British lightweight sports car specialist Caterham will bring a pair of fully electric prototypes to the upcoming Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.has reported.
The Seven-based EV project will be Caterhams first “dip into the water” into the world of electric vehicles, and the company will “rely heavily on working with partners,” Caterham chief executive Bob Laishley said.
“This is not something we sell tomorrow. We will do it at the right time, which is when we can make a business case for it,” Laishley said. While there are some inquiries from customers, “we don’t have a queue of people,” the automaker’s chief executive said.
These EV prototypes will be based on the wide-body version of the latest-generation Seven chassis, where the internal combustion engine and gearbox will be swapped for a 50 kWh battery pack (38 kWh usable). At the rear, a 326PS electric motor will reside in the Seven’s boot and incorporate the rear suspension layout of Dion’s car, he reports. car.
Electric powertrain development for the EV Caterham Seven prototypes is being handled by British Touring Car Championship engine manufacturer Swindon Powertrain, who says the battery pack contains the bulk of the development involved and heat management is a key challenge. . The goal is for the EV Seven to have a battery charge rate of 150 kW, says Swindon Powertrain.
The battery pack earmarked for the prototypes is “a slight evolution” of what the powertrain firm currently has available, according to Swindon Powertrain MD Raphael Caille, while Caterham has come up with an aggressive target weight to meet.
Today, the prototype EV Seven weighs 701kg, compared to the gasoline-powered Seven 485 which weighs 626kg, which would be equivalent to a Seven 485 carrying a passenger, CEO Laishley said. The EV concept will not have its own on-board charger.
“We believe that a future Caterham Seven has to be able to deliver. We keep this simple and match the performance of something that already exists. We are trying to stay true to the production car,” Laishley continued, though the EV project is not something that is likely to result in a product that will go on sale, the CEO said.