Cupra el-Born: aggressive-looking electric hatchback with 310 miles per charge

New electric hatchback from Seat's sporty sub-brand looks sharp and offers a substantial 310-mile range, with prices from around £35,000

Simon Ostler
Jul 10, 2020

Interested in an electric hatchback but looking for something with a bit more of a sporting edge? The Cupra el-Born certainly looks like it could throw a cat among a few pigeons, with the promise of strong acceleration, a fun drive and a slick interior.

It hasn’t taken long for Cupra, the sporty arm of Seat, to introduce its first fully electric car. The el-Born, which was first revealed as a Seat concept in 2019, has now been revealed in the form in which it'll arrive on UK roads and go up against an increasing number of electric hatchbacks. 

It’s the latest competitor to the more comfort-oriented Nissan Leaf, joining the likes of the upmarket Volkswagen ID-3 and high-riding Kia e-Niro SUV as a spacious and practical family hatchback, in this case offering zero-emission transport with a significant real-world range that is similar to some petrol equivalents.

What really sets the el-Born apart, however, is that rather angry face that makes it seem like a much sportier car than the bland Leaf and the e-Niro which looks like a scaled down off-roader. Better still, there's the possibility that it could be a properly fast car as well - especially as electric cars offer maximum power as soon as you press the throttle, with no gears to worry about, or getting the engine up to speed as you have to do with a petrol or diesel car.

There’s no indication of pricing just yet, but given that Cupra models to date have so far come with slightly higher pricing than some alternatives, we'd expect the el-Born to come with a price tag of around £35,000.

Cupra el-Born performance, range and charging times

Cupra has confirmed that the el-Born will be rear-wheel drive - something of a BMW trademark that can provide a more sporty feel (no matter how hard you accelerate, the steering wheel never tugs in your hands, as with a car that powers its front wheels).

A 0-62mph time is yet to be announced, though 0-31mph will take 2.9 seconds. This reduced measurement is the new norm when it comes to electric cars, as it reflects how quickly a car can spring away from traffic lights when driving around town.

It's likely that the el-Born will use an electric motor producing around 204hp - enough to power this electric car to 62mph in around 7.5 seconds. That's reasonably speedy for a small hatchback, though larger hot hatchbacks, such as the VW Golf GTI are a little faster.

In terms of battery performance, the el-Born is set to features a 82kWh battery delivering 310 miles of range per charge. That’s more than you get in the Nissan Leaf and the Kia e-Niro, but less than the VW ID.3 - which is claiming 342 miles with its largest battery pack. Even so, this range figure makes the el-Born one of the longest range electric cars so far.

Fast charging is available, which means an 80% charge can be achieved in 47 minutes, while a quick half-hour charge should be enough to add 161 miles of range to the battery if you’re in a hurry to hit the road.

Cupra el-Born interior

Like most electric cars on sale today, the lack of a conventional engine means the amount of space available inside the el-Born is much more than would be found in a petrol-engined VW Golf, for instance. So rear passengers should benefit from a bit more legroom than you'd expect in a car of this size.

The interior itself looks clean and upmarket. There’s a 10-inch touchscreen mediasystem mounted on the dashboard, a digital instrument cluster behind the steering wheel and a head-up display beaming useful driving information onto the windscreen.

Underlining the el-Born’s sporting intentions are the inclusion of bucket seats and a sports steering wheel, it certainly seems like this could become a genuine electric alternative to the VW Golf GTI.


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