Cars are becoming more like giant computers on wheels. Technology companies and almost every car manufacturer is putting maximum effort into technology and battery development. And here comes the question. What can we expect in the future?
The history of electric mobility is a demonstration of the world’s persistent ingenuity and adaptation in transportation. There are thousands and thousands of technical apparatuses inside a modern e-car. In recent years, every car company began to realize that technologies were changing the situation on the market and if they were not willing to invent something new, something revolutionary, they essentially would not keep up with competitors. With the likes of the Formula E race or the visionary Tesla project adding pressure for improvement, these technologies are going to become even more prevalent and more advanced.
Many of these innovations can still be seen only in concept cars, but they offer a glimpse into how companies are working to radically change the car of the future. One of the concept cars introducing new features is the crystalline ŠKODA VISION E. It has been 13 months since ŠKODA presented the VISION S, which revealed technologies that will appear in future. ŠKODA VISION E is going to display the best high technologies in combination with an electric power train providing combined power of 225kw. To understand how great is this invention, let us go through the three simple and easy-tounderstand parts of the new e-car: its exterior, interior and battery. Discover what cool technology has been used in each part of the vehicle. The VISION E faces the future of e-mobility with great optimism.
SO, WHICH NEW TECHNOLOGIES ARE UNUSUAL OR WILL MAKE THE CONCEPT VISION E SPECIAL?
- All lights in the exterior are white. These lights shine to the glass bars or logos.
LED matrix lights
- One of the most advanced LED headlight systems is to be found in the front. The LED matrix lights adjust their light beam in a way that they illuminate the road without blinding other drivers on the opposite side of the road.
- VISION E is decorated with a traditional ŠKODA symbol. The ŠKODA logo is located at the front and illuminated by brilliant white color.
- The conventional side view mirrors are replaced by cameras which displays in the interior Not only this technology helps to eliminate air drag and noise, cameras could also move to eliminate blind spots.
- The driver does not need to think about any keys or doorhandles. The side doors are opened electrically with the button or by moving foot under the bumper.
- The driver can control the navigation, infotainment and radio by voice.
- The infotainment and car can be controlled by voice. VISION E is going to bring the driver as much comfort as possible. Combined with gesture control, he or she can enjoy absolute comfort when operating the radio, media or screen menu.
- The car scans and evaluates health information about the driver. In an emergency situation, such as in the case of a heart attack, VISION E immediately calls for an ambulance.
Touch operating system with rotary push-button concept
- Although the driver can control the infotainment by voice and gesture, if he or she prefers the old school style, the driver can control the operating system using a rotary push-button located in the centre console.
Assistance and safety systems
(autonomous driving system)
Autopilot on the highway
- With Level-3 autonomous driving capability, the car shifts to autopilot on the motorway, monitoring traffic, setting the indicators, overtaking and changing lanes. The driver needs to take over the steering within 12 seconds if the car evaluates that the highway does not meet the parameters for autonomous driving.
- VISION E makes even parking easier than ever before. The driver shows his or her car the way to park in a parking lot or garage. The car learns it, and after a while the car can park automatically on its own.
Autonomous drive - Laser scanner, Mid-range radar, Short-range scanner
- Next, step into the future – a future where the car is responsible for the driver’s safe journey. A laser scanner, mid-range radar, and short-range scanner help the car to monitor other vehicles and the road at long, midrange and short distances. The vehicle should be able to take full control over the steering.
‘Simply Clever’ features
Rotational seats. Easy entry seats and doors
- A pleasant sense of luxury is felt upon opening the door. The seats rotate about 20 degrees before entering the car and enable easier entrance. The seats also move backwards to offer more space during autonomous driving.
- The battery can be charged without connecting a cable on the inductive stand. Using inductive charging, the VISION E makes people’s lives easier by being simply clever.
The liquid-cooled battery of VISION E is hidden in the central part of the floor. This position contributes to optimal weight distribution between the car’s front and rear axles. The high-capacity lithium ion battery pack enables ŠKODA VISION E to reach a destination even as much as 500 km away. To recharge
a flat battery up to 80% takes about 30 minutes when DC charge is available. AC charging is the solution for home charging, while the wireless AC charging is available for away-from-home charging (e.g. at supermarkets, parking lots).
What led you to create the concept for the ŠKODA VISION E vehicle that is heading in the direction of clean mobility?
The electric drivetrain redefines the whole car. This redefinition provides many possibilities for improving both the drivetrain and the interior. The target for Vision E was to create a high performance electric car with a spacious interior and clever solutions.
Let’s focus on the design of ŠKODA VISION E. Which element or solution would you like to highlight?
I like the high-performance drivetrain with 225 kW of power and 4x4 drive. This solution generates more fun than the Octavia RS. The Vision E is naturally equipped with many high-tech solutions. My favourites are, for example, the lightweight aluminium seats and the nicely illuminated glass pieces from Czech crystal.
We often read that battery capacity constitutes one of the crucial barriers to e-mobility. What about batteries in VISION E, did they represent the most challenging aspect?
Of course, this is a challenging point. It is necessary to harmonize capacity, weight, cooling, lifespan, and many other things.
Do you think that the electric gear and the battery technology may achieve their full potential in the next 5 years, and are they going to be used even in cars with combustion engines?
The development of electric cars and the components, such as batteries, will accelerate in the coming years. The right combination of components and package will create cars which can offer customers more advantages in comparison with cars having combustion engines. In electric cars, for example, we can use a level floor in the interior, and that offers us a lot more flexibility. The main points of practical usage for electric cars are the range and charging time. A car with a range of 500 km and charging to 80% of battery capacity within 30 minutes has no limitation in comparison with a conventional car.
Which systems within the vehicle in your opinion display the greatest ‘Simply Clever’ touch?
I would point to the rotatable seats providing easier entry to the car and comfortable positioning during autonomous drive.
The concept VISION E has an autonomous driving system. Is ŠKODA developing systems for the near future where there will be no need for a steering wheel or pedals?
We are working progressively on the levels of autonomous drive. At first, we can offer autonomous drive on the defined roads, such as motorways, while on non-defined roads the driver should drive oneself. We presume that the infrastructure will be updated for autonomous drive. A car with no steering wheel and pedals will be possible only in the case that the smallest road in the country will be outfitted and adapted for autonomous drive.
Today we have numerous assistance systems in all modern vehicles. Is there any assistance system which makes VISION E special, and do any of these systems relate to its electrical nature?
I would characterize as special the combination of sensors and systems in the car which enable the autonomous drive. If the car is to drive itself automatically, then it must see its surroundings in the very short, short, middle and long ranges. The inputs from all sensors must be correctly evaluated in real time.