Caterham has recently announced its latest project, the EV Seven concept. The company wants to counter the criticism that electric cars are not exciting by making an electric car that is lightweight, driver-focused and fun to drive. The Caterham EV Seven concept is being developed in collaboration with Swindon Powertrain Ltd. It has an innovative electric powertrain and advanced battery technology that uses immersion cooling.
It has a strong engine with 236 horsepower, and its 51-kWh battery allows for impressive performance, including reaching up to 130 mph and accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in just 4 seconds. The EV Seven prototype is all set to make its debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
Electric cars surely are made to meet the growing requirements for emission-free vehicles, but mostly people complain about them being a bit serious. People find them lacking the fun they had in gas-powered cars.
Among these complaints, Caterham, a UK-based specialist in lightweight sports cars, is here with its first electric concept car. The EV Seven, Caterham electric track car is said to pave the way for a future EV while the company points out that this is just a concept.
Caterham CEO Bob Laishley said in a statement, “Any future EV model we produce must be true to the DNA of a Caterham: lightweight, fun-to-drive and driver-focused. 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-ton Seven – we’d rather not do it.”
But the question remains about the looks of this future electric car by Caterham. The vehicle’s foundation consists of a Seven chassis model, but with an innovative electric powertrain developed in collaboration with Swindon Powertrain Ltd, rather than a traditional gas engine.
A bespoke version of Swindon Powertrain’s E Axle based on the HPDE family is used in the concept EV. It produces 240bhp at 9,000rpm and instantaneous peak torque of 250Nm that will deliver a predicted 0-60mph time of approximately 4.0 seconds. To ensure that EV Seven shares similar driveability to the ICE model, the powertrain has been engineered accordingly.
Managing Director of Swindon Powertrain Ltd, Raphaël Caillé said, “Our history of working with Caterham spans more than three decades – we developed the Vauxhall engine used in the JPE [Jonathan Palmer Evolution] edition Seven in the early 1990s, and we’re thrilled to be able to continue this partnership today through our work on this exciting project.
The targets we’ve been set for low vehicle weight and battery charging speed are undoubtedly ambitious, but the use of cutting-edge immersion cooled battery technology along with our own powertrain components means we’re able to develop an electric Seven that maintains the core values of the original.”
The Caterham electric track car is also equipped with a limited slip differential, regenerative braking, quad-piston brake calipers and adjustable Bilstein dampers from the Seven 420 Cup. All these features will amp up its performance on the track.
Caterham’s not releasing a range for this vehicle, as they expect most buyers will push it to the limit on the track. On the contrary, the company says it is targeting EV with 20 minute runtime of driving time per charge. The Caterham EV Seven has a fast 152 Kw DC charging and would require a 15-minute recharge time to give you another 20 minutes of fun.
Caterham, a long-term technical partner of Motul, is utilizing a dielectric fluid for their immersion battery cooling needs. This innovative solution is proving to be a game changer in the field of electric vehicle technology.
The fluid remains in direct contact with the cells, thus enhancing the thermal management process during both charge and discharge cycles. This cutting-edge technology was until now employed to cool supercomputers that generate enormous amounts of heat. Now, it is used for the battery of electric vehicles.
Bob Laishley said, “Building a Seven that’s capable of a Sunday morning drive is achievable with current battery technology, but the challenge is for track use where the energy consumption is greatly increased. At the moment, immersion battery cooling is one of the best solutions in terms of coping with the rapid charge and discharge cycles that would be experienced on a race track.”
Caterham known for its lightweight and fun track cars, hopes to keep the EV under 1,500 pounds, marking an increase of around 130 pounds over its gas-powered Seven 485. It would be interesting to see how lightweight the EV Seven would be because lightweight is not an electric vehicle thing.
Also Read: All Wheel Drive in EVs: Think twice!
While Caterham electric track car prototype looks very promising, unfortunately, they have no plans to put it into production. Instead, it is just used as a test model for a future model.
In this context, Laishley says, “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.
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.”
The much-awaited Caterham EV Seven prototype will be showcased for the first time at the prestigious Goodwood Festival of Speed in the United Kingdom this July.
Anthony Jannarelly, new Chief Designer of Caterham is leading the project and more details for the same will be announced in upcoming months. Caterham is working on another new electric sports car concept, which will be unveiled this year.
Specifications of EV Seven
In the table given below, you can check out some specifications of EV Seven in detail.
|Battery||51kWh (40kWh usable) – Immersion-cooled battery|
|Brakes||Ventilated Discs with quad-piston calipers|
|Charging||Up to 152Kw DC fast charge|
|Chassis Size||Large Chassis|
|Dimensions||L: 3,350mm, W: 1,685mm, H: 1,115mm|
|Final Drive||Limited-slip differential|
|Max Power (bhp / rpm)||240 bhp 9,000rpm|
|Max Torque (nm / rpm)||250 Nm 0rpm|
|Motor||Bespoke Swindon Powertrain HPDE E Axle|
|Performance (0 – 60 mph)||4.0 seconds (estimated)|
|Steering||Rack-and-pinion, 1.93 turns lock-to-lock|
|Suspension||Bilstein Adjustable (from Seven 420 CUP)|
|Top Speed||130 mph (estimated)|
|Transmission||Single-speed, two-stage reduction with a bespoke ratio|
|Wheels||13″ Apollo Alloy (6″ front and 8″ rear)|
Source: Caterham Cars