Caterham Is Launching Two New EVs

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But don't worry. The gas-powered model is sticking around.

For sports car lovers who want an authentic lightweight experience, even a Mazda MX-5 Miata won't do.

While most modern vehicles are bogged down with heavy creature comforts such as air conditioning and airbags, one company offers a pure driving experience: Caterham. Caterham is a small-volume UK automaker known for building one model, the Seven, a kit car based on the original Lotus Seven.

The company recently announced a new model for the US called the Caterham Seven 2000, powered by a 2.0-liter Ford Duratec engine producing nearly 180 horsepower. This sounds true to the classic Caterham formula, but in a new interview with Autocar, the company announced that it's ready to embrace the future with electrification.

Caterham Caterham Caterham Caterham

Caterham CEO Bob Laishley believes current regulations will allow internal combustion cars through 2034. Even after the UK bans the sale of gasoline engine cars in 2030, the company will still export cars to markets like the US, which can accept the Seven under the Show and Display exemption.

The company's plan includes building an electric version of the Seven, though this model will not be rushed. This EV would have all the characteristics of a Seven, including a light curb weight, which is tough to achieve with batteries. "We're still in the early days of small EV development," Laishley explained. "Parts are conservative and heavy. We're never going to want to launch a 1,000-kilogram (2,200-pound) Seven. We'd rather not do it."

While the electric Seven is still years away, Caterham is working on another two-seat EV that will look completely different and be sold alongside the gas model. This model would be built in more significant volumes and have a higher price. Unlike the Seven, this car will be more enclosed. Caterham hasn't worked on such a design since its version of the Alpine A110 (called the C120) was scrapped.

Caterham Caterham

"It will be prettier and more modern than a Seven - those will be big points of distinction - and maybe it will have a roof. We're designing it as a pure EV from the start, with rear drive only, and it will be registered under SVA rules," Laishley said. That means the car will have modern features like power steering, ABS, and airbags to meet regulations. Even so, Laishley promises the car will be light and simple with "very few embedded dials."

"This will definitely not be a Seven," he added. "But it'll have all the characteristics today's Caterham customers know well: lightness, simplicity, agility, and performance. Like the Seven, it will have a steel spaceframe (but a different one) because they're easy to modify in production if you need to. It will have a six-panel enveloping body in aluminum or carbon: two sills, two doors plus clamshell openings front and rear."

The new car could launch in 2026, while the Seven EV is at least five years away.

Drive Inc. Drive Inc.
Source Credits: Autocar

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