Development of an electric Skoda Octavia is underway and the model is primed to go on sale later this decade as the Czech firm rapidly bolsters its EV line-up.
Before a zero-emissions version of the brand's biggest seller is launched, Skoda will refresh its current ICE and plug-in hybrid Octavia variants, due to hit showrooms in 2024.
When the electric Octavia arrives, it will join a seven-seat electric SUV (previewed by the newly revealed Vision 7S concept), an urban EV, a crossover - all due by 2026 - and a mini-SUV Skoda Fabia replacement in Skoda's new electric-focused line-up.
Skoda CEO Klaus Zellmer said it is currently investigating an electric Octavia ahead of Europe's potential ICE car sales ban in 2035. The carmaker is targeting 70% of its profits to be from EV sales by 2030.
However, Zellmer didn't rule out the combustion-engined Octavia continuing in some form to enable it to continue to appeal to a wider global audience. If that was the case, such a model would be likely to remain on the current platform, while the electric Octavia would adopt a Volkswagen Group electric-only platform.
Given that the electric Octavia will arrive later in the decade, it is likely to eschew the MEB architecture currently being used for mainstream cars such as the Volkswagen ID 3 and Volkswagen ID 4 and instead be one of the early models to adopt the Volkswagen Group's SSP architecture, which will be launched in 2025.
Zellmer said: "The Octavia is a fantastic car that we of course will have to keep in the family as long as we can as we have such a huge customer base."
The electric Octavia is expected to get a more rugged look than the current model, in keeping with Skoda's recently announced 'Modern Solid' design language reboot, which places a focus on SUV-type styling.
When the Octavia EV does arrive, it is expected to use a more advanced version of Skoda's new 89kWh battery, which is due in 2024/25 with a WLTP range of more than 370 miles and a charging rate of up to 200kW - far quicker than any mainstream Volkswagen Group EV on sale today.
This battery is expected to power two front motors on the standard car and four motors (one fitted to each wheel) on any sportier vRS variants.
Speaking about what the model means to the brand, Zellmer told Autocar: "The Octavia is rock solid. It has got its customer base and we are market leaders for the [estate] segment. Never change a winning team."
He added: "I think that car is Skoda [through and through], but when you look at the future position [of the brand] and we talk about Modern Solid as attributes to our design language, yes, this will be more cars that are in the market to go off road, to accommodate more people, to have a bit more of a bold appearance, but we need to do both - [this and the Octavia].
"It is really important for our brand to stay true to our values and to our heritage." Zellmer also hinted that as part of the brand's push for more SUV-type cars, the Octavia could get a variant with higher ground clearance - designed for light off-road use.
He said: "We want to bring some surprises to the market."