Elsewhere, a 322bhp electric motor and limited-slip differential are packaged where the boot would usually be and incorporate a Seven’s de Dion rear suspension.
This is more compact than a fully independent wishbone set-up as used by the Seven CSR, claims Caterham. The biggest aim is a 150kW charge rate, which, Swindon says, is feasible because it has dielectric fluids cooling the battery pack.
The pack is the “lion’s share of development” and heat management is the challenge. The system is a “slight evolution of what we have on the shelf”, said Swindon managing director Raphaël Caillé, and Caterham has come “with an aggressive target weight”.
That gives acceleration “a little bit of a loss with weight, a little bit of a win with torque, and a big win with gear changes”, of which the electric-powered Seven will have none. Alongside charging speed, weight is the big problem for track-based EVs.
Overall, the electric Seven tips the scales at 701kg, up from the 626kg of the petrol Seven 485 – or about the same as carrying a passenger, said Laishley – and the prototype will not have its own on-board charger.
“We wanted to build a car to give us the best chance to match something we produce today as a reference,” said Laishley.