New Cupra el-Born electric car 2020: pictures, specs and details

First details of high-performance electric hatchback have been revealed, ahead of SEAT el-Born sister car expected in 2021

The new Cupra el-Born electric hot hatchback has been revealed in full – ahead of its SEAT sister car, which is expected at a later date. The pure-electric Cupra performance model boasts an 82kWh battery and a range of up to 310 miles.

Confirmed details are thin on the ground for the time being, but Cupra has announced the rear-wheel-drive hot hatch will have a usable battery capacity of 77kWh, as well as fast charging capability allowing a 50% charge (good for 160-odd miles) in around half an hour. Exact specifications have not been revealed.

Cupra hasn’t revealed much about the electric car’s performance, either, but claims the el-Born will do 0-31mph in 2.9 seconds. For context, the latest Vauxhall Corsa-e performs the same benchmark sprint in just 2.8 seconds – suggesting faster Cupra models may arrive later down the line.

The styling is more subtle than traditional hot hatchbacks like the Honda Civic Type R, with softer lines and less aggressive wheelarch extensions. The production car has been previewed with a flat blue paint colour, contrasting with Cupra’s traditional copper accents. The copper theme extends to the wheels, trim and badges, as well as inside the cabin on the seats and dashboard.

Inside, the Cupra el-Born will get an augmented reality head-up display and “full” connectivity – presumably including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Every version gets the firm’s new Cupra steering wheel, while the car in these pictures gets a set of sports bucket seats; it’s not clear whether these will be standard fit.

Prices haven’t been revealed, but a starting figure of around £40,000 is likely. The Cupra el-Born will go on sale in 2021, bringing what the brand calls “sustainable mobility with a unique character and dynamism,” as well as “future-thinking technology that customers demand.”

SEAT's sister brand VW is also working on a performance variant of its version of the car – the Volkswagen ID.3. The proposed 'ID.3 R' would feature an electric drivetrain developed by Volkswagen Motorsport.

SEAT el-Born sister car to arrive later in 2021

The new Cupra el-Born is expected to spawn a SEAT version in due course. Both will be based on the same platform as the Volkswagen ID.3.

The standard el-Born is expected to use a 62kWh battery, resulting in a claimed range of just over 260 miles. Its 0-62mph time is given as 7.5 seconds, while the car can be recharged in as little as 47 minutes using a 100kW DC fast-charging point. Total power output is just over 200bhp.

The production version of the el-Born was spied testing near the Arctic Circle (below) in January 2020. The car’s camouflage gave little away, however the distinctive headlight design previewed on 2019's concept vehicle appears to have been retained. The wing mirrors also boast a similarly sharp design, although at the rear the tail-lights look more conventional than those featured on the concept.

A lack of a grille and aerodynamic alloy wheels are giveaway signs that the test mule was an electric vehicle, although SEAT made identification easy in this instance with the addition of a ‘Vehículo Eléctrico’ sticker on the front passenger-side door. Meanwhile, the outline of the charging port flap is visible over the right-rear wheelarch.

 

Design

SEAT says the el-Born's electric drivetrain has allowed the four wheels to be pushed to the corners of the car, giving it "more vibrant and energetic stance" than traditional internal-combustion-engined cars.

Aerodynamics will have a major influence on the el-Born's looks, with the large SEAT 'S' logo flush with the body up front. There are cooling vents low down on the front of the car to channel air to the battery pack, but there’s no need for a conventional radiator. A set of 20-inch 'turbine' alloy wheels should also contribute to aerodynamic efficiency, while there's a double-layer spoiler at the back.

Last year, SEAT's director of design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, said: "el-Born is the ultimate translation of our emotional SEAT design language into the new world of electrical vehicles.

“Our design team has taken very seriously the challenge of making our first full electric vehicle attractive. I believe that driving electric cars has to be thrilling, has to be fun. We have to make customers fall in love with the idea of the electric car.”