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Sunday, September 19, 2021

Cupra Australia ‘very much wants’ Born electric car

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The Volkswagen Group’s first electric car in Australia could come courtesy of Cupra.

A spokesperson for the Spanish performance brand has confirmed it “very much wants to introduce the first affordable European electric car to the Australian market”.

The only electric car in the Cupra stable is the Born, a sportier-looking take on the Volkswagen ID.3 with between 340km and 550km of range.

It’s not clear when the Born could arrive Down Under, although it’s unlikely to touch down alongside the Leon, Ateca, and Formentor when Cupra launches in the middle of 2022.

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 the Born’s sportier positioning and styling, there is an e-Boost option that increases power output to 170kW.

With a 58kWh battery pack the Born e-Boost is capable of dispatching the 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.

It’s not just Cupra looking to make an electric move in Australia.

The Volkswagen Group has previously said it’s struggling to get electric cars to our market because they’re being prioritised for markets where carmakers face steep fines for not meeting tight fleet emissions targets.

Recent policy changes in some Australian states mean we could see that change.

The New South Wales State Government’s recent electric car policy is being used as evidence Australia is no longer an EV backwater.

South Australia and the ACT have also introduced EV-friendly policies, but the pull of Australia’s most populous state moving to support an electric future is a handy tool for negotiating with head office.

A Volkswagen Group spokesperson said Volkswagen and Skoda are “hard at work in accelerating the electric car rollout” alongside Cupra.

Volkswagen has previously said the ID.3 and ID.4 are still a long way away from Australia, given global demand is high, but hasn’t ruled out bringing the Skoda Enyaq SUV.

The Enyaq is a Czech take on the Volkswagen ID.4, and offers a choice of rear- or all-wheel drive, three battery sizes, and five different power outputs.

The entry-level, rear-wheel drive Enyaq 50 iV produces 109kW of power, 220Nm of torque and does the 0-100km/h sprint in 11.4 seconds while achieving an electric range of 340km under the stricter WLTP standard. A 55kWh lithium-ion battery is standard.

At the top of the range is the Enyaq RS iV, which boasts all-wheel drive, 225kW of power and 460Nm of torque and reaches 100km/h in 6.2 seconds while achieving a range of 460km.

It adds a second electric motor and uses a larger 82kWh lithium-ion battery.

The efficiency king is the mid-range Enyaq 80 iV with 510km of range. All Enyaq iV models are relatively slippery though, with a drag coefficient of 0.27.

The 82kWh battery in high-end Enyaq iVs can be charged from 5 to 80 per cent in 38 minutes using DC fast charging, while an AC wall box of up to 11kW will charge Enyaq iV models in 6-8 hours depending on the battery size.

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