What do you do if you’re a brand like Skoda that is known for good-value, no-nonsense cars but are forced to adopt expensive electric technology because regulations demand it?
Answer: you fit it to your most desirable specification of model, the vRS high-performance version, where the higher price better masks the cost of the technology.
“Without electrification we would never be able to meet targets set by EU legislation,” said Bjorn Kroll, Skoda’s leader on electric cars boss. He was speaking at a preview of the Vision RS, a concept previewing a plug-in hybrid vRS version of the new Rapid, Skoda’s new Volkswagen Golf rival that is due to arrive next year.
On paper, it’s a tempting prospect. The drivetrain is likely to carry over from the concept, meaning 242bhp from a 1.5-litre 148bhp turbo petrol mated to a 101bhp electric motor (the two motors don’t produce peak power at the same time, hence why those numbers don’t add up).
The powertrain will be good for a 0-62mph figure of 7.1 seconds, Skoda reckons. A bigger battery means a possible 43 miles of electric-only driving range (the outgoing VW Golf GTE managed only 31) and should give the satisfying feeling of driving a torquey electric car. It also means a sub 50g/km CO2 figure, important to take advantage of subsidies, or even possible future city access.