Caterham shows electric Seven but won’t build it yet

Caterham has unveiled an electric version of the Seven, which shows the direction the neo-classic model might take in an electrified future. It boasts quick charging speeds, good on-track performance, and barely any weight penalty compared to its gas-powered counterparts. But don’t count on being able to order one just yet.

With small-scale sports car manufacturers, the question remains whether or when they will succumb to the electric tidal wave currently flooding the car industry. Some are exempt from the 2035 ICE ban imposed by the EU but will still face local low-emission zones and higher taxation, forcing their hand.

Lightweight and track-ready

Caterham, the UK manufacturer specializing in modern versions of the classic Lotus Seven featherweight sports car, is looking ahead to what an electric Seven might look like. The first iteration is this EV Seven, a prototype purpose-built for testing how a battery-electric powertrain might fit and work into the compact body.

The battery required the larger Seven chassis to fit, with the trunk space also sacrificed for the rear-mounted electric motor /Caterham

The focus of the EV Seven is not on driving range, but rather on-track performance and low weight. That requires a relatively compact 51 kWh battery (net: 40 kWh) with a high charging speed (152 kW) thanks to immersion cooling. In the back sits a custom Swindon Powertrain E Axle, which delivers 240 bhp to the rear wheels, enabling a 0-60 mph (0-97 km/h) time of around 4 seconds.

The result is an electric Caterham capable of 20 minutes of track running, quick charging for 15 minutes and then getting out for 20 more minutes on track. In addition, the weight increase is just 70 kg compared to a Seven 485 with the larger chassis, for a total weight of just under 700 kg.

No production… yet

But Caterham has no concrete plans yet to produce the EV Seven. Instead, two prototypes will debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. Still, the manufacturer emphasizes that this is no more than a proof-of-concept and a technology development concept.

“This dips our toe in the water. We’ll sell it when we can make a business case for it at the right time,” Caterham CEO Bob Laishley told Autocar. In other words: if the demand is there, Caterham will build an electric Seven. And what better way to create demand than to showcase what an EV Caterham can do at Goodwood?


Ready to join the conversation?

You must be an active subscriber to leave a comment.

Subscribe Today

You Might Also Like

%d bloggers like this: