Caterham has revealed an electric version of its legendary Seven sportscar, which it says is a “technology development concept for a future fully electric Seven”.
The concept will test the feasibility of a lightweight electric Seven and enable Caterham to move a step closer to bringing a battery electric model to market that is as driver focused as its petrol counterpart.
The EV Seven is based on the larger Seven chassis and features a bespoke version of Swindon Powertrain’s E Axle, combined with an immersion cooled battery pack.
Immersion battery cooling uses a fluid, which until now has typically been employed to cool super computers.
Bob Laishley, CEO of Caterham, said: “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 tonne Seven – we’d rather not do it.”
The company says any electric Seven must be useable on both the road and track. 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.
“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,” added Laishley.
The weight increase is less than 70kg compared to the current production Seven it is based on, meaning a total mass of just under 700kg. Its 51kWh immersion cooled battery is housed in the engine bay and transmission tunnel and is capable of DC rapid charging speeds of up to 152kW. It has a useable capacity of circa 40kWh, safely allowing the battery pack to withstand demanding track use followed by rapid charging without causing premature degradation.
The concept’s motor produces 240bhp, delivering a predicted 0-60mph time of approximately 4.0 seconds.
The EV Seven concept will make its public debut at Goodwood Festival of Speed in the UK this July. Caterham is also developing another fully electric sports car concept that it will reveal this year.