Škoda X: a new centre for digital services in cars
Digital services are playing an ever more important role in cars as well as in other spheres. Škoda has long been investing in this field and offers its customers an array of services. These services are now going to be developed under the Škoda X brand.
The new centre for innovation and digital services was created from the Škoda subsidiary DigiLab. On top of changing its name, it is changing its focus and, above all, the way it operates.
“With Škoda Auto DigiLab’s transformation into Škoda X, we are taking a significant step forward, transitioning from the lab to real-world implementation. As a new brand, Škoda X will independently operate newly developed digital services, prioritising learning from customer feedback. This approach will enable us to truly understand and cater to their needs and provide them with the services they desire,” explains Martin Jahn, the Czech carmaker’s board member for sales and marketing.
Martin Jahn Škoda Auto board member responsible for sales and marketing
The change will have a number of practical and positive impacts for Škoda customers. While Škoda X will continue to seek new opportunities in digital services just as DigiLab did, it will focus more on product development, sales and direct communication with customers.
One new service will be Pay to Fuel, which makes filling up your car easier.
“We’ve been working on this transformation for over a year. From DigiLab, whose role was mainly to seek out and discover opportunities, we are changing into a standard commercial company that will offer services to customers and take full control of their development, but also of their day-to-day operation, roll-out, promotion and support,” says Jaroslav Pelant, managing director of Škoda X. The company will thus become the main hub for the carmaker’s digital services.
Jaroslav Pelant managing director of Škoda X
Most of the Czech carmaker’s existing digital services remain in the Škoda X portfolio, but with the announcement of the new name, the company also introduced significant new features. The first is the Pay to Fuel service, which allows customers to pay for refuelling at a petrol station via the car’s infotainment system. “It’s simple to use. Customers who have connectivity services in their car and are logged into their Škoda ID simply select which filling station they are at and which pump they are using. They then fill up the tank and payment is done fully automatically,” Pelant explains. The Pay to Park service already works in a similar way. The Pay to Fuel service is being piloted in three countries and should be operational in eleven states and at 16,000 filling stations by the end of the year.
Pay to Park already lets Škoda drivers in selected countries pay for parking directly from their car’s infotainment system.
Another new feature is a service called Offers, which means offers for customers and drivers of Škoda cars tailored literally to their current position. “Filling stations can entice drivers with discounts or even a free coffee in return for using their business. This digital service requires intensive commercial activity on our part, and we are talking to each service provider about what they can offer our customers,” says Pelant, describing the new service that operates in ten countries and currently delivers over a hundred attractive offers directly to customers via their car’s infotainment system.
One new service is called Offers, which offers drivers various benefits tailored to the car’s current location.
Škoda customers can have packages delivered directly to the boot of their car with Car Access.
“In general terms, this will support fast charging of electric vehicles even where there is insufficient grid capacity. The storage facilities will also allow us to participate in electricity trading on the spot market. And last but not least, they give batteries another 10-15 years of useful life. Only after that will we completely recycle the batteries and use the recovered materials to build new batteries,” Pelant says. Use of the battery storage facility will not be restricted to the Czech carmaker’s customers.
The battery storage facility makes use of used batteries from Škoda electric cars.
Škoda X’s goal is not only to operate and develop digital services, but above all to show customers that having connectivity services in the car is convenient and makes sense for them. “At the moment the offered services are a bit fragmented, and we want to show that we have a whole ecosystem that works well and makes life easier for the customer,” says Pelant. He goes on to give a practical example: while planning a route for the next day the evening before, the customer finds good deals along the way or at the destination that he would like to take advantage of. In the morning he gets in the car and the route is automatically entered in the navigation. He then parks at the destination and, thanks to Pay to Park, does not have to keep track of parking times. Parking is simply paid for from the car’s infotainment system – and extended via mobile if necessary. Once the customer has driven off, the parking is automatically terminated. But while the car is parked there and not being used, the driver can have a package delivered to it, for example from an e-shop.
HoppyGo, the peer-to-peer car borrowing and lending platform, is one of Škoda X’s established services.
“Various similar services exist separately, of course. But we want to create an entire functional ecosystem that will have a number of advantages, if only because the data that is available directly from the car simply cannot be provided by other services,” Pelant adds.
Watch the launch of Škoda X:
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Why Škoda X?
The X in the name of the new division is not accidental. The letter features in many English expressions that have a lot in common with the very essence of Škoda X, such as the words eXplore, eXpand, eXtra or, for example, in the expression eXciting eXperience. The name thus suggests that Škoda X is intended to create and develop new services that deliver an outstanding customer experience. “But in a way, X is also a symbol of the unknown. Many of the services we devise are, of course, secret in the beginning. In mathematics, the letter X is a symbol for the unknown,” reflects David Beška, who is in charge of Škoda X marketing. The letter X also has multiple meanings in the very graphic form of the Škoda X logo. “The arrow visible in the logo shows that we are moving our services forward and looking to the future. The fact that the X in our logo is divided into individual parts means that we are joining the ecosystem’s individual parts together to create a functional whole for our customers,” Beška adds.