Caterham Project V wants to take the spirit of Seven into the modern EV era

Published Jul 12, 2023


Dartford - Caterham is best known for its evolution of the legendary, open-wheeled Lotus Seven, but the British sportscar maker is about to make a u-turn into the future.

The Project V, set to be revealed at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week, is a modern and lightweight electric coupe that could reach production by late 2025 or early 2026.

Designed as an electric car from the ground up, the Project V is powered by a single motor mounted on the back axle, which produces 200kW.

The company is targeting a relatively light (for an EV) kerb weight of 1 190kg, for the 2+1 configuration, which will be achieved by using an innovative carbon fibre and aluminium composite chassis.

The resulting favourable power to weight ratio will allow the sportscar to sprint zero to 100km/h in under 4.5 seconds, says Caterham, and to reach a top speed of 230km/h, which is on the high side for an EV.

The motor is fed by a 55kWh USOC lithium-ion battery pack with advanced thermal management, and the ability to recharge from 20-80% in as little as 15 minutes using a 150kW DC rapid charger. As for distance covered, the company is targeting a WLTP range of 400km between charges.

The vehicle features double wishbone front and rear suspension, with fully adjustable geometry, and it rides on mixed-wheels measuring 19-inches upfront and 20-inches at the back, shod with Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tyres.

The Project V has a 2+1 seating layout (2+2 is optional) which optimises ingress and egress, provides more comfort for the rear seat passenger and offers greater flexibility in how a prospective owner may use the car, Caterham says.

The cockpit features a simple, driver-focussed infotainment system, complete with smartphone mirroring, as well as a digital instrument cluster. Drivers can choose between Normal, Sport and Sprint driving modes that adjust the throttle and steering settings.

“Project V is not just a concept or design study, we’ve conducted engineering and production feasibility throughout the development process,” said Bob Laishley, CEO of Caterham Cars.

“An electric Caterham of any shape and size has to stay true to what sets us apart from everyone else: being lightweight, simple and offering an unparalleled driving experience; that’s our DNA.”

Chief designer Anthony Jannarelly said Project V took inspiration from the Caterham Seven’s simple and minimalist design, applying it to a battery-powered sports coupe architecture, while creating a seducing and timeless silhouette.

“Every single feature has to justify itself from a weight perspective to maintain lightness and optimise driver engagement,” he said.

Laishley added that Project V wasn’t created as a replacement for the Seven, but rather as a complimentary product that, thanks to its more practical coupe body and EV architecture, would work just as well for trips to the shops or the school run, as it does for Sunday morning sprints.

Caterham is targeting a starting price of less than £80 000 (R1.9 million) for the eventual production model.

IOL Motoring