MLADA BOLESLAV, Czech Republic -- Skoda plans to build three electric cars based on the Volkswagen Group's MEB platform in the Czech Republic within the next four years, including a small, affordable model.
Skoda's flagship MEB electric car will be based on the Vision IV coupe crossover concept revealed at the Geneva auto show earlier this month.
It will be joined by a second car based on the same concept, Skoda CEO Bernhard Maier told journalists at the brand’s annual results conference here on Wednesday. The second vehicle is expected to be a more conventional SUV and will be built at Skoda's Mlada Boleslav plant alongside the flagship model, which starts production in the second half of 2020 ahead of its market launch in early 2021. Both vehicles will be built on the same line as the Skoda Octavia compact car.
"That gives us a lot of flexibility. We can scale and adjust to some extent if customer demand changes," Maier said.
A third, more affordable electric car will be built at Skoda's Kvasiny plant and will form part of a new "MEB entry family" of cars announced by the VW Group at its annual press conference earlier this month. The model is still in the planning stage, Maier told journalists. "We are looking for a lower specced car and once we have a positive business case we will come up with a clear solution," the CEO said.
Cars in the MEB entry family will be smaller than VW's Golf compact car, while offering similar interior space. They will arrive about 2023, VW CEO Herbert Diess told Auto Express earlier this month.
Skoda will launch a full-electric version of its Citigo minicar, based on the VW e-UP, later this year. The model will be built in VW's plant in Bratislava, Slovakia, and will have an electric range of 300 km (186 miles), Maier said.
Skoda has said 25 percent of all its cars sold by 2025 will be electrified and the brand plans to launch more than 10 electrified cars by the end of 2022, including plug-in and mild-hybrid models. Its first plug-in hybrid will be a version of the Superb midsize and will go on sale later this year. By 2025 Skoda will sell five separate pure electric cars, the company has said.
Maier said Skoda remains unsure of the demand for its electric models.
"I don't know how the customers will reflect on our offer," he said. "If our reference was those customers who have driven our electric cars in focus groups, then we can easily achieve 25 percent, but it is quite obvious the demand will be different if you talk to customers living in urban areas than those living in rural areas."
Customers in rural areas have concerns about charging and range, he said.