Skoda is working to expand its global line-up of EVs and is also exploring the EV market in India which has grown exponentially in the last year. Even niche luxury carmakers have found good success with EVs here, and Skoda has been closely watching sister brand Audi’s foray into the Indian EV space.
Commenting on the company's EV outlook for our market, Thomas Schäfer, chairman of the board at Skoda Auto, told Autocar India in a recent interaction, “Audi brought in the e-tron, the e-tron Sportback and the e-tron GT, and they were immediately absorbed [by the customers] and ripped out of our hands. So obviously, there is a demand, and needless to say, you’ve got to look into that space going forward.”
- Skoda Enyaq iV is the brand’s first bespoke EV
- Expected in early 2023 via CKD route
- Prices expected to be around Rs 35 lakh-40 lakh
While the Indian EV market wasn’t an immediate priority for Skoda, the Czech automaker doesn’t want to be left behind in the EV race in the country, which is likely to intensify further with a flurry of new all-electric models expected in the next five years. Enthused by Audi’s success, Skoda feels there could be a market for its recently launched all-electric Enyaq iV, which has already become a huge success in Europe.
Skoda Enyaq iV on cards for India
While Schäfer refused to comment on the prospective launch of the Enyaq iV in India, saying it’s a “bit too early to announce anything”, he did confirm that Skoda “will probably bring in some Enyaqs next year to test the [Indian] market, see how the cars perform here and get some more intelligence on it.”
However, our sources tell us that Skoda is exploring the CKD (Completely Knocked Down) route to launch the Enyaq iV at an estimated price of around Rs 35 lakh-40 lakh and that an early 2023 launch is on the cards. Bringing the Enyaq iV as a direct import would be the easiest and fastest route to market, but the high customs duties would make the Enyaq iV prohibitively expensive. Besides, despite pleas from Elon Musk and the heads of other automakers, the Indian government doesn’t seem inclined to reduce duties on full imports.
Globally introduced in September last year, the Skoda Enyaq iV is the brand’s first ever dedicated electric vehicle. Essentially a sister model to the Volkswagen ID.4, it’s based on the VW Group’s MEB architecture.
The Enyaq iV is available globally with three battery capacities (ranging from 55-82kWh), rear or four-wheel drive (with power output of 148-265hp) and a 306hp RS performance variant. Depending on the version, driving range is a claimed 340-510km on a single charge.
In India, Skoda could be offering the two-wheel drive version with the smaller battery options as it would help position the Enyaq iV more affordably in the market.
Strong demand for EVs globally, India expected to follow
Though EV sales are still minuscule compared to the overall passenger vehicle sales in the country, they have been gaining momentum of late. This is evident from the fact that electric passenger vehicle sales in India in the first half of FY2022 (April-September) surpassed total EV sales of entire FY2021 and registered a whopping 234 percent year-on-year (YoY) growth.
In markets such as Europe, particularly in Western Europe, EVs have found great acceptance of late. Even for the Enyaq iV, Schäfer said, “In Europe, it has about 75,000 orders. We don’t know how to satisfy all this demand, which is fantastic.” He further noted that this is a “natural demand”, and not one that’s driven by government incentives.
As for India, Schäfer said, “There is an amazing push [for EVs] towards 2030 and the fact remains that India is now leaning towards it. There is no way that India will stay behind.” This positive outlook, then, is motivating the company to explore electrification in our market.