The original Lotus Seven was an inspired concept. It was completely, utterly minimalistic, and thus in perfect keeping with Lotus founder Colin Chapman's philosophy of performance through light weight.
Today, the legacy of the Seven rests with Caterham, and that means the company has the burden of reinventing the lightweight roadster for the electric era, something that doesn't exactly jibe with Chapman's philosophy.
The biggest hurdle for Caterham is how to deliver an electric Seven as driver-focused as the gas-powered car. There's also the issue of how to cram in enough batteries in the tiny Seven body to ensure decent longevity at track speeds while still keeping weight down. Caterham is up for the challenge, though, and the company on Wednesday provided a taste of what an electric Seven might be like with the reveal of the EV Seven concept.
The concept features a single motor at the rear axle, generating a peak 240 hp. Its battery is a 40-kwh unit able to charge at up to 152 kw using a DC fast charger.
Caterham EV Seven concept
Caterham estimates the concept will sprint to 60 mph in four seconds and top out at 130 mph. The company also claims the curb weight is less than 1,543 pounds, which is only about 250 pounds heavier than your typical Seven. Caterham's weight target is to roughly match the weight of a gas-powered Seven carrying a passenger.
“Any electric Seven must be usable on both the road and track,” Bob Laishley, Caterham's CEO, said in a statement. “For the latter, this means being capable of a repeatable 20-15-20 drive cycle: the ability to drive on track for 20 minutes and recharge in 15 minutes with enough energy to drive for a further 20 minutes."
The EV Seven isn't intended for production but will be used as a feasibility study for a future electric Seven. It has been developed in partnership with Swindon Powertrain, a company that develops powertrains for both road and race cars, and features an immersion cooled battery pack, which is new to the world cars (it's normally found in supercomputers) and features a design where the cooling liquid is in direct contact with the battery cells.
The EV Seven concept will make its debut in July at the U.K.'s 2023 Goodwood Festival of Speed. While it isn't bound for production in its current form, Caterham is developing an electric sports car that it intends to build and sell in the near future. The car is being worked on by talented designer Anthony Jannarelly and is set to be revealed later this year.