At the end of February, the Marketing Director of Skoda Polska Tomasz Pyzałka surprised the Polish trade press with a press release. "Skoda Citigo-e iV met with approval on the Polish market, which resulted in a large number of purchase orders. At the same time, the manufacturer has limited the availability of batteries for this model. For these two reasons we have decided to stop accepting orders for this car." The large number of orders addressed by Pyzałka is not confirmed at least by the sales statistics for 2019.
The Skoda brand, which belongs to the Volkswagen Group, is not even in the top 10 in the ranking of registered e-cars in 2019. 4,322 additional registrations were recorded in this category in 2019. This is almost double that of the previous year. At the end of January 2020, 10,232 electric cars and plug-in hybrid vehicles were registered in Poland.
Polish e-car sales not influenced by VW Group
However, hardly any of the 1,490 newly registered e-cars in 2019 include vehicles from the Volkswagen Group. Around ¾ of all new e-cars purchased in Poland in 2019 were accounted for by car-sharing providers and company fleets, almost all of which used BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. The order for 700 BMW i3s for the InnogyGo car sharer had the most significant effect here.
However, the Polish industry expert and editor of the online magazine www.elektrowoz.pl Łukasz Bigo believes that the Citigo-e has very good chances on the Polish market, as the solid performance with a range of around 200 km and the good price is convincing. The editor pointed out that many readers of his magazine wanted to order the car. However, the purchase would be linked to the payment of the purchase premium announced by the government in 2019. But this did not happen.
But Volkswagen has big plans for 2020 in Poland. Volkswagen's Head of Marketing in Poland Daria Zielaskiewicz and the Chairman of the Board of Management Mikołaj Woźniak announced in January that they will sell 1,400 Citigo-e and ID.3 e-cars in Poland this year. However, these ambitious plans are now probably a waste of time, probably because Volkswagen had massively overestimated the market structures in Poland.
Absence of a subsidy programme slows down e-car sales massively
At the end of last year, a support programme for private buyers of e-cars was to be launched. Battery-powered cars with a purchase premium of up to 8,500 euros, the purchase price of which should not exceed 29,000 euros, should be promoted. At that time, the Skoda Citigo-e iV was the cheapest e-car in Poland with a purchase price of fewer than 19,000 euros. Therefore, the Volkswagen Group, like many experts, hoped for a buying boom. However, the prices of other popular models, such as the Nissan Leaf, the Opel Corsa-e and the Kangoo ZOE, were subsequently adjusted downwards to benefit from the purchase premium if necessary.
However, the subsidy programme was put on hold shortly before the start of the application acceptance process in December 2019. It is uncertain if and when the promotion of e-cars will start in Poland. Experts expect that the purchase premium will be massively reduced in the new version of the support program. Maciej Mazur from the Polish Alternative Fuels Association (Polskie Stowarzyszenie Paliw Alternatywnych) estimates that Poland wants to avoid a similar problem as was experienced in Slovakia with the promotion. The Slovakian subsidies were gone after four minutes because the item earmarked for them in the state budget was too low.
Skoda still sees eCitigo-e as a guarantee for success for Poland
The Volkswagen Group further confirms that sales of the Skoda eCitigo-e in Poland will increase by several hundred units in the coming months. This is unlikely to be possible when the total number of new registrations of e-cars and hybrid vehicles in January was only 462. Experience shows that the number of new vehicles in Poland corresponds to approximately ¼ of the registrations, which could mean that only slightly more than 110 new e-cars were purchased in Poland in January and only 23 of these were registered by private users.
The Skoda Citigo-e has strong competitors in Poland and many disadvantages. The car is unpopular with car-sharing companies, which are the most important customers on the Polish market. Other models are in greater demand. This is especially true for the market leader in its segment, the Nissan Leaf. Nissan now offers the model for well under 29,000 euros and is thus in the starting blocks should the state subsidy program be restarted.
Author: Aleksandra Fedorska is a Polish-German political scientist and publicist. She works as a correspondent for Polish and German media in the fields of energy policy and e-mobility. Fedorska lives and works in Jagel in Schleswig-Holstein and the Polish city Poznań.
2020 Skoda Citigo-e iV
Zero-emission, nimble and spacious despite compact dimensions, the ŠKODA CITIGOe iV is a perfect vehicle for modern cities. Despite being just 3,597 mm long and 1,645 mm wide, the smallest ŠKODA also offers a spacious interior for four passengers and a boot capacity of 250 l. The boot can easily be increased to 923 l by folding down the rear seats. The front-wheel-drive CITIGOe iV is ŠKODA’s first all-electric production vehicle and features an electric motor with a power output of 61 kW. The maximum torque of 210 Nm – which is relatively high due to the drive concept – is available straight away, as is typical for electric motors. The short burst from 60 to 100 km/h, therefore, takes 7.6 seconds, while the CITIGOe iV can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 12.5 seconds. Its top speed is 130 km/h.
A range of 265 km and battery charging to 80 per cent in just 1 hour
The ŠKODA CITIGOe iV is powered by a 60-Ah lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 36.8 kWh. The battery in the chassis floor measures 1.1×1.7 m and is just 0.3 m high. It consists of a total of 168 cells and allows for a range of 265 km in the WLTP cycle. When the power runs out, the battery can be recharged to 80 per cent in 1 hour using a CCS (Combined Charging System) charging cable connected to a 40-kW DC fast charger. Using a 7.2-kW AC wall box, the battery is charged to 80 per cent in 4 hours 8 minutes, or 12 hours 37 minutes using a 2.3-kW home-charging station. Both the Combined Charging System and the cable required for AC charging come as standard in the Style trim variant and are optional for the ŠKODA CITIGOe iV Ambition. Should this charging option not be available, the ŠKODA CITIGOe iV’s battery can also be recharged using a standard household plug socket.