Caterham has revealed the EV Seven technology development concept, intended to test the feasibility of bringing a lightweight battery electric model to market that’s just as capable as its petrol counterpart.
The British sports car manufacturer is set to publicly debut the EV Seven concept at this July’s Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK.
The Caterham EV Seven concept is based on the iconic Seven chassis and was engineered in collaboration with Swindon Powertrain Ltd.
Despite the added weight of the battery pack, Caterham claims the EV Seven concept is less than 70kg heavier than the Seven 485 and weighs less than 700kg. It has a power-to-weight ratio of 245kW per tonne.
It’s powered by a bespoke version of Swindon Powertrain’s HPDE electric motor which produces 179kW of power and 250Nm of torque, which is roughly the same as the petrol-powered Seven 420.
Caterham estimates the EV Seven concept can do the 0-60mph (0-96 km/h) sprint in 4.0 seconds, and flat out you’ll be doing an estimated 209 km/h.
This electric motor is fed by a 51kWh immersion-cooled battery with a 40kWh usable capacity. It can be DC fast-charged at speeds of up to 152kW.
This EV Seven concept has been designed to usable on both the road and track using the company’s 20-15-20 drive cycle. This means it can be driven on track for 20 minutes, and recharge in 15 minutes with enough energy to drive for another 20 minutes.
The Caterham EV Seven concept also has a limited-slip differential, adjustable Bilstein dampers from the Seven 420 Cup, regenerative braking, and quad-piston brake calipers.
“We do not have plans to put EV Seven into production at this stage – it’s a test bed to see how well an EV powertrain works for our customer’s specific use cases,” said Caterham CEO Bob Laishley.
“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,” added Mr Laishley.
In addition to the debut of the EV Seven concept at the 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed, the company said it will reveal another “fully electric sports car concept” this year.
It’s unclear if it will be based on the existing Seven as its design is being led by the brand’s new chief designer, Anthony Jannarelly.
The Seven was first conceived by Colin Chapman as a Lotus all the way back in 1957, with Caterham acquiring the rights after Lotus ended production in 1972.
Over the years it has used powertrains sourced from numerous other companies, including Ford, General Motors and Rover.
The company, purchased by its Japanese importer in 2021, recently revealed its lightest Seven yet: the 170.
Powered by a Suzuki-sourced 660cc turbocharged three-cylinder engine producing 63kW and 116Nm, it weighs just 440kg and has a power-to-weight ratio exceeded 126kW per tonne.
This year Caterham is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The company was founded in 1973.