Skoda Octavia set to get a PHEV and mild hybrid drive

It’s all about electrification, but what are the odds of a plug-in hybrid Skoda Octavia being made available in Singapore?

The Skoda Octavia is getting some big engine updates in the form of a plug-in hybrid and mild hybrid powertrain. Whether or not we’ll be getting them in Singapore is still in the works though. 

The mild hybrid will be branded the Skoda Octavia e-TEC, while the plug-in hybrid will be badged as the Octavia iV.

These are the latest additions to the very versatile, fourth-generation Octavia platform, which is currently Skoda’s best-selling model with close to 400,000 units manufactured annually. This brings the brand, part of the Volkswagen Group of companies, another step towards the electrification of its product line.

A mild hybrid for the masses
The e-TEC designation is completely new to Skoda and will be reserved for its cars equipped with mild hybrid technology. It’s a first for Skoda, but largely trickles down from Audi, another brand that falls under the Volkswagen Group’s umbrella of companies. 

In the Octavia e-TEC, a 110 horsepower, three-cylinder 1.0-litre turbo engine drives the car through a seven-speed DSG. This is supplemented by a 48-V belt-driven starter motor and a 48-V lithium-ion battery located under the passenger seat. It has a capacity of 0.6 kWh, is located under the front passenger seat and is charged exclusively by brake energy recovery.

The system supplies an electrical boost of up to 50Nm during acceleration, and enables the car to coast with the engine disconnected. Skoda claims that this is capable of reducing fuel consumption by up to 0.4 litres per 100km, which is largely in line with what Audi claims for its mild hybrid cars as well.

Plug-in the power
Higher up the product lineup is the Skoda Octavia iV plug-in hybrid, which claims to have an all-electric range of 60km in the WLTP cycle. It is powered by a 150 horsepower, 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine and an 85kW electric motor. 

It’s been further developed from the earlier Skoda Superb iV’s drivetrain, and the electric motor in the Octavia iV is integrated into the 6-speed DSG and separated from the petrol engine by a clutch.

This opens up more options in how the Octavia iV can integrate the two power sources to propel the car forwards while promising emissions of only around 30g/km. It is capable of a top speed of 140km/h in full electric mode, and the 37Ah capacity battery can apparently be recharged from a standard 230v home power socket in just five hours. A specialised high-capacity 3.6kW wall box will reduce charge time to three hours and 33 minutes.

The driver can switch between E-mode and Hybrid modes on the central Driving Mode Select display, and should the car eventually make its way to Singapore we expect most to be driven around in the Hybrid mode, which works like practically every hybrid vehicle currently driving around. 

What’s unique is that you can set the amount of battery charge you want the car to maintain, and it will use the petrol engine and regenerative braking to top up the battery on the go. When both the turbo engine and electric motor are combined, the Octavia iV has a maximum power output of 204 horsepower, which is practically hot hatch territory, but more on that in a bit…

You want something faster?
For drivers that think 204 horses from a plug-in hybrid is not enough, then there’s the vRS version of the Octavia iV. It actually uses the same 1.4-litre turbo engine as the standard Octavia iV, but has its maximum combined power output upped to 245 horsepower. The 0 to 100km/h sprint time of 7.3 seconds is quite standard fare for a performance sedan or hot hatch these days, but the car is actually 2.2 seconds quicker when accelerating from 80km/h to 120km/h than its petrol counterpart. For the average driver, this means much quicker overtaking moves at highway speeds. 

Progressive steering and sports suspension is standard fit on all of Skoda’s vRS cars, so it’s a complete package for driving enthusiasts.

Are we getting it?
That’s all fine and dandy, but what does that mean for potential Skoda shoppers in Singapore? Skoda Singapore says that as of now there are no concrete plans to sell the new engine variants here, though that is all open to change depending on “market sensitivities and what would make the most dollar value sense for customers in Singapore”. 

In other words, the brand is still weighing up the pros and cons of making the new variants available for sale here. It’s still early to call, but consider that Audi has been pushing the mild hybrid tech in its new A4 sedan very heavily and BMW has been ramping up its advertising efforts to make drivers more aware of the usefulness of various hybrid technologies. We’d say that it’s likely that we will get at least the Skoda Octavia e-TEC here sometime next year.

This would open up an interesting option for car buyers shopping for a practical and forward-thinking vehicle. Even as the crossover vehicle craze continues to roll on, a mild hybrid continental car in the region of S$110,000 with COE is likely to be viewed as a pretty good deal for buyers. 

about the author

Lionel Kong
An old hand from the bad old days of crazy COEs, the straight-shooting, ex-CarBuyer editor is back in the four-wheeled world. Rumours that he went to another country to start a Judas Priest tribute band are unfounded.