Volkswagen subsidiary Skoda’s electric Enyaq could be too successful
If a car manufacturer starts out as a value brand, such as Kia or Hyundai of Korea, and due to great success over the years, advances into high-end territory, acclaimed for its quality and higher prices in the market, stakeholders will be united in their praise and urge you to keep up the good work, right?
Probably not if you’re Volkswagen-owned Skoda and you’re starting to encroach on VW brand territory. And especially if you look at the success of Skoda’s electric SUV, the Enyaq. (Skodas are not sold in the United States).
Last year, from a standing start, Skoda sold nearly 42,000 all-electric Enyaqs to take 7and place in the Western European sales league, about 10,000 below the VW ID.4 SUV in 4and place and the VW ID.3 sedan is nearly 68,000 (3rd), according to Schmidt Automotive Research.
Enyaq’s prices are as high as VW’s, but not by much, and the iV80 Founders Edition, which later, sells in Britain for £48,415 ($60,700) after tax and before subsidies. Skoda is currently launching the Coupé iV, a sports version of the Enyaq and a further upscaling.
Union leaders at the VW brand fear Skoda, much the same under the skin as a Volkswagen, is overrunning its station and cannibalizing sales, and have reportedly suggested the latest tech be held back by the Czech-based suitor . They may well get their wish as Skoda’s next 3 electric cars are expected to be positioned under the Enyaq and will include a small car, reducing its impact on VW electric products.
Matt Schmidt of Schmidt Automotive said Enyaq’s momentum had been dampened somewhat by production hiccups caused by the semiconductor crisis and then by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Competition is also intensifying.
“The Koreans are arguably the toughest competition right now with the Kia EV6, Hyundai Ioniq5 and soon to be the Genesis (Kia/Hyundai’s premium branch) GV60, giving VW a run for their money. Chinese manufacturers like SAIC’s MG may well target potential Skoda customers they left behind (as its prices rose),” Schmidt said.
The West European market for electric cars grew from zero to around 1.2 million last year, but settled into a narrow range of mostly mid-to-high priced SUVs, with no signs of trying to respond to the market massive. Analysts at French auto consultancy Inovev said manufacturers appear to be happy to sell less volume with higher profits per car.
“This will create a real problem for consumers. In 2030, (when British car buyers are banned from buying new internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, probably followed by major European countries as well), consumers will still have to use their cars and certainly won’t automatically switch public transport or alternative transport. models such as bicycles or car sharing. If European manufacturers cannot offer cheaper electric cars, the Chinese will,” Inovev said in an email.
Inovev said nothing is about to change in terms of electric car technology, while premium brands will continue to launch large sedans and SUVs. Solid-state technology offers big improvements in battery range and performance, but this is unlikely to happen before 2030 to 2035. At the bottom of the market, the Citroën Ami and Renault Twizzy have performance too limited to generate many sales. Chinese vehicles like the Wuling Hong Guang Mini, the world’s best-selling electric vehicle, could be modified for European use.
“The conditions for a real mass market development of the electric vehicle are not yet in place,” Inovev said.
Meanwhile, he said the Enyaq would be a strong competitor, inside and outside the VW Group.
Schmidt agrees that VW should try to move Skoda down the market a bit.
“An awesome trick right now would be if VW could bring the Skoda helium balloon closer to earth, allow VW to take that premium price position and offer a high-volume profitable BEV ‘popular car’ with a badge. Skoda”, Schmidt mentioned.
Meanwhile, Skoda’s first electric vehicle has been enthusiastically received and this Founders Edition will turn heads with its large wheels, illuminated grille, gloss black trim with bronze door mirrors, while its ‘crystal face’ grille that lights up, wireless phone charging and snazzy interior will remind us that this Volkswagen subsidiary is no longer a cheap and cheerful value brand.
The spec is generous, so it should cost close to £50,000, ($63,000), but for that money you’d expect this big, solid SUV to have all-wheel drive, not just rear-wheel drive. Maybe the electric seats too. This “80” version has an 82kWh battery and a 125kW DC fast charging capability that could allow you to fill 80% of the battery in 38 minutes.
Like most all-electric vehicles, the Enyaq is a great city car but limited on the highway. The range claim for a full battery is traditionally fanciful – the boast is 324 miles and my average over 6 home charges was 266 miles. That’s an 18% miss. Almost a one-fifth shortfall, but better than most.
On the highway, the story was worse than most, but not outrageously so. I calculated that at an average speed of 75 mph the range was depleted at a rate of 40.6%, giving a theoretical range of 158 miles. There’s a cheaper Enyaq with a 62kWh battery and six interior designs to choose from. There are four-wheel-drive versions. The entry-level 62kWh battery model has a claimed range of up to 256 miles. Prices start at £34,185 after tax ($42,800).
Skoda Enyaq iv80 Founders Edition
Electric motor – 201 hp
Torque – 310Nm
Battery – 82kWh
Gearbox – single speed
Claimed range – 324 miles
WintonsWorld test range – 266 miles (average of 6 home charges, -18%)
Drive – rear wheels
Top Speed - 99mph
Acceleration – 0-60mph 8.3 seconds
Competition – VW ID.4, Tesla Y, Volvo XC40 Recharge, Mercedes EQA, Ford Mustang Mach E, Kia EV6, Ioniq5