An icon of British sports cars, the Caterham Seven looks to an electric future – but only when the time is right.
One of the most classic and well-known sports cars heralds the age of electric cars.
British sports car maker Caterham this week unveiled the EV Seven concept – an electric version of its classic open-top model – and another is in the pipeline.
With the petrol-powered Seven being a favorite of trackday enthusiasts, Caterham insisted its electric counterpart had to be suitable for both street and track use.
The EV (electric vehicle) Seven features a “repeatable 20-15-20 drive cycle,” which the company says allows the owner to drive around the circuit for 20 minutes, charge for 15 minutes, and then charge for another 20 minutes the circuit to drive session.
The Caterham EV Seven concept is powered by an electric motor on the rear axle – supplied by the British company Swindon Powertrain – with an output of 179 kW and 250 Nm and a 51 kWh battery.
All of this is good for a claimed 0-100km/h sprint time of four seconds, thanks to the car’s under 700kg weight.
Caterham claims the 20-15-20 driving cycle is possible because the battery only uses about 40kWh of the available 51kWh – reducing the likelihood of premature deterioration – while the battery itself is filled with Motul dielectric fluid to provide heating and stabilize cooling.
According to Caterham, the immersion-cooled battery is cutting-edge technology that has typically been used to cool supercomputers.
Curiously, the UK company doesn’t state the range of the EV Seven on a single charge.
The vehicle uses regenerative braking and is equipped with four-piston front brake calipers, Bilstein shock absorbers and a limited-slip differential.
“We have no plans at this point to put the EV Seven into production – it’s a test bed to see how well it does.” [electric] “The powertrain works for our customers’ specific use cases,” said Bob Laishley, CEO of Caterham.
“We are running this project with our eyes wide open so that we can learn to deliver the specific characteristics of a Caterham vehicle that a Seven requires: light, easy and fun to drive.”
“We will bring it to market at the right time when the future generation of battery technology allows it, and therefore now is the time to test the concept,” he added.
Caterham has also announced a second “all-electric sports car concept” to be unveiled later this year.
The Caterham EV Seven concept is set to make its debut at the UK’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.