEB (modular electrification toolkit). These models will exhibit qualities that are characteristic of ŠKODA. For their development, the flexibility of the MEB is being used to the maximum extent to be able to offer vehicles, even in the context of electromobility, that feature a particularly generous amount of interior space. The range of electric vehicles and their comfortable operation are additional, highly significant driving characteristics relevant to everyday use. The ŠKODA-typical portfolio of ‘Simply Clever’ features for increased comfort and functionality will be complemented by innovative ideas conceived specifically for electromobility.
The design of the ŠKODA models with purely electric drive systems is defined by the future-oriented development of the brand’s current design language. Precise lines and clean-cut edges create strikingly clear structures on the exterior as well as in the interior that reflect the functionality and timeless aesthetics characteristic of the brand. Furthermore, distinctive accents are also created by the use of crystalline elements for numerous exterior and interior design features. With their pronounced three-dimensional design, they emphasise the high-quality and technology-oriented focus of ŠKODA’s design language.
Future prospects: electromobility, autonomous driving, digitalisation
At ŠKODA, the development of electric drive systems is closely linked to a variety of other innovations that are of crucial importance to the design of future individual mobility. Electromobility is therefore embedded in the development of fully autonomous vehicles, in the ongoing advance of digitalisation and in the propagation of innovative mobility services.
The development of ŠKODA models with purely electric drive systems is running in parallel to the implementation of further levels of automated driving in production. In the future, the driver will be able to transfer an ever-increasing number of driving responsibilities to their vehicle. The highest degree of precision in the management of acceleration, deceleration and steering, as well as the detailed capture of the vehicle’s surroundings using a large number of cameras and sensors, enable additional progress in this area. The electric vehicles developed by ŠKODA based on the MEB (modular electrification toolkit) will have the basic architecture required to integrate these functions, which will be usable in the medium and long term, into their in-car electronics.
The rate of progress in the area of digitalisation is similarly rapid. With ŠKODA Connect, customers can already make use of an extensive range of digital services. This technology has also been designed in an especially future-oriented way in conjunction with electromobility. Additional services that are specially aligned to the needs of electromobility will be available for ŠKODA plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles from the very beginning.
Another field of activity in which new perspectives are opening up in parallel to the shift towards electromobility is mobility services. The business areas which will benefit from this development include car sharing, the provision of on-demand mobility and numerous services directly linked to individual mobility requirements. In these areas too, ŠKODA has the potential to precisely identify customer requirements and fulfil them with clear, well-conceived and reliable solutions.