Cupra Born long-term test: report 2

When we first tested the Cupra Born we were so impressed that we named it Small Electric Car of the Year. But does it continue to impress when you live with it every day?...

Cupra Born 2022 charging 2

The car Cupra Born 58kWh V3 150kW Run by James Tute, senior sub-editor

Why we’re running it To see if our Small Electric Car of the Year still makes sense as commuter and leisure transport if you don't have access to a home charger 

Needs to Deliver on the promise of a fun driving experience, low running costs and good practicality, while having enough range for weekend getaways

Mileage 899 List price £38,390 Target Price £38,390 Price as tested £38,390 Official range 250 miles Test range 267 miles

22 June 2022 – Home on the range

Long gone are the days when I prepared for the weekend by ringing round friends to find out who’d be hitting the town on Friday night. Now it’s all about making sure the Cupra Born is charged up.

You see, my commute to the What Car? office is short enough that, during the week, I don’t really have to think about how much ‘juice’ is left. It’s only longer (100 miles plus) day trips that really test the Born’s electric range.

For me, with no home charger, prepping for one of those means cruising round to a nearby street after parking restrictions lift at 8.30pm and connecting the car to an Ubitricity lamppost charger. It’s listed on the Zap-Map phone app so I can check ahead that no one’s using it – although I don’t know until I get there whether there’s space to park nearby.

Cupra Born 2022 charging

Once I’ve plugged in the Born, I scan a QR code on the lamppost with my phone, which brings up a website. I fill in my payment details and – all being well – the power starts to flow. It’s not a fast charger, so I lock the car, wander home and return the next morning to a full battery.

Now, the bad news is that I haven’t yet successfully charged anywhere else. I’ve tried several other street chargers and two filling station forecourts, downloaded three apps, ordered one payment card and phoned a helpline. Still, it’s early days, and the Born is great to drive even if the journey itself is frustrating.

Cupra Born 2022 interior range display

The good news is that the fully charged Born is currently showing that I have 295 miles of range available – no doubt because my average speed has been very low lately (blame London traffic and 20mph speed limits). That's in default Comfort driving mode, and if I switch to Range mode, that figure goes up to 299. One day I hope to hit 300...

Also, the five charges I’ve done so far have cost a total of just £54.68 at 24p per kWh. According to my back-of-an-envelope maths, if I’d done the same mileage in a petrol car and averaged 50mpg, I’d have spent more than £150 filling up.

For me, that justifies the time I’m spending learning the quirks of the less-than-perfect public charging network.

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