Caterham electric sports car with roof under consideration

The last time Caterham tried to make a sports car with an enclosed cab didn’t go as planned because the C120 ended up being canned. Renault bought the project and went on to create the mid-engined coupe Alpine A110 against the Porsche 718 Cayman while the British brand continued exclusively with open-top vehicles. A new two-seater that could also have a roof but no combustion engine is currently being considered.

Caterham CEO Bob Laishley broke the news in an interview with Autocar where he says the EV will complement the Seven rather than replace it. The head honcho went on to say it would be more attractive and modern than a traditional sports car. If the green light for production, the model will be built on a special electric car platform with rear-wheel drive configuration.

In an ideal scenario, Laishley says the two-seater EV weighs less than 700 kilograms (1,543 pounds) and delivers what he calls 20-15-20 performance. What he means by that is that you get 20 minutes of vigorous drive around the race track on a full charge before charging the battery for 15 to try again for another 20 minutes. If Caterham can’t ship this with electric partner from Seven, company bosses say it’s not even worth launching the vehicle.

The backbone of the EV is expected to be a steel spaceframe combined with a lightweight body made of aluminum or carbon fiber. A Caterham electric sports car is being envisioned with front and rear clamshells and Laishley suggested it could have a roof. It’s too early to say whether he’s referring to a coupe with a fixed panel, a targa top, or a different configuration.

A hybrid powertrain has been ruled out as it would add weight, with Laishley saying that having two separate powertrains would be a “terrible compromise.” About EVs, Autocar speculate it won’t hit the road until 2028 or so. Meanwhile, the Caterham 7 sticks with combustion engines even if a ban on sales of new ICE-powered cars in the UK goes into effect in 2030 (five years earlier than in the EU). Laishley said demand from the export market was quite strong.

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