Skoda is working on a new baby SUV that will sit at the bottom of the brand’s all-electric line-up, and our exclusive image previews how it could look
Skoda is working on an even cheaper electric model that will undercut its own ‘baby EV SUV’, Auto Express can exclusively reveal, in a bid to maintain its position as the entry point for many customers to the VW Group.
The Czech brand is already joining Volkswagen and Cupra in developing an all-electric small car, under the umbrella of ‘MEB Entry’. This VW Group project, originally revealed back in 2019, has been hit by fierce internal debates on everything from the body style to the choice of battery chemistry. Engineers have been struggling to deliver on the original promise of a car costing around 20,000 euros (£17,000), and the estimated arrival date has slipped back from the original target of 2023 to 2026.
- New Skoda Vision 7S previews future large electric SUV
Now Skoda’s new boss, Klaus Zellmer, has revealed that his team is trying to work out how to make an EV even more cheaply still, in a bid to offer a vehicle at a price range approaching that of the current Fabia supermini. It sells for as little as £12,000 in some Eastern European territories – at least £5,000 less than the planned price for the MEB Entry model.
Speaking exclusively to Auto Express ahead of the reveal of the Vision 7S concept car, Zellmer admitted that his product team and engineering division have already started the project. “We are actively looking at the possibility of Skoda being the brand within the VW Group to make exactly that offer,” he told us. “It’s in the early stages, so I can’t give away details because there are too many variables in that feasibility study. But of course, Skoda, from my point of view, has to be the brand that has the easiest access into the VW Group. And we’re tasked to find the right solution for that. We’ve talked about the A0 BEV [MEB Entry]; it has to be below that.”
Our exclusive image shows how an even more value-focused Skoda EV could look. There’s said to be little appetite within the VW Group for a Citroen Ami-style quadricycle, so the vehicle could use a slightly shorted version of the MEB Entry architecture, with an overall length of less than four metres to help cut down on material costs. A natural rival for the likes of Dacia’s Spring, the new EV would have a more limited battery capacity than Skoda’s other EVs and potentially less than 150 miles of range between charges. Despite its shortened length, it would still feature a pseudo-SUV body style and a slightly elevated driving position to help accommodate the battery in the floor.
Skoda will be investigating how to make best use of shared components, to help drive down cost, and this could lead to the vehicle featuring sensors and safety systems from further up the range – including the ‘tech deck’ grille introduced by the Vision 7S concept.
Zellmer even suggested that his team is considering whether a simplified, pared-back manufacturing process could result in a single spec of car, with the potential for Skoda to recoup revenue over the vehicle’s life through subscriptions to features. “It’s going to be difficult with the technologies involved,” he said. “They are expensive – the assistance systems, and so forth. Or perhaps function on demand, where those cars will have features built in, which increases the material costs, but we’re going to have the possibility to use profit pools after you’ve sold the car. That’s something we have to put into the equation.”
Zellmer refused to be drawn on a timeframe but the existing fourth-gen Fabia was only introduced last year. Impending tougher emissions rules notwithstanding, that could give Skoda until 2027 or even 2028 to make its numbers stack up. In the meantime, Zellmer said that the target for MEB Entry “remains 20,000 euros”, despite speculation that it has risen to 25,000 euros. “I would never try to tell you that it’s easy to make a car like this with a 20,000-euro price tag,” he said. “It’s a fight. But we have not given up. We’re not just going to add 3,000 euros to the price to give the R&D team an easier life – no!”
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