SKODA presents a look into the future of the company at the Auto Shanghai 2017 with the VISION E all-electric SUV.
The SKODA 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 (112 mph). Thanks to the efficient and powerful lithium-ion batteries and an intelligent brake energy recovery system, a range of up to 500 km (310 miles) is achieved. Furthermore, the VISION E can also drive completely autonomously and reaches level 3.
The SKODA 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 SKODA 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.
SKODA’s brand-typical design language has continually developed in recent years. The concept studies have introduced the anticipated new details: in 2011 with the SKODA VISION D and subsequently the SKODA VISION C (2014) and SKODA 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 SKODA VISION E.
The front section of the SKODA 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 SKODA 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.
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.
The SKODA 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 SKODA 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 SKODA. Its top speed is 180 km/h (112 mph). The powerful lithium-ion batteries and intelligent brake energy recovery enable a range of up to 500 km (310 miles).
Due to intelligent management, the two electric motors work together with maximum efficiency and permanently drive all four wheels of the SKODA 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 SKODA 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, SKODA 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 SKODA 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, SKODA 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.
Display and operating concept
The SKODA 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 SKODA 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 SKODA 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 SKODA 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.
Electromobility, SKODA style
Electromobility plays a crucial role in the company’s global growth strategy. In addition to plug-in hybrid vehicles, SKODA will also have five fully electric cars in its portfolio by 2025. From that point onwards, one in every four cars sold by SKODA 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 SKODA’s take on purely electric mobility.
Plug-in hybrid model from 2019, five purely electric vehicles by 2025
Flexibility also defines the short and medium-term development of the SKODA model range and its expansion to include vehicles with plug-in hybrid and entirely electric drives. This marks SKODA’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, SKODA 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 SKODA. 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 SKODA-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 SKODA 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 SKODA’s design language.