Skoda's Superb will become the brand's the first plug-in hybrid as part of a facelift for the midsize model.
The Superb’s plug-in hybrid version is expected to combine parent Volkswagen Group's 1.5-liter TSI gasoline engine with an electric motor to give a power output of more than 200 hp.
An electric range of around 55 km (34 miles) should cut CO2 emissions below 50 grams per km, which would qualify the plug-in hybrid for subsidies in some European countries and help Skoda reduce its CO2 burden ahead of upcoming tougher EU CO2 reduction targets for new cars.
Other engine changes for the facelifted Superb could include the addition of Volkswagen Group's new 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine already fitted to the revised Passat that cleans emissions to the point it passes the Euro6d regulations not due until 2021.
The 148-hp diesel powerplant has two separate selective catalytic reduction converters to reduce NOx emissions. Some countries, for example the UK, reward early adopters of Euro6d with lower taxation.
The Superb plug-in hybrid will get the letters iV to differentiate it from the internal combustion engines. VW brand had a similar strategy with the previous generation of the midsize Passat plug-in hybrid, which was badged GTE.
All Skoda’s future electric and hybrid cars will have the iV suffix, CEO Bernhard Maier told Autocar magazine.
The Superb is the second-biggest selling car in Europe’s non-premium midsize segment behind the related VW Passat. The segment is declining as customers switch to SUV/crossovers.
The Superb’s European sales dropped 8 percent to 75,966 last year, figures from JATO Dynamics show.
The facelifted Superb will be unveiled during the IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, which takes place in Bratislava, Slovakia from May 10 to May 26, Skoda said in a statement. Skoda has sponsored the event since 1993 and is using the event for a product presentation for the first time.
The Superb is Skoda's largest car as measured by interior volume and length.
The current generation model has been on sale since 2015 and the revised Superb will continue in production until 2023, when it will be replaced by a new model to be built alongside the VW Passat in Skoda's Kvasiny plant in the Czech Republic.
Last year the plant built 91,487 Superbs, of which 50,912 were wagon versions, Skoda figures show.
The Superb was first launched in 2001 and is now on its third version. The car is also built in China and India, and last year Skoda produced 136,985 units in the Superb’s three production plants.