Cupra Born long-term test: report 7

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?...

James Tute, Zap-Map and Cupra Born

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 3568 List price £38,390 Target Price £38,390 Price as tested £38,390 Official range 250 miles Test range 249 miles

6 October 2022 – App-solutely fabulous 

How do you charge your electric car in a town lacking public charging options? Well, as I found on a recent staycation with my Cupra Born, there’s one option worth considering when all hope seems lost – the Zap-Map community network.

I’ll explain more later, but first you need to know how the Born performed on the 200-mile journey up to that charging-point desert.

We set off with a full charge, which officially gives a range of 250 miles, and spent about an hour in London traffic before reaching the motorway. And I reckon we could just have made it all the way on one charge, but as we got to within about 30 miles of our destination, the Born’s predicted remaining range became perilously close to the distance left to go.

I bottled it. I pulled over, and used the sat-nav – which shows nearby charging points, including their speed in kW – to find out what charging options were nearby. That took us to a public charger where we added 50 miles of range to cover the journey comfortably.

Cupra Born charging

So, my experience on that 200-miles trip tallied with What Car?’s recent real world range test, when the Born covered 219 miles on a full charge. That’s not bad, but our final destination was not well served by public chargers – and that’s where the ‘community network’ comes in.

The Zap-Map app lets you search for chargers of all types, and whenever I’ve used it, I’ve noticed ‘Zap-Home’ sites. These are home chargers at properties that the owners are willing to let you use.

Does it work? Yes, it certainly does. When I needed a charge, I found a Zap-Home listing and texted the owner for permission and location details.

At the arranged time, I turned up, plugged in and went for a coffee, using the My Cupra app on my phone to keep an eye on the battery level until it hit 100%. I left £10 for the owner for his trouble (and power).

I hope the public charging network improves fast, but in the meantime, well done to the Zap-Home hosts for giving people another option.

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