Skoda Vision 7S previews largest of three new EVs

Europe

PRAGUE — Skoda’s Vision 7S concept previews the biggest of three all-electric cars the brand plans to launch by 2026.

The seven-seat crossover features a fresh design language and a new brand identity that Skoda said will better help differentiate it from rivals and other Volkswagen Group brands.

Unveiling the Vision 7S here on Tuesday, Skoda said it will invest a further 5.6 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in electric mobility and 700 million euros in digitalization over the next five years.

“We are significantly accelerating our e-campaign,” CEO Klaus Zellmer said.

The Vision 7S previews an entirely new Skoda model that will round off the top end of the brand’s product portfolio, he said.

Skoda’s other two new battery-electric models will be a small car and a new compact crossover, Zellmer added.

As well as EVs, Skoda will unveil a new-generation Superb midsize car and Kodiaq midsize SUV next year, the brand said.

Skoda said the Vision 7S has a “robust” new design language that the brand will be rolling out across all its new vehicles in the coming years.

The concept also shows how Skoda aims to make the operation of a modern electric family car simpler and more relaxing with the addition of haptic feedback controls and a built-in reverse-facing baby seat with a camera feed to the main infotainment screen.

“We have refined time-proven solutions and courageously broken new ground,” Skoda design boss Oliver Stefani said.

The Vision 7S is built on the same VW Group MEB all-electric platform that underpins the Czech brand’s Enyaq IV full-electric SUV and VW brand’s ID4 SUV.

An 89 kilowatt-hour battery gives a range of more than 600 km (370 miles), Skoda said.

The Vision 7S gets much of the content for the 14.6-inch rotating dashboard screen from the driver’s smartphone. This and Skoda’s focus on improving the screen usability is a reminder that the VW Group’s current in-house software has been criticized for its poor user navigation and frequent glitches.

The smartphone is held in place on the center console with magnets and can be used as a remote trackpad for the infotainment system.

Below the screen are three large rotary controls; the two outer dials are dedicated to climate control, while the middle one can also control the screen content. It can be used to zoom in and out on the map and scroll through lists.

“Everything was designed with the aim of simplifying the user experience,” Skoda said.

The exterior design of the Vision 7S, with its high window line “combines robustness, functionality and authenticity,” Skoda said.

The concept’s front end reworks the current Skoda look with an upper blanked-off grille sitting above a row of  vertical vents that hint at the ribs seen in the grille on current cars.

A light strip above the grille links the headlights that form a T-shaped light graphic. The T-shape is repeated in the rear lights. The new “Tech-Deck Face” is wider and flatter than Skoda’s current front-end look.

The bumpers, wheel arch trims and lower body strips are made from recycled tires that contrast with the matte-finish body color and add to the concept’s robust look. The floor of the interior is also made from the same material.

The interior can be configured two ways: Driving and Relaxation.

“Driving” rotates the screen vertically to place controls within easier reach of the driver. Information can then be “stacked” on the screen for better access.

The “Relaxation” mode is intended for when the car is stopped, for example during charging, and reclines two front seats and rotates them inwards towards the screen. This also gives the rear passengers a better view of the screen, which can then be used to play movies via a smartphone.

The screen can also be controlled via the smartphone.

Interactive surfaces with colored lights shining through the fabric are integrated into the door panels. For example, blue or red light visualizes air conditioning temperature changes. Passengers can also write on the fabric with their finger, to leave short notes or for children to create little drawings.

Skoda says the position of the reverse-facing baby seat on the center console is the safest place in the car. An optional camera is trained on the baby to allow front seat occupants to monitor it on the move.

“The interior offers a glimpse into the future of individual mobility,” said Johannes Neft, Skoda’s head of technical development.

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