- EV Seven will have emphasis placed on lightweighting, ride quality, and chassis dynamics
- Performance thought to be similar to the Caterham 620R, including a sub-3 second 0-100km/h time
- Launch likely to coincide with the automaker's 50 anniversary celebrations
Caterham has announced it will introduce its first EV by 2023, as pressures regarding emissions in the UK and Europe necessitate the change to electric vehicles.
Speaking with Autocar, Graham Macdonald, Caterham’s CEO, said that a fully electric version of the marque’s iconic Seven sportscar has been in development for quite some time, and he’s already driven a prototype of the zero-emissions open-wheeler.
“It’s very much like a go-kart – it’s two-pedal, you’ve got rapid acceleration and it’s a different product to drive. No less exciting, but exciting in a different way,” Macdonald said.
The CEO also said that the priority for the EV Seven has been to retain the qualities and traits of the original moniker, with an emphasis placed on maintaining a light kerb weight and ensuring that any added kilograms don’t affect the car’s ride or handling.
Caterham has reportedly ditched regular electric vehicle features such as regenerative braking to ensure the kilograms are kept down.
But while we’ve got no indication yet as to what the EV Seven will weigh, it’s hard to imagine it will be able to get anywhere near the kerb weight of regular models fitted with an internal combustion engine, which tip the scales at roughly 700 kilograms, depending on the model.
Despite the expected extra heft, performance is thought to be similar to the Crawley firm’s fastest ICE-powered road car, the 620R, which is capable of sprinting from 0-100km/h in under three seconds and running the quarter-mile in under 11 seconds.
Macdonald also admitted that the automaker was looking to third-party manufacturers to supply the batteries and electric motor when the EV Seven goes into production.
The CEO said the preference was for a battery and motor set-up that could be integrated into the Seven’s existing chassis architecture, rather than buying a ready-made EV platform.
“I think we would enter into some sort of partnership whereby we can purchase batteries and get them made to fit our dimensions, rather than buy a square skateboard that has a body-in-white on top,” he said.
It’s thought the new electric Seven will be globally unveiled at Caterham’s 50th anniversary celebrations in 2023.
In 2020 Caterham was purchased by Japanese firm VT Holdings, which has been importing the small British sportscars into Japan for several years.
According to Macdonald, the CEO of VT Holdings, Kazuho Takahashi, is a diehard petrolhead with 25 years of experience in motorsport, and the Japanese parent company is the best fit to steer Caterham in the right direction moving forwards.
“He loves the brand and he knows that we haven’t got endless money,” said Macdonald.
“However, he’s determined to see this brand continue for another 50 years.”
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