It's an electric go kart for the street.
Lotus is going through a radical transformation. The British automaker is preparing to launch a new generation of lightweight sports cars, starting with the Emira that will replace the Evora. That car will be the last combustion-powered Lotus sports car as all future models will be electric like the Evija. Lotus isn't the only British sports car plotting its electric future to survive, however.
According to Autocar, Caterham is preparing to launch the first-ever electric Seven to preserve the life of the two-seater and meet emissions targets. To secure the funding needed to develop the electric sports car, Caterham was acquired by retail group VT Holdings, which imports Caterhams to Japan. Like Lotus, Caterham's cars are driver-focused, light, and agile, though electric cars are inherently heavier because of their batteries and electric motors.
Despite this, Caterham CEO Graham Macdonald assures that the electric single-seater "rides and handles like a Caterham." To accommodate the extra weight of the battery and electric motors, the suspension and chassis will be recalibrated. Unsurprisingly, Caterham's first electric sports car won't have a regenerative braking system to save weight. Visually, the electric Caterham will likely closely resemble the combustion-powered car's stripped-down design and proportions, although Macdonald is also considering making it "bigger, heavier and nicer to sit in."
As for the performance, the electric Caterham's 0-60 mph time will be around the same as the 620R, which will accelerate to 60 mph from a standstill in 2.79 seconds.
A prototype version of the electric Seven has already been developed that handles "very much like a go-kart" and has "rapid acceleration" according to the CEO. Currently, Caterham is looking to secure a deal with a manufacturer to supply the batteries and motors.
"I think we would enter into some sort of partnership whereby we can purchase batteries and get them made to fit our dimensions, rather than buy a square skateboard that has a body-in-white on top. That loses the Caterham," Macdonald explained. A high-performance version with rapid charging or an "interchangeable battery" could also be in the pipeline. If everything goes according to plan, Caterham aims to launch the first electric Seven within the next five years, possibly in 2023 to coincide with its 50th anniversary.