Skoda’s success story in Ireland is such that the Czech carmaker is cementing its position, naming its latest in honour of its most lucrative musical export. No Bono… sit down, it isn’t you.
The Czech based, German owned, global (excepting the United States) manufacturer, Škoda, has form with odd names; some of whom have been covered on this site afore, the Octavia at least meaning eighth. The Superb is an old name, Rapid too. Then came the K-Škoda’s: Kodiak, Karoq, Kamiq, which, if one listens to or reads to Škoda’s PR treadmill, all have meaningful and charismatic connotations, background: spirit. Along with increasing difficulty in differentiating between them.
Then, from out of the primordial soup leapt something called Enyaq. Yes, you read that correctly: Enyaq. That treadmill must have blown a fuse, for this name is surrounded by Celtic myths, rolling green pastures, and the dulcet ululations of Enya, the Irish singer once of the band, Clannad. Her original name being Eithne Pádraigín Ní Bhraonáin, anglicising to Enya Patricia Brennan.
Graced with silken vocal chords combined with elfin looks, her contributions to the world of easier listening has had a curious, and it would seem, latent influence upon the Czech carmaker’s marketing department, considering the Gweedore songstress was at her commercial peak over twenty years ago – just add a ‘q’ at the end. Quite an achievement.
Built on the Volkswagen MEB platform (Modularer Elektrobaukasten) for ID3 use this will be the first fully electric SUV to silently glide out of Mladá Boleslav. Engineered for mainly rear wheel drive with four wheel drive capability, and with no engine up-front, this vehicle will be hyped up for the space such archaic irritations once took up. Škoda want this to be like your living room on wheels.
Prior to the world catching that damned cold, plans were made to bring the Enyaq home to Ireland for some discreet testing by Škoda engineers, along with selected journalists. Perhaps discreet is too strong a phrase for a car wrapped in camouflage resembling a shredded cucumber – with added courgette and grass clippings. Rumours that a parked Enyaq was nibbled on by a cow herd are inconclusive. The camouflage continues inside with only essential dials being displayed. No Friesians were harmed in the making of this test.
Dr Florian Weymar is Škoda’s overall head of complete car development, tasked with running a smooth operation in hitherto unknown conditions. A sortie such as this one takes ten days or so of planning, reconnaissance missions similar to military manoeuvres, along with on the hoof decision making. A plush hotel was required, not only for essential rest and relaxation, but also a safe place to park and charge the three vehicles – the salubrious setting of Castle Durrow in County Laois being the chosen venue. Nice work for some.
A team of assorted technicians had the enviable task of driving the quiet country lanes and through the towns, taking in the coastline along the way, bagging the photos seen here before the great unwashed turned up to coo over this electrified, viridian hulk. Five days of fuss-free testing thus occurred in February – the planning paying off with the only casualty being parts of that camouflage, topped up and taped over and one broken windscreen caused by a stray stone.
Camouflage is there to do its job of masking, hiding, diverting your attention. Škoda are not alone in their clandestine efforts but have conjured up some rather unusual methods of subterfuge, the Enyaq being perhaps closest to nature. The Karoq was given a digitised black and white effect for its 2017 Stockholm test, akin to NATO forces operating in cold, urban environments.
The Scala, whom some say still carries its camo look, was covered in a graffiti wrap inspired by Prague’s Lennon Wall. The Kodiaq RS was given a coat of white paint along with the Škoda name and a digitised Nürburgring motif for its record breaking lap by occasional Top Gear presenter Sabine Schmidt. Just what the school run needs – an over-aggressive parent in a seven seater fridge. The latest Octavia was given more mellow hues, named canary, a soft focussed orange for its testing by the journalists in deepest Portugal for 2019.
Of course all that preparation and testing is vital for when the car is fully launched on the world still not entirely sure about electrically powered cars. The MEB is designed for 500km runs before discharging, a fine notion and more than enough for anyone but the roving regional representative. The Enyaq is the desired style and even with that camouflage appears the size and shape ‘everyone’ wants.
Should this Irish-Czech hybrid (in name alone) be as Simply Clever as most other of their wares, this might well catch on. Enyaq will probably be cheaper than Volkswagen’s T or ID-variants, though perhaps missing a little Spanish flair to the inevitable SEAT version.
But for that name. When the time comes to purchase one at your local dealer, for blue, will it be Orinoco Flow or Shepherd Moons silver? That chlorophyll cover will in turn be removed but for all its technical innovations, ease of use, living room space and green credentials, you’ll still be driving an otherwise oddly named car that blends into its surroundings probably more effectively than it did when wrapped.
Does it matter? Of course not in the grand scheme. At least the green wrapped fleet will have a brightened up a typically dismal February – a verdant hint of summer days. And Florian’s crew hopefully sampled some of the Black Stuff in their downtime, waiting for those batteries to charge.
All pictures from Škoda-storyboard.com.