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CUPRA el-Born to join the range as SEAT invests 5 billion euros in an electric future

Since the late 1990s CUPRA has simply been the performance arm of SEAT, but as its own standalone brand, it is now launching its own cars. Excitingly, the second car to launch solely as a CUPRA will be the el-Born – an EV based on the MEB platform. And there will be more to come over the next five years.

First shown off at the 2019 Geneva Motor Show under the SEAT name, the CUPRA el-Born has now been revealed in near-production spec ahead of its 2021 launch. Whilst it looks very similar to the car shown in 2019, according to Wayne Griffiths, CEO of CUPRA, it “...has been developed since its reveal last year, giving it more differentiation. It displays all the genes of the brand and is proof that performance and electrification can be a great match.”

The CUPRA el-Born will be the first performance car based on VW Group's MEB platform and whilst we don't have any official confirmation of the technical specifications, there are a few things we have learned.

Replacing the 62kWh (58kWh gross) battery of the 2019 concept is the larger 77kWh (82kWh gross) battery, common with the Volkswagen ID.3 and offering at least 310 miles of range on a single charge. Rapid charging at up to 100kW will enable the el-Born to gain over 160 miles in 30 minutes.

Power and performance haven't been revealed either, but CUPRA confirmed a 0-31mph time of 2.9 seconds, which would put it roughly on a par with the 201bhp, rear-drive ID.3 which is capable of 0-62mph in 7.3 seconds.

Talking about the sportiness of the car, the CUPRA brand and its customers, Griffiths, said: “[el-Born] Fits perfectly with the brand philosophy and customer profile.

“SEAT is the entry gate to the Volkswagen Group: we have the youngest customers – on average 10 years younger – and many first-time buyers. CUPRA on the other hand, targets a new market segment that lies between the mass market and the traditional premium market. We are sure that there is great potential for growth among customers who are looking for the uniqueness of CUPRA.”

Whilst CUPRA stated that the design and development of the el-Born took place wholly in Barcelona, the car will run off the VW production line in Zwickau in Germany. However, this won't necessarily be the case in a couple of years' time.

5 billion euro investment

Alongside the announcement of the el-Born, the joint SEAT and CUPRA press conference revealed that the brands are investing 5 billion euros by 2025. This money will be predominantly spent on R&D and developing the electrification of the model ranges, with the ambition to have 14 electrified cars before 2025.

As part of the investment, production of SEAT and CUPRA EVs will eventually be moved from Germany to Spain. SEAT President, Carsten Isensee, said: “This investment plan is our way of dealing with the future with determination and optimism, so that we will have a stronger, more innovative and more sustainable company.

“Our willingness is that Martorell will manufacture electric vehicles from 2025 onward, when the electric vehicle market will have grown.”

It's not just cars that SEAT is developing. Its MÓ brand, launched in June, is creating new micromobility solutions, specifically in e-mobility. Its eScooter 125 and eKickScooter 65 are both commuter-friendly tools with the former essentially doing the job of a petrol scooter, and the latter as more of a final mile transport solution. Both are being made available using a subscription model (with no long-term contracts) at £135 per month. A pilot shared-mobility scheme, using the SEAT MÓ e-scooters is also soon to go live in Barcelona.

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