My Enyaq iV: When one isn’t enough
Lukáš Kroča has spent his entire career in the building industry and has been running his own Brno-based company, which specialises in building houses, since 2014. He has had his hands on the steering wheels of many brands, but in recent years he has gone electric and his current transport partners are two Enyaq iVs.
Kroča has driven several hybrids and this taste of electric power has gradually started to steer him in a definite direction. He took a liking to SUVs and would have been happy with a Kodiaq, but he knew the internal combustion engine was no longer for him. “And when Škoda took perhaps the best step possible and made an SUV its first electric car, everything fell into place. The Enyaq iV is ideal for a family with two children, while the higher ground clearance is ideal for getting around construction sites. What’s more, at the time I was looking to buy a new car there was nothing else of a similar size in that price range on the market,” the Brno-based entrepreneur says with a smile.
The firm’s first car was the red Enyaq iV 80. After a while, Lukáš Kroča handed it over to his colleague, choosing an Enyaq Coupé RS iV for himself.
He ordered the car right shortly after it was launched. It was 2021 and a red Enyaq iV 80 arrived in the company garage. “Even then, I already know that I would pass on this car to my colleague after a while and switch to something bigger. But that didn’t happen – instead, I was offered an Enyaq Coupé RS iV in a beautiful Mamba Green paint job. And after a year I realised that I didn’t really need a bigger, more expensive car.”
From the Baltic Sea to Rome
Lukáš Kroča and his colleague use the Enyaq Coupé RS iV and the “inherited” red Enyaq iV as typical work cars – they charge them overnight from wallboxes at home and drive about 150 to 250 kilometres a day around Brno and its surroundings. Longer distances are no exception for Lukáš Kroča: he comfortably packs his whole family and ski equipment into the car and heads to the mountains. They don’t even need a roof box. The builder has driven his all-electric SUV across a large part of central Europe – from Lake Constance to the Baltic coast in the north and from Rome in the south to western Ukraine. And that’s where he experienced one of his biggest charging adventures – his own fault, he readily admits. “I was simply too lazy to drive the car a few hundred metres to a charger in the evening. But the Ukrainian winter, with the thermometer reading minus fifteen, finished off the almost dead battery. In the morning the frozen car showed zero range, and I drove the five hundred metres to the charger in emergency mode. Whereupon I discovered that the charger was single phase only and had a charging power of around 2 kilowatts. If I’d plugged the car in overnight, I would have been at 50 percent in the morning. Well, we had to make our breakfast last several hours,” he laughs.
Lukáš Kroča likes telling everyone about his car on Twitter.
He says he has never run out of power while on the road, though he has made several trips to the charger with zero range on the read-out. “But that’s usually because you want to get to a fast charging station and don’t want to wait for the slower one. You pass a few slower chargers and tell yourself that you can make it. And so far I’ve always been lucky.”
His longest expedition to date headed south, with his Enyaq reaching about a hundred kilometres north of Rome. “I had a business meeting in Italy, so I loaded up my family and we had a holiday. We left Venice in the morning and I dropped my wife and kids off at the seaside and continued inland for my meeting. During the two-hour meeting I charged the car, drove back to the beach to pick up my family, and we spent the night in Pisa. A total of 820 kilometres and only two charges along the way. Marvellous!”
Infrastructure is key
Both Škoda electric cars used by the Stavby Kroča firm are higher versions with 82 kWh batteries. The only major difference is that the first red car is rear-wheel drive. “The first winter made it clear that the lack of 4x4 drive is not the slightest problem. The car performs well even in the most challenging conditions, thanks to its low and central centre of gravity. And it’s this characteristic that’s responsible for the amazing steering experience – you control the front wheels with ease and precision, the rear-wheel drive pushes you through the corner and it’s like you’re driving on rails. It’s something you have to experience firsthand to realise that it offers a lot more than a conventional rear-wheel-drive arrangement can give you. The car corners instantly and, thanks to its low centre of gravity, it has excellent grip. It’s so addictive that when you get behind the wheel of an electric car after some time in a conventional one, you feel like it’s hardly moving or turning,” Kroča says, gushing about the electric cars’ handling.
The owner of the Brno firm loves the Enyaq’s handling and cornering.
Asked if he sees any drawbacks to electric cars, he thinks for a moment before giving a one-word answer: infrastructure. “People talk about range, but that’s more the fear of the unknown. Having to change mindsets and behaviours might be a downside. Instead of refuelling once every two weeks, there’s daily recharging. Today there are petrol stations everywhere, but in ten years’ time it will be the same with chargers – there will be as many by the side of the road as there are petrol and diesel pumps, and they will be at every hotel and shop. Where I see the biggest bottleneck is housing estates and apartment blocks. Infrastructure will have to be built at lamp posts and transformer stations and multi-storey car parks will be needed. Companies will also have to change their approach, as they often have their own transformer stations and solar panels but don’t offer charging for electric cars,” the construction expert considers. He adds that he believes we are now at a turning point where electromobility makes economic sense. Once progress is made with the number of charging points, range will cease to be a bogeyman. On the contrary: “Please don't invent electric cars with a range of a thousand kilometres. That doesn’t make sense. They will be insanely expensive and people won’t buy them. That’s not what this is about. It’s about the ability to recharge anywhere.”
A network of charging stations where you can use POWERPASS
Great recuperation and no starting
After less than two years with the Škoda electric cars, Lukáš Kroča also praises their economical running. He hasn’t paid anything for servicing yet, but the older red car will soon have its first two-yearly check-up. The Coupé RS is said to be five to ten percent hungrier, but that’s due to the higher power output – the car’s dynamism simply tempts you to step on the gas a bit more.
“If we were to drive the two cars in a convoy, I think the consumption would be the same. In the ideal scenario with last year’s electricity prices, our running costs were about a third of what internal combustion engine cars cost; today it’s half, at worst sixty percent. Add to that our mileage, which combined for two cars is about a hundred thousand miles a year, and the assumed minimum servicing, and what we’ll save over four years will repay the cost of a new car.”
Lukáš Kroča and Enyaq Coupé RS iV
When the Brno-based entrepreneur is asked to sum up the biggest advantages of his two Škoda Enyaq iV electric cars, he doesn’t have to think twice. “The ideal size for a family, the huge boot, practical things like folding tables for rear passengers, window blinds, lots of electric sockets. The RS is wonderfully powerful, the red one is perfectly sufficient – in fact, its 200bhp is even too much in town. The lights are fantastic. And what I can’t get enough of is the automatic recuperation and its controls. There’s no need for complicated menu searching to switch between modes D and B, the enhanced recuperation. And I love the automatic D mode. It’s one of the reasons I plan to keep the car for a long time. The D mode acts like adaptive cruise control, but there is no set speed. You accelerate to, say, 100 km/h, the car is cruising along, and at that moment the auto-recuperation kicks in – the car applies the brakes in response to traffic signs, cars in front of you, or even before most curves. You don’t brake at all, you just accelerate as needed. In addition, in mode D the recuperation power can be adjusted between several levels using the paddles under the steering wheel,” concludes Lukáš Kroča, before mentioning one more thing that caught his eye about the Enyaq iV. The car doesn’t need to be started. It knows you’re coming and you get in, just put it in D, and off you go. Just as it knows when you’ve stopped and are opening the door: it activates the parking brake on its own. If you ask Lukáš, all electric cars should have this.