Cupra is yet another brand aiming to sell only electric vehicles by 2030, joining the likes of Mini and Volvo.
“We have the ambition to become a fully electric brand by 2030,” said Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths.
“We will monitor closely the acceptance of electric cars by the customers and the roll-out of infrastructure in Europe.”
The production model will join a growing number of electric Cupra models, including the Born due this year and the Tavascan crossover due in 2024.
The production UrbanRebel will also be launched first as a Cupra model in 2025 rather than as a Seat.
Seat will manufacture the new electric city cars in Spain from 2025 with an annual production volume of more than 500,000 vehicles.
Underpinned by a smaller version of the MEB all-electric architecture that’s been referred to as MEB short, they’ll reportedly use battery packs from the full-size MEB platform, which currently stretch from 45kWh to 77kWh.
Cars reportedly being developed on the architecture include the 2024 Skoda Elroq crossover, 2025 Volkswagen ID.1 crossover, 2025 Seat Acandra hatchback, and Volkswagen ID.2 hatch.
Volkswagen has already previewed a future MEB short model with its ID.Life concept.
Cupra is set to beat the Skoda and Volkswagen brands to the punch by introducing an electric vehicle first.
The Cupra Born is on track to arrive in Australia late in 2022 or early in 2023.
“The Cupra Born will be a challenge, to get that car ready, but it’s something I am committed to doing,” Cupra global boss Wayne Griffiths told Australian media.
“We can’t just come [to Australia] with the Cupra Formentor, we need to have the Cupra Electric cars – the Cupra Born, the Cupra Tavascan, and the Cupra Urban Rebel – ready for Australia,” he said.
Volkswagen and Skoda have struggled to get their new electric cars to Australia due to our relaxed emissions standards, along with heavy demand in Europe.
Cupra says it won’t have the same issues with the Born, because it’s much smaller than its Volkswagen Group stablemates.
“For us, Australia is more important than many other markets,” Mr Griffiths said.
“Australia will be our first time going global… we put our resources on fixing an electric car for Australia as an objective and a priority.
“I think Volkswagen Group and Skoda, because they’re already global and a lot of other markets, they probably don’t give Australia the priority. For us, it will have a high priority.”
The Cupra Born is built on the same rear-wheel drive MEB electric car platform as the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4, along with the Skoda Enyaq and Audi Q4 e-tron.
The Born is offered with two drivetrains we’ve already seen in the ID.3, with either a 110kW or 150kW motor driving the rear wheels.
To justify its sportier positioning and styling, there’s also an e-Boost option that increases the power output to 170kW.
Regardless of power output, peak torque from the motor is 310Nm.
With a 58kWh battery pack the Born e-Boost is capable of reeling off the 0-100km/h sprint in 6.6 seconds, but this rises to 7.0 seconds with the heavier 77kWh battery. A 45kWh battery pack is available on base models.
Depending on the battery and motor combination chosen, driving range is between 340km and 550km according to the WLTP test.
Cupra will also introduce Volkswagen, Skoda and even Audi to the punch by introducing plug-in hybrids.
The Cupra brand started off as a sporty trim level in Seat brands, before being spun off as a standalone brand in 2018.
While it sells sportier versions of Seat models like the Ateca and Leon, both of which are coming here, it also sells the Formentor – also due here in 2022 – for which Seat doesn’t have an equivalent.
Cupra sold more than 27,000 cars in 2020 and has sold more than 100,000 vehicles since its launch in 2018.
Australia is the first step in Cupra’s broader global expansion. It’s being used as a test bed for the wider Asia Pacific region, and Cupra will differentiate itself from its VW stablemates with a direct sales model.