ŠKODA ENYAQ iV gets ready for Tour de France

ŠKODA ENYAQ <span>i</span>V gets ready for Tour de France

In fact, it’s simple: you turn a car that the public hasn’t seen yet into a star of one of the most watched sporting events on the planet. This is exactly how the new ŠKODA ENYAQ iV was transformed into the Tour de France director’s car.

3. 9. 2020 Models Enyaq

In order to be able to lead cyclists through three stages of this year’s Tour de France, the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV electric SUV had to be transformed from its serially produced form into a mobile control room, the “command car” of the race director, Christian Prudhomme. This involved cutting out a piece of its roof, for example. See how the director’s “red” car came into being in the video:

The ŠKODA brand has long been the main official partner of the famous cycling race and provides the fleet to the race organizers. The fleet also includes the director’s red car, which needs to be adapted to the needs of the Tour de France director, before it can be used on the race route. The transformation of this year’s car took place in complete concealment near Mladá Boleslav, where the ENYAQ iV was manufactured. Details were disclosed to ŠKODA Storyboard by Martin Smutný of the firm Best Modell, which carried out the modification in cooperation with the car manufacturer.

Simply clever champagne glasses

What modifications did you make to the car?

The car has six aerials, four on the roof and two on the sides, a flag holder, a special horn, advertising banners, five radio circuits, and a number of other electrical installations. 

What was the most difficult?

The most difficult task was to cut out the sunroof in a way that met the requirements of the Tour de France director. We had to find the right position and then cut out the opening in the roof, so that it didn’t get damaged; this was a really big challenge. Everything had to fit exactly in just one go.

This year, the ŠKODA ENYAQ iV leads cyclists on the Tour de France as the mobile control room, the “command car” of the race director Christian Prudhomme.

What criteria did you take into account when looking for the right position?

Several clues served us during our work. We had the sunroof solution available from the director’s SUPERB. We also consulted the location of the sunroof with the organizers of the Tour de France. The key criterion was that it had to be possible for the director to easily stand up from his seat. First, we had to dismantle the whole car, cut out the hole while cutting also the existing reinforcements, weld the sunroof, seal it, connect it to the power supply, and make a new roof lining. In order for the director to have something to hold on to, we raised the roof racks, so that they could be comfortably gripped in the palms.

If I’m not mistaken, there is never a champagne fridge missing in the director’s car...

Yes, that’s right, Director Prudhomme invites important guests aboard his car and welcomes them with a glass of sparkling wine. Therefore, there is also a refrigerator for two bottles of champagne in the ENYAQ iV. We searched for a suitable refrigerator for quite a long time, but we managed to find one. In addition to the refrigerator and the movement of the sunroof, the director’s car also has power-operated beacons and a radio station, thanks to which the director is in contact with all important units of the race. We placed two 75 ampere batteries in the car’s luggage compartment.

Does the ENYAQ iV for the Tour de France also have some Simply Clever solutions that are typical of ŠKODA cars?

In my opinion, the Simply Clever solution is champagne glass holders, which we made ourselves on a 3D printer. We designed them so that the glasses could be hung comfortably.

Was your work affected by the fact that the modifications took place before the premiere of the ENYAQ iV model?

It was nothing new to us. We process car models for ŠKODA AUTO that are still being prepared and that will be produced only at some point in the future, so we are used to working while maintaining the highest degree of confidentiality.

How do you feel about the result?

I think we did a good job and I am sincerely happy about it. I have been in the field for a long time, but ENYAQ iV for the director of the Tour de France is still a unique novelty for us, because it will be shown to the public, unlike most of the results of our work. If I do not count the models for the ŠKODA Museum, no one sees our models, outside the narrow circle of the car factory’s employees. The ŠKODA ENYAQ iV for Christian Prudhomme is the exact opposite, as it will appear live during one of the most watched sporting events on the planet. I used to watch the Tour de France even in the past, but now I will not miss a stage.

Martin Smutný

Martin Smutný, originally a cabinetmaker, founded Best Modell with his colleague three years ago and works in it as a production manager. They focus mainly on modelling the bodywork of future car models in a 1:1 scale. The company often collaborates with ŠKODA brand designers and with the EGV department, which prepares prototypes. It also deals with the renovation of antiques. The Best Modell designers are the authors of a golden sculpture that is on display in an exhibition celebrating the car factory’s 125th anniversary, in the ŠKODA Museum in Mladá Boleslav.


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