Owners of Cupra Born EVs who responded to a battery service campaign have been left without their cars after the manufacturer ran out of the material that’s required to seal their battery cases.
Cupra issued the bulletin in July last year in response to concerns about the condition of batteries fitted to Borns.
Having opened the cases and checked the components, workshop staff have been unable to reseal them, owing to a shortage of the specified thermal paste, which is made in war-torn Ukraine.
This has resulted in dozens of cars being stranded at Cupra dealerships awaiting completion of the remedial work, and other Volkswagen Group cars could potentially be affected. Jerry Hawkins, who lives in Cornwall, is one of the owners affected by the delays.
“I bought my Born new in September 2022 and received the campaign notice last October,” he said. “I took the car to my dealer, who discovered there were issues with the battery modules.
“They said they lacked suitably qualified technicians to complete the work so sent my car to a main battery centre in Southampton for it to be done.
“However, after this garage replaced the modules, they told me supplies of the paste that’s required to seal the battery case – which is made in Ukraine – had run out and they didn’t know when more would arrive. They couldn’t use another product, they said, without invalidating the warranty.
“As a result, since October I’ve been in a succession of courtesy cars provided first by my dealer and currently by the VW Group.” Also affected has been EV Experts, an independent dealer based in Guildford.
Co-founder Estelle Miller told Autocar that one of its Born stock vehicles, also recalled as part of the service campaign, had only just returned from repairs after being stranded for seven weeks awaiting battery case sealant.
“The workshop told me it had 16 other Borns awaiting sealant, so I guess I should feel lucky we got ours back,” she said.
A Cupra spokesman said: “It’s correct that there are now delays in sourcing the thermal paste required to complete the service campaign due to supply chain challenges in Ukraine, but it isn’t possible to provide a resolution date, due to the uncertainty of the situation.
“Cupra UK is working with suppliers and component manufacturers to build resilience and minimise customer impact, and every effort is being made to expedite a resolution for the customer.”
The Born’s sister electric car, the Volkswagen ID 3, is the subject of a similar service campaign, and the German brand has admitted that it’s in a similar predicament.
A spokesman said: “We’re currently experiencing some delays in sourcing thermal paste. However, we’re working with suppliers to minimise any impact on customers.
“We’re expecting this campaign to conclude in the new year but will continue to monitor the supply situation.” Autocar hasn’t been contacted by any ID 3 owners complaining of return delays.
Matt Cleevely of Cleevely EV, an independent garage in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, said owners of Borns and ID 3s being affected by the delays are victims of “bad management”.
“Dealers will have to use the authorised sealant as agreed with the Volkswagen Group’s suppliers. However, the fact is that any easily obtainable, high-quality thermal paste such as we use is perfectly adequate,” he said.
“This isn’t an EV problem but a bad management problem.”