Say “Cupra” to someone in North America and they might think you are talking about a new designer dog breed, but in Europe, Cupra is the well known and highly regarded performance division of SEAT, the Spanish automaker that is part of the Volkswagen Group. The family resemblance between Cupra models and Volkswagen models is reflected in the Cupra Born, which is a performance-oriented version of the Volkswagen ID.3.
Last fall, Cupra unveiled the Cupra UrbanRebel, a battery-electric concept that looked like it might be featured in the next Batman movie. At the time, a writer I hold in high esteem said, “Will it ever see production? Don’t be silly. It’s a show car and like all show cars, it is intended to burnish the reputation of the company presenting it and get feedback from the members of the public.”
Well, the curtain falls and time passes. 6 months later, Cupra has brought forward a less showy, more production ready version of the UrbanRebel and it looks exactly like the concept without the over-the-top graphics of the concept car. With its anthracite paint, it looks positively sedate by comparison — more urbane than rebellious — but otherwise the exterior is an exact duplicate of the concept car. So much for our intrepid correspondent’s powers of prognostication!
Wayne Griffiths, the head of the Cupra division, told the press this week, “The UrbanRebel is more than just a car to CUPRA. This is the model that will democratise urban electric mobility. Emotional, sexy, and fun to drive and at the same time accessible. We prove that electric cars don’t have to be boring. This will be the next generation’s entry into our range.”
Inside EVs reports the UrbanRebel will be built at the Matorell factory in Spain and will be based on Volkswagen’s upcoming MEB Small platform. Cupra says the UrbanRebel should debut in 2025. Well, what a coincidence. Volkswagen has said it is working on a smaller version of the ID.3 that will start at around €20,000. [No need to translate that to dollars. There’s no chance in hell Volkswagen would bring such a diminutive car to America.] And the expected release date of that more affordable electric car? Why, 2025, by a happy coincidence.
Volkswagen isn’t saying the UrbanRebel and the ID.2 are the same car under the skin, but the inference is clear that they will in fact be closely related. The Cupra may have a more powerful motor driving the front wheels (166 kW) and a larger battery (62 kWh), but the ID.2 when it gets here will likely be within a millimeter or two of the dimensions of the UrbanRebel and retain the 5-door hatchback configuration.
Volkswagen ID.4 Production Moved Forward
Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess is keen to expand the company’s presence in the North American market. To that end, the company now says it will start production of its ID.4 electric SUV at its newly expanded factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee, in July instead of next October. VOA head Scott Keogh tells CNBC he expects thousands of US-made ID.4 vehicles to available to US customers starting as early as September. When full production is reached, there will be 3 shifts at the factory turning out 10,000 vehicles a month.
Keogh says the ID.4 is “completely sold out” in North America. To increase sales, the company has said it is considering a second EV manufacturing facility and battery factory in the US, but has not decided where to put them. The speculation is that somewhere next to the existing factory in Tennessee is the most likely scenario, but Volkswagen says it is still evaluating all options.
The company’s coupe-like electric SUV, the ID.5, would seem to be a no-brainer for the US market and yet the company has said nothing about producing that variant locally. Perhaps that second factory will be devoted to the ID.5 and the new ID. Buzz. If the price is right, Americans should find both of those vehicles to be very attractive alternatives to their present cars with infernal combustion engines.