THE original Lotus Seven it was an inspired concept. It was completely, utterly minimalist and thus perfectly in line with Lotus founder Colin Chapman’s philosophy of performance through light weight.
Today is the legacy of the Seven Caterham’sand that means the onus is on the company to reinvent the lightweight roadster for the electric age, which doesn’t quite jibe with Chapman’s philosophy.
The biggest hurdle for Caterham is how to make an electric Seven as driver-centric as the gas-powered car. There’s also the question of how to fit enough batteries into the tiny Seven body to provide adequate longevity at track speeds while still keeping weight down. But Caterham is ready for the challenge, and on Wednesday the company gave a taste of what an electric Seven could be like with the unveiling of the EV Seven concept.
The concept features a single motor on the rear axle that delivers a peak power of 240 horsepower. Its battery is a 40 kWh unit that can be charged up to 152 kW with a DC fast charger.
Caterham estimates the concept will sprint to 60 mph in four seconds and top out at 130 mph. The company also claims a curb weight of less than 1,543 pounds, which is only about 250 pounds heavier than the standard Seven. Caterham’s weight target is roughly equivalent to the weight of a gas-powered passenger car.
“Any electric Seven must be usable on both road and track,” said Caterham chief executive Bob Laishley. “In the case of the latter, this means that we are able to do a repeatable 20-15-20 driving cycle: you can drive on the track for 20 minutes, and in 15 minutes you need to recharge with enough energy to drive for another 20 minutes.
The EV Seven is not intended for production, but will be used as a feasibility study for a future electric Seven. Developed in collaboration with Swindon Powertrain, a company that develops drivetrains for both road and race cars, it features an immersion-cooled battery pack, new to the world’s cars (usually found in supercomputers), designed so that the coolant is in direct contact with the with battery cells.
The EV Seven concept will debut in the UK in July 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Although not headed for production in its current form, Caterham is developing an electric sports car that it intends to build and sell in the near future. He is working on the car talented designer Anthony Jannarelly and it is expected to be revealed later this year.
HIGH RESOLUTION GALLERY: Caterham EV Seven concept