2021 Cupra El-Born electric car revealed: price, specs and release date

Cupra's first fully electric car is a five-door family hatchback with a range of up to 310 miles...

2021 Cupra el-Born concept front

On sale: Spring 2021 | Price from: £30,000 (est)

Look just beneath the surface of this Cupra el-Born concept car’s funky, futuristic styling and you’ll glimpse the brand's first electric car. Based on the same underpinnings as Volkswagen’s ID.3 electric hatchback, the el-Born will lead to a production model with about the same footprint as the current Leon family hatchback.

Powered by a 201bhp electric motor, the el-Born has an official range of 310 miles on the WLTP test cycle – far greater than electric rivals such as the Renault Zoe and Nissan Leaf, which offer 186 and 168 miles respectively on the same test.

Charging the el-Born to 80% capacity takes as little as 47 minutes using the latest 100kW rapid chargers, but that time will increase dramatically if you use a standard wall-mounted charger. A heat pump can extend battery life by as much as 37 miles in conditions where cold can quickly sap an electric car’s range.

Cupra is seen as the VW Group’s sporty brand – something that’s emphasised by the el-Born’s wide, low stance, with its wheels pushed to the very edges of the car. Design features include a closed-off grille (no air intake is needed to cool an engine). There are intakes lower down, though, to increase the car’s aerodynamic efficiency and send air to the battery pack. The el-Born concept sits on 20in wheels that help to channel cooling air to the brakes.

2021 Cupra El-Born interior

2021 Cupra el-Born interior

Inside, the el-Born features a 10.0in touchscreen infotainment system that’s angled towards the driver, plus a digital instrument cluster. The absence of an engine up front has also allowed Seat to maximise room inside the car and provide lots of storage space, including under the centre console between the front seats, although boot capacity is still unknown.

The el-Born is capable of controlling its own acceleration, braking and steering in certain situations, such as on the motorway, and its advanced driver assistance systems include a self-parking function.

Prices haven't yet been announced, but the el-Born is likely to cost slightly less than the Volkswagen ID.3. A price of around £30,000 is therefore likely, but remember that as a fully electric car, the el-Born will also qualify for the Government's electric vehicle grant, which currently stands at £3000.

2021 Cupra El-Born front

What's the Cupra el-Born like to sit in?

The first thing that strikes you when you jump in the Cupra el-Born is how spacious it is; pre-conceptions born of years of driving traditionally engined cars need to be reset, as it's clear that the exterior body size now relates to more interior room than we are used to.

The second, however, is just how much – for all its billing as a concept – it looks and feels like a production car on the inside. Yes, some of the flourishes may dim, but look at the interior pictures and you'll soon understand that there's nothing there that is likely to change significantly.

That has to be good news, because it's both futuristic, practical and comfortable. That's a fine line to tread, and Cupra has done it well, giving the el-Born an edge of an exciting, next-generation car without making it so different that it is intimidating.

The Cupra el-Born is one of 14 cars in contention for the 2021 What Car? Reader Award, which will go to the upcoming model that people are most excited about. You can cast your vote here.

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Read more: The best and worst electric cars >>

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