Cupra may be a performance-oriented brand, but it’s also one heavily invested in an electric future.
Spanish performance brand Cupra has confirmed they will launch in Australia with two plug-in hybrid (PHEV) models. The 2022 Formentor and Leon are based on the VW Group’s MQB Evo architecture. When they launch, Cupra will offer three petrol engines as well as plug-in hybrid powertrains.
Previously, Volkswagen had refuted the option of bringing plug-in hybrids to Australia, saying instead the German carmaker would wait for full electrification. However, things look to have changed course somewhat.
A cocktail of factors will see Cupra forge ahead with PHEV tech next year. And not least because it “stands for doing things differently”. There is also some increased optimism with the NSW state government offering incentives for electrified vehicles.
The sole PHEV powertrain combines a familiar 1.4L turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine – found in the Mark 8 Golf – with an 81kW electric motor.
Total system outputs are rated at 180kW and 400Nm, making the electrified vehicles a match for the most potent petrol-powered options. The Formentor is AWD, while the Leon is front-drive only.
Both utilise a 12.8kWh (gross) lithium-ion battery with a maximum charge rate of 3.6kW. Cupra claims an electric-only range of between 55-60km, depending on the model.
The PHEV option stands as an exciting option in the Cupra range. The hybrid powertrain will offer a unique blend of performance and frugality that will appeal to specific buyers.
In its most potent form, the Born is slated to achieve over 500km of range in the WLTP cycle. That’s from an 82kWh (77kWh usable) lithium-ion battery pack. Claimed outputs are 170kW and 310Nm sent to the rear wheels.
Ben Wilks, Cupra Australia brand director, showed interest in the Born, confirming Australia was “in discussion about bringing (Born) to the group”.
VW Group Australia EV Manager, Kurt McGuinness, said that the Born coming to Australia was “definitely a question of when not if”.
According to Mr Wilks, one of Cupra’s advantages being new to the Australian market is that the brand can be “more nimble” in product planning terms.
When pressed as to whether the Born might beat Volkswagen’s ID vehicles to Australian shores, Mr McGuinness reiterated that the ID.3 and ID.4 will come down under, but that “VW production schedules are mammoth… the cars rolling out the factory already have markets allocated to them for a long time (before Australia)”.
“With Cupra, Australia is a new market. We’re the first global market to carry the brand as a standalone product,” Mr McGuinnes continued, mentioning that the NSW state government’s latest policies have “been really positive and moved the dial for us” in favour of bringing EVs to market.
What we have to look forward to for now is the rollout of exciting new PHEV models from Cupra. Pure EVs such as the Born will follow shortly after.
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