One of the biggest complaints we have about the current crop of electric cars is that they are all a bit serious. Sure, the Porsche Taycan is an impressive machine, as is the Lucid Air, but neither captures the fun you can have in a gas-powered car today. Thankfully, Caterham is here to rectify that with its first electric concept car.
The EV Seven is Caterham’s first electric model and it’s said to pave the way for a future EV from the British automaker. While Caterham is keen to point out that this is just a concept, it does outline a few of the targets it has for a future electric model.
“Any future EV model we produce must be true to the DNA of a Caterham: lightweight, fun-to-drive and driver-focused,” said Caterham CEO Bob Laishley in a statement. “The main objective for this project is to develop a vehicle with a weight delta of no more than the equivalent of having a passenger on board. We’re never going to launch a one-tonne Seven – we’d rather not do it.”
But what does all this electric Caterham of the future look like? Well, strikingly familiar to be honest. The car is based around a larger Seven chassis, but instead of a gas powered engine, the car is fitted with an electric powertrain developed in partnership with EV specialists Swindon Powertrain Ltd.
As such, the car uses a bespoke, 236 hp motor from Swindon Powetrain, which is paired with a 51kWh, immersion-cooled battery. In the concept vehicle, Caterham says this is enough to give it a top speed of 130 mph and a zero to 60 mph time of four seconds.
To amp up its on-track performance, the EV Seven will also come with a limited-slip differential, adjustable Bilstein dampers from the Seven 420 Cup, regenerative braking and quad-piston brake calipers.
Interestingly, Caterham isn’t really talking about the range for this vehicle, as it knows most people that buy one will want to take it out on track and drive it on the limit. As such, the company instead says it’s targeting 20 minutes of driving time per charge, and then a 15-minute recharge time to get you back on track for 20 further minutes of fun. To do this, the EV concept is equipped with DC fast charging of up to 152Kw.
Obviously, Caterham has always been known for its lightweight, fun track cars. And so far, the word “lightweight” hasn’t really been synonymous with electric vehicles. However, Caterham is hoping to keep the weight of its first EV less than 1,500 pounds, marking an increase of around 130 pounds over the gas-powered Seven 485.
That all sounds pretty promising, but as it stands Caterham isn’t planning to put the EV into production. Instead, it’s being used a test bed for a future model, as Laishley explains:
“We’re doing this project with our eyes wide open so that we can learn how to deliver the specific Caterham vehicle attributes necessary for a Seven: lightweight, simple and fun to drive. We’re going to bring this to market at the right time when the future generation of battery technology allows it, and that’s why now is the time for us to trial the concept.”
With Formula E already proving that EVs can have the performance to fight it out on track, how long do you think it will be until we start seeing amateur racers rock up to track days with their own electric models. And, do you think this Caterham offers a good starting point for such cars?