Volkswagen is a dirty word around environmentalists these days. After claiming eco-friendly creds with its diesel engines, and then being caught red-handed cheating emissions tests with those same cars, VW’s reputation (and finances) are struggling.
One of the few bright spots on the horizon is the development of VW’s electric vehicle platform, which is set to start pumping out cars in 2020. That’s a long time after Tesla first made electric cars mainstream, but going off this electric SUV concept from VW subsidiary Skoda, the Germans are going to come out fighting.
The Skoda Vision E is a sleek-looking concept for an electric SUV, powered by a pair of electric motors and with a range of 300 miles. Top speed isn’t exactly impressive at 112 miles per hour, but electric cars are more about acceleration than top speed anyways.
The design is typical of the crossover, sporty-looking SUVs that are in vogue right now, although as Skoda explains, being all-electric gives some design benefits:
At 4,645 mm long, 1,917 mm wide and 1,550 mm tall, the ŠKODA VISION E has great road presence. Thanks to the long wheelbase of 2,850 mm, as well as the short overhangs at the front and rear, the designers have created an extremely spacious interior – as always with ŠKODA. In the future-oriented vehicle concept, the elevated seating position typical of SUV models and the generous space combine with a dynamic silhouette and gently sloping roof line in the style of a coupé.
Most intriguing is the level of driving autonomy Skoda is promising. It’s claiming level 3 autonomy, which means that the car can drive itself without needing the driver to pay attention, but only in certain circumstances. It would be an enhanced version of Tesla’s existing Autopilot, but without the requirement for the driver to keep his hands on the wheel.