Why Be Convoluted When It Can Be Simply Clever?

Why Be Convoluted When It Can Be Simply Clever?

Innovation

Simply Clever solutions have become an integral part of ŠKODA cars in recent years. Let’s find out how difficult it is to come up with a new feature. For example, how did the funnel integrated into the washer fluid reservoir cap come about?

24. 10. 2019

While ŠKODA left it until 2003 to start actively promoting its Simply Clever philosophy, the company has actually always been a hotbed of smart solutions. Back in the 1930s, for instance, metal skis were available as an option for the ŠKODA POPULAR and RAPID to improve their handling in the snow. Then there was the pull-out box with grit and a scoop behind the left rear wheel of the ŠKODA 256 trucks.

Testy lyží

Back in the 1930s, metal skis were attached to the steered front wheels of the Popular. Modified with the Simply Clever philosophy in mind, it actually substituted for the ski lifts, which back then were still in little use.

Today’s ŠKODAs incorporate more than 60 Simply Clever features, as listed on ŠKODApedia. These solutions are simple (they take no more than a few seconds to use), yet ingenious (they consign drivers’ age-old problems to the past) and widely available (many of them are standard-fit ŠKODA components).

Simple they may be, but coming up with Simply Clever components is not a straightforward process. The resulting solution may well look blindingly obvious at first glance, but in many cases the path to get there has been long and labyrinthine. Simply Clever features must have a meaningful purpose and be easy to use. They have to pass various stress tests and meet the very highest safety standards.

Examples include the funnel integrated into the windscreen washer fluid reservoir cap. This funnel proved so popular among professionals and the general public when we introduced it in the SCALA that now, having subsequently also been used in the KAMIQ, it will be fitted as standard in all new ŠKODA models. That is not to say that existing models will lose out – the integrated funnel is available for them as one of the ŠKODA Genuine Accessories.

integrated-funnel-collage-skoda-simply-clever

The integrated funnel in the lid of the windscreen washer tank (ŠKODA KAMIQ)

“Knowing that customers find it difficult to aim accurately when topping up the windscreen washer fluid from those unwieldy bottles, we had a think about how we could make this easier for them. We started out by trying to adopt a broad-based approach that would enable us to consider a range of views, perspectives, and contexts in order to achieve the best possible result. We examined and tested several different technical solutions in stages,” said Kristýna Nováková from the Lining, Luggage Compartment and Materials Department.

novakova-kristyna
Kristýna Nováková
Lining, Luggage Compartment and Materials Department

It took a fair while for the final version of the integrated funnel to see the light of day as it had to pass through three development stages before it got there. The initial idea was for a pull-out funnel integrated directly into the neck of the washer fluid reservoir, but as it turned out this was not fit for purpose because there was too much rubbing and friction. We then found inspiration in a rubber folding coil of the sort used in electrical engineering. The designers adapted this idea to suit the washer fluid reservoir and everything seem to be progressing very promisingly until the patent office informed us that someone else had already patented this mechanism. A third attempt did not make it through our stringent testing process. 

In the end, it was a new colleague who had not previously contributed to the funnel’s development, enabling him to see the issue from an entirely fresh perspective, who came to the rescue. The result? A funnel integrated into the reservoir cap. It has a highly distinctive and novel design, but is very easy to handle.

The development team’s reward for engaging in this lengthy process is a satisfied customer whose travels will be made all the more pleasant by our smart solutions.

Building on the tradition established by these craftsmen and inventors, Czech carmaker ŠKODA’s designers also deliver innovative solutions so ŠKODA cars incorporate a host of Simply Clever features.

ŠKODAs love Simply Clever features.
Take a look at some of them here:

 

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