How This Skoda Helps Trace A Bit Of Automotive History

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Grant me tolerance, if you will, while I put my spin on a potted history of the automobile. There is a reason for this, trust me.

It all started with steam: people were perfectly happy with the idea of ​​locomotion. Then came that comrade Karl Benz (in 1885); he built the world’s first vehicle powered by an internal combustion engine and completed his first four-wheeled car in 1891.

For some a terrible beauty is born; for others, it was about opening up the world to ordinary people. Over the decades, cars and outlook have changed; Henry Ford saw to it with the Model T, Volkswagen with the Beetle, Alec Issigonis with the Mini, etc.

Gasoline became the preferred energy source and cars consumed millions of gallons of it per year.

With each new step, more motorists have more. We’ve now become Generation Plus because that’s what we get with so many items: from phones to vacuum cleaners. Why not cars?

The emergence of the electric car is, I believe, accelerating expectations. Design can be bolder because the mass allocated to combustion engines is gone, leaving designers and engineers to create beautiful vehicles and innovative interiors. Our electric vehicles are becoming computers on wheels.

And the history of electric vehicles is easily traced. There were some in the late 1800s, but they never took off. Gasoline was more readily available over the years, so electric vehicles continued to live in the shadow of a warming climate towards internal combustion engines.

So many people, until relatively recently, dismissed the chances that electricity would ever make sense. Now it’s the other way around. Nothing else makes sense to the general public.

Electric vehicles, however powered, are here to stay – to help save the planet. And we are already asking more of them.

Many of us want the capability of an EV that can go tap dance while keeping its exhaust pipes clean.

I’m not talking about big electric fancies from Mercs, Beemers or Audis. No, Volkswagen and Skoda are also forced to scramble to position themselves in the performance stakes. In truth, like others, they both set and follow the public’s automotive agenda.

Skoda’s new Enyaq 80X all-electric battery electric vehicle (BEV) is just one of many examples I’ve driven. It’s nothing spectacular in many ways, except that it has plenty of power (265 hp) and all-wheel drive. It’s an increasingly familiar package: SUV looks, family space, power and grip.

The 80X sums up how quickly tastes and expectations are growing. Its main selling points, aside from the excellent room and fairly decent prices, are the large 77kWh battery and all-wheel drive. I must say that its 6.9 seconds at 100 km/h felt a few seconds faster. A regular Skoda EV that’s also an SUV (the entry-level Enyaq has a 58kWh battery; this one has the 77kWh pack) isn’t enough for many. They want the jobs. With that, they get a good measure of that.

There’s a higher price to pay in terms of initial purchase and, potentially, power consumption, because it makes you want to drive with enthusiasm. In addition, all-wheel drive can consume more power than a conventional front- or rear-wheel-drive version. What kind of defeats the whole purpose of EVs costing less to run, right?

Well, it’s fair to point out that all-wheel drive is a great thing to have for slippery roads or when driving fast on twisty roads because it can give grip and power to all four wheels.

And the special thing about this AWD version is that it can also use only the rear axle electric motor and completely shut off the front motor. Usually, all-wheel drive allows a trickle of power to both axles, but not with this. That’s no mean feat, because when it’s off, it really is off, not just a passenger consuming power while idling.

Speaking of passengers: there’s plenty of room inside, a good boot and excellent seats. But I would be slow to opt for the brown/orange colored leather upholstery which lends a sense of luxury to the interior.

I certainly would have liked power front seats; the plasticky manual setting lets it down (see what I mean by being hard to please?) and I thought there was quite a bit of wheel-traveling noise on increasingly potty city roads that I have crossed.

But against the backdrop of the automobile’s long road to the electric age, the Enyaq X80 demonstrates as well as any other how far the company, and electric vehicles in general, have arrived in no time. of time. Another chapter in automotive history is being written before our eyes.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

DATA SHEET: Skoda Enyaq iV 80X

:: All-wheel drive electric vehicle; Battery 77kWh, 265cv, road tax 120€.

:: Specifications included a rear view camera, front/rear parking sensor and a wide range of safety technologies and driver assistance systems.

:: Steering wheel recovery paddles. Autonomy claimed up to 496 km.

:: The 80X test car version had leather upholstery.

:: The entry-level version starts from €51,286.

:: Model tested with options costs €64,180.

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