When a Miata just isn’t simple enough, enthusiasts turn to the Caterham Seven. It’s arguably one of the best-known kit cars, distilling everything that makes sports cars fun in a build-it-yourself package. But its internal-combustion powerplants mean the Seven could one day be forced off the road. However, the latest news from the company suggests the simplistic roadster might be getting future-proofed. That’s right, there’s an electric Caterham Seven on the horizon.
The company’s new owners want to make a proper electric Caterham Seven
Like all kit cars, the US-market Caterham Seven is delivered without the powertrain installed. But while you can technically swap in any engine and transmission that will fit, Caterham does supply buyers with both.
The current lineup includes a selection of Ford four-cylinder engines, ranging from a 135-hp 1.6-liter engine to a 310-hp 2.0-liter supercharged one. Considering the heaviest Seven weighs about 1345 pounds fully fueled, that’s typically more than sufficient. And the ICE selection isn’t going away, Caterham’s new owners, VT Holdings, claim, Driving.ca reports. At least, not immediately.
These ICE models, though, will soon have an EV stablemate. Like several other prominent car brands, Caterham is making an electric model, Autoblog reports. This news follows the growing trend of governments banning or promising to ban sales of ICE vehicles in the next few years. To keep selling Sevens in the UK and around the world, Caterham has to go electric.
However, the as-yet-unnamed electric Caterham Seven will stay true to the brand’s core values and identity, Autocar reports. That means prioritizing low curb weight, fun handling, and speed.
To that effect, the Seven EV’s suspension will be redesigned around the mass of the battery pack and motor(s). And Caterham may sell the EV without features like regenerative braking to further decrease weight, InsideEVs points out. Plus, the company claims the electric Seven could match the range-topping 620R’s performance level, DriveTribe reports. That means a 0-60 mph time of around 2.8 seconds.
Will an electric Caterham Seven make its way to the US?
Some fans of Caterham’s more simplistic models haven’t taken to the idea of an electric Seven very well, Hagerty reports. Especially since, despite manual-transmission EVs being a thing, the initial prototype appears to be a ‘two-pedal’ car.
However, it’s worth noting that this isn’t the first time a company has made an EV in the style of the Seven. Bulgarian firm Kinetik used a Seven chassis to make the electric 07, Autoblog points out. And there’s also the Blaze EV Classic, which is like a shrunken-down Seven.
But will Caterham offer the electric Seven in the US? As long as the battery pack and motors meet EPA regulations, it’s possible. True, the US is a fairly small Caterham market: the company sold 21 cars here in 2019, Road & Track reports. However, as more states start to plan bans on ICE car sales, the company will either have to exit the US or bring over its EV. And based on how high VT Holdings values Caterham, Hagerty reports, the former option doesn’t seem likely.
How much will it cost if and when it gets here?
As of this writing, Caterham hasn’t released any pricing or availability details on the electric Seven. The company is still finalizing suppliers for the car’s battery packs and motors, Autoblog reports. For comparison, the cheapest model, the Seven 270, starts at $37,900; the Seven 620 starts at $65,900.
Several sources pegged 2023 as a potential public unveiling date. That year marks the company’s 50th anniversary. But customer deliveries might not start until 2026, Autoblog muses.
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