Cupra el-Born: New name for Spain's MEB

Published: 08 July 2020

► Cupra el-Born the name for upcoming Seat EV
► Electric hatch has up to 310-mile range
► To be built in Germany, launches in 2021

First shown at the 2019 Geneva motor show as a concept car. the production version of the Seat el-Born will wear the Cupra badge, strengthening the positioning of the Spanish sporting brand. We've already papped the car out testing earlier this year (below), and as you can probably tell from these pictures, it's essentially a Volkswagen ID.3 in a slightly different camiseta.

Why is it not a SEAT anymore?

SEAT confirmed that the el-Born will be launched purely as a Cupra, as 'this is the best decision for our shareholders,' said Carsten Isensee, acting president at SEAT and executive Vice-President for Finance and IT. A SEAT spokesperson added: 'Never say never, but right now we are concentrating on a Cupra version.'

Seat has confirmed that it will be built in VWG's Zwickau factory in Eastern Germany alongside the VW ID.3. Which might explain that if you squint hard enough, it actually looks a lot like an ID.3: it's only the front lights that really give the game away as it being the new Cupra. We reckon Cupra's designers have done enough to separate it, in a similar vein to the Golf and the Leon.

Are you wondering where on earth that name has come from? Well, it has quite literally come from a small, trendy precinct in Barcelona of the same name, not far from the overly touristy Gothic Quarter. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere.

What's under the skin?

2021 Cupra el-Born interior view

The Cupra el-Born sits on VWG’s MEB platform, and packs a 77kWh battery pack, driving the rear wheels, offering a range of up to 310 miles. Thanks to its fast charging capability, the Cupra el-Born is claimed to take 160-miles worth of charge in 30 minutes. 

CARs guide to the best forthcoming electric cars

The only performance figure we've seen from Cupra is a 0-31mph time of 2.9 seconds. If it's like the ID.3 (it will be), the el-Born will deliver hot hatch-like performance, as you'd expect from a performance-badged EV. Like the Cupra Formentor, which goes on sale later on 2020, the Cupra el-Born has a new floating infotainment display that’s housed in a fresh interior. 

SEAT Vice-President for Sales and Marketing and Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths added: 'We have taken the original concept to the next level creating a new sporty and dynamic design and reengineering the technological content. The el-Born is the living proof that performance and electrification are a great match.'

It goes on sale in 2021, and we’ll find out more in the coming weeks.

Further electric car reading

The best electric cars and EVs on sale today

How much does it cost to charge an electric car?

Future electric cars: upcoming EVs to look out for

el-Born under testing

By Keith Adams

Devout classic Citroen enthusiast, walking car encyclopedia, and long-time contributor to CAR