The continental trading bloc faces new opposition in its plans to mandate electric vehicles by 2035.
Automotive manufacturing makes up approximately 35 per cent of the Central European nation’s total GDP, and employs 120,000 citizens. In 2020, almost 1,000,000 cars were built locally.
“We will not agree with the ban on selling fossil fuel-powered cars,” Prime Minister, Andrej Babiš, told local news outlet iDnes over the weekend. “It’s not possible – we can’t dictate here what green fanatics devised in the European Parliament.”
The country is scheduled to take over the EU’s rotating presidency in July 2022, and, according to Mr Babis, fighting new bloc-wide electric vehicle mandates will be a top priority.
The move has prompted speculation the Volkswagen Group is looking to prolong internal-combustion production via its Skoda marque, despite promising an all-electric future for principle brands Volkswagen, Audi, and Bentley.
However, the current Czech administration faces a competitive election next month, and it’s unclear if the latest rhetoric comes at the directive of Skoda, or is instead political posturing for an anti-establishment voter base.
A spokesperson for Skoda in Australia said: “There are currently no plans [for the brand] to go all electric, but if it does happen here it will be a while after Europe decides.”
“However, we’re interested in bringing the Enyaq [electric SUV] in for the local market and hopefully will have more to announce on that front in 2022.”
Earlier this year Skoda confirmed it will launch “at least” three new electric vehicles by 2030, all of which will be smaller and more affordable than the Enyaq – with a circa-€20,000 ($AU32,000) electric city hatchback or SUV confirmed for the second half of the decade. In Europe, the brand is targeting 50 to 70 per cent electric car sales by 2030.