The ŠKODA VISION 7S is a breakthrough study for the Czech carmaker. It brings a new design language and new functional elements. Working on it was both challenging and fun for the designers. See what they have to say about the new study.
With a range of over 600 kilometres and fast 200kW charging, the seven-seater electric SUV introduces a new design language. It is characterised by rugged looks, functionality and authenticity. The car also places great emphasis on aerodynamics and the use of sustainable materials in the interior.
ŠKODA chief designer Oliver Stefani with head of exterior design Karl Neuhold, head of interior design Peter Olah and Colour & Trim head Kateřina Vránová at the VISION 7S premiere
The VISION 7S study was essentially created from a blank slate. The basis is the MEB platform with an 89 kWh battery, but otherwise the entire ŠKODA design team was given plenty of room for creativity.
The new design language that the study helps to define manifests itself in both the exterior and interior of the car, in the materials used and the controls. Working on a study like this was thus an exceptional experience for many designers. Peregrina Maquieira Iglesia of the Color & Trim team put it succinctly: “For me, the job was like this: Stop. Reset. Start. The freedom and trust given to us helped unleash creativity even more,“ she explains.
Peregrina Maquieira Iglesia Color & Trim specialist
Simple design is hard work
The outcome of the work done by all the different departments and members of the ŠKODA Design team is the minimalist, clean and sculptured look of the VISION 7S. The development went through all the usual phases: from the first sketches, through digital models, clay models, colour and material tuning of the exterior and interior, to the design of the car’s user environment and exterior and interior lighting.
The all-electric ŠKODA VISION 7S study
“Working on a concept that represents the future design language of a brand is always very exciting. Nothing is fixed and you can change almost anything,” says Peter Olah, head of Interior Design. “We wanted to create a simple design language, which is actually quite a complicated task. But when you add the history of the ŠKODA brand, this is even more challenging, as we couldn’t simply jettison key elements from the past – we had to modernise them,” says exterior designer Baptiste de Brugiere.
Baptiste de Brugiere exterior designer
The interior of the ŠKODA VISION 7S
The task was accomplished to perfection, delivering a clean design with a clear logic that connects the various characteristic elements. These include, for example, the car’s new light signature. The T-shaped headlights and taillights are designed to look dark when off and generate something of a surprise when they are switched on, while also helping to clearly identify the car. “The hardest part here was finding the right size and proportions. The new signature helps to clearly identify the car from a distance and puts the finishing touch on its overall appearance,” explains Martin Paclt, the car’s exterior lighting designer.
Martin Paclt car’s exterior lighting designer
Family-oriented, friendly and green
The exterior appearance of the car is then reflected in the interior. Here, too, we find minimalist but above all functional solutions. The designers have tried to make the most of the interior space and create a pleasant atmosphere for the seven occupants. “One special feature is the movable interior parts that allow the car to switch from Drive mode to Relax mode,” explains Peter Olah. He also appreciates the unique positioning of the integrated child car seat. “The innovative positioning in the safest place in the car not only protects the child, but allows the parent to interact directly with the child face-to-face. As a new father, I can really appreciate this,” he says with a smile.
Head of interior design Peter Olah and the VISION 7S
The new user interface of the on-board system and the use of sustainable materials are also important, according to Olah. In developing the user interface, the Czech carmaker used an interactive prototype for the first time to help test whether the development was going in the right direction. “The control system is an interesting combination of functionality and what is known as flat design. I think the result is very effective, thanks to the use of free space and high-quality visualisations,” says Daniel Hájek, responsible for the development of the HMI (human-machine interface) concept.
Daniel Hájek the development of the HMI concept
Sustainable materials in the interior (but also on the exterior - the VISION 7S’s bumpers and wheel arches are made from recycled tyres) are another integral part of the brand’s new direction that the study represents. “Right from the start, we carefully chose the colour scheme for the concept and the various materials,” says Kateřina Vránová, head of the Color & Trim team.
ŠKODA VISION 7S study
According to Martin Bogner, head of Design Modelling and Digitalisation, which is at the centre of the action, the concept was particularly challenging this time. “Since we developed everything together with the designers from scratch, the complexity of the individual requirements combined with the scheduled deadlines made it a real challenge,” Bogner explains.
Martin Bogner the head of Design Modelling and Digitalisation
The brand new materials were another challenge, though, mainly because of logistics. “We worked on VISION 7S during a number of lockdowns around the world and getting the materials that would support our vision in time was not always easy. It brought us closer together as a team, and we had to communicate more and find back-up solutions,” recalls Vránová.
The 7-seater VISION 7S study gives us a glimpse of ŠKODA’s new design language.
Her team gave the car's interior and exterior a subtle feel that is devoid of shiny chrome elements and other previously common details. “We are moving away from chrome and opting for more sustainable materials, while not losing sight of the fact we’re a family brand,” explains Maria Carola Kertzscher from Color & Trim. The whole is emphasised by the matt Explorer Green body colour, which was used for the first time on a ŠKODA. The materials in the interior are largely recyclable and the carmaker keeps a close eye on their provenance.
Maria Carola Kertzscher Color & Trim specialist
The VISION 7S study heralds the future of eMobility at ŠKODA
“One unusual change is the use of recycled tyres in large parts of the interior like the floor of the interior and luggage compartment. That’s proof of our company’s endeavour to go down the road of a sustainable circular economy,” says Kateřina Vránová. The result of the work done by all the teams and people is a car that is true to ŠKODA’s traditional values, yet also very modern and in many ways progressive. “I’m pleased with the overall simple look, but also with the logic of how the various design elements are interconnected,” Baptiste de Brugiere summarises.
The VISION 7S offers two different interior configurations - for driving and relaxing.
“I think the shaping of the exterior surfaces in particular, with the new architecture of the front of the car, is very modern and refreshing. At the same time, the interior design, with its emphasis on family and functionality, very much underlines ŠKODA’s core values. I firmly believe that this will appeal to our customers,” Martin Bogner says of the result.