• Jan 19th 2010 at 5:33PM
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Caterham R500 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Sportscar manufacturer Caterham may or may not produce an electric vehicle within the next six months. A bit ambiguous, sure, but small companies like Caterham certainly have a bit more leeway when it comes to introducing new models to the public, and company head Ansar Ali has reportedly admitted to Autocar that such a project is in the works... maybe. Says Ali:
We're trying to pull together some partners and there a lot who want to be associated with us. We want to do this properly and with the right partners, not just stick batteries in the back of a Seven.... We're still at a very early stage. We will consider it if it works although it would never be a volume product... We have no plans to produce an electric Seven. We're looking at motorsport applications but there's uncertainty as to whether an electric car could handle race conditions. Is there the technology yet to support it?
So, if Caterham does find that it's feasible to produce an electric sportscar, the new model would be intended for the racetrack only at first and would not be sold as a road-going vehicle wearing the Seven moniker. It's unclear what partners Caterham is working with, but we'd expect a relatively lightweight lithium-based battery of some sort to keep the car as nimble as possible. We'll keep on the lookout for more details if and when they become available.

  • Image Credit: Caterham

[Source: Autocar]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Unfortunately, with Graham Nearn passed away, Caterham lacks the managerial brovado to get good ideas past the historically terrible engineering and design staff at Caterham. They failed at bringing to market a suitable competitor to the Lotus Elise, they didn't do well with the Caterham 21, and their proposed cooperation with Riley failed as well.

      Time has shown that Caterham's innovation started and ended with Colin Chapman, and now that the business is no longer family-owned, I don't see much hope for any kind of big changes to their lineup.

      If you want a British sports car company that does have the bones to do an electric, take a look at Morgan...
      • 5 Years Ago
      Right now, there's a wealth of experience in dealing with ICE vehicles. There is a HUGE amount of experience in building, selling, and maintaining ICE equipment, and ICE technology is not standing still (see: DI, multi-air, electromagnetic valve control).

      Meanwhile, electric vehicles are still very much in their infancy. Niche EV (tesla) owners can probably learn to deal with the issues that come with owning an EV, which to be honest is a toy. Mainstream consumers will overwhelmingly reject EV technology that has substantial (perceived or practical) limitations, and hopefully sales and marketing will do an excellent job of customer education prior to sale.

      Battery technology is improving rapidly, and we'll see the birth of popular electric motorsports inside a decade, in certain areas (no 24h of le mans, probably).

      Here's a twin-motor electric impreza (270hp, 2800lb) that's winning autocross and road races in its SCCA class against ICE vehicles:
        • 5 Years Ago
        "electric vehicles are still very much in their infancy"

        not really.
        forklift manufacturers have lots of experiences.

        the problem is storing energy safely, not burning someone house or whatever.

        an electric forklift uses normal batteries and needs to be charged in a well ventilated room.
        it smells bad.
      • 5 Years Ago
      That's really dumb.

      The fun of Caterhams are that they are really nice and simple and I feel like the most important part is building one your self and putting an electric complicated motor inside takes all of the fun away.

      also, im just testing to see if my comment picture worked.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Simpler" is in the eye of the beholder.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Electric vehicles are actually much simpler than ICE vehicles.

        * starter motor
        * alternator
        * distributor
        * fuel pump and lines
        * gas tank / fuel cell
        * gas engine (with a billion moving parts)
        * oil pan and filter
        * intake and filter
        * exhaust, muffler, cats
        * belt-driven air conditioning and heater (not an issue in a caterham, of course)
        * belt-driven power-steering
        * optional: radiator, coolant pump and lines, fans
        * optional: gearbox and clutch

        * traction batteries, battery box, and power lines
        * electric motor (with 3 moving parts)
        * power controller and battery management system
        * battery charger (install at home)
        * optional: electric vacuum pump for power brakes (not optional in a passenger vehicle)
        * optional: electric AC compressor and ceramic heater
        * optional: electric power steering
        • 5 Years Ago
        The thing I’d be concerned about is the weight. Same thing that spoils performance in all electric cars…
        • 5 Years Ago
        Really? Have you seen these electric motors? Complicated isn’t the term I’d use. They are much easier than conventional engine IMO.