As Lotus embraces heft, Caterham keeps it light


When Caterham Cars bought the rights to build Colin Chapman’s iconic Seven, the small British company also embraced his ethos. That’s how, in the same week that we shared our test drive of the 5500-pound Lotus Eletre, Caterham unveiled a new featherweight electric coupe.

The Project V, which could go into production as soon as 2025, keeps things light and simple. The swoopy bodywork, sculpted by new design director Anthony Janarelly, is all carbon fiber and sits on an aluminum chassis to save weight. There’s definitely something of the Alpine A110 and Porsche Cayman in the styling, which tells you everything you need to know about Caterham’s ambitions.

Simplicity is the order of the day, with a compact 55 kWh battery and a single 272-hp electric motor driving the rear wheels. That gives the Project V the potential to reach 62 mph from rest in 4.5 seconds (the same as the Eletre S) and a top speed of 143 mph. The company is targeting a range of 249 miles and says that, thanks to clever thermal management of the battery, a 20-80 percent charge can be achieved in 15 minutes on a 150 kW DC fast charger.

The Project V concept is a 2+1 affair with a central rear seat, although a 2+2 interior layout would be optional, says Caterham. The cabin is pretty minimalist with a center screen offering smartphone mirroring for entertainment and navigation, plus a digital instrument cluster for the driver. Thankfully, there are conventional controls for ventilation and other features.

It sits on double wishbone suspension with fully adjustable geometry, plus there’s electric power steering and disc brakes all round to ensure it drives with the agility Caterham customers by now expect. Normal, Sport, and Sprint modes adjust power delivery and steering calibration at the driver’s request.

The car’s construction and relatively small battery combine to keep its weight to less than 2500 pounds, and Caterham reckons the price needn’t be too heavyweight either, suggesting £80,000 ($103,000) as a starting point.

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


Check out the Hagerty Media homepage so you don’t miss a single story, or better yet, bookmark it. To get our best stories delivered right to your inbox, subscribe to our newsletters

Click below for more about
Read next Up next: The tools of the Formula 1 pits—including the ones you can buy


    They already make those…It’s fun watching them dominate at my local Autocross events.

    This is actually really interesting because they’re getting close to “normal” with weight and power. I’m curious if they are using the new Boxster layout, battery pack not in the floor…but with the rear seats perhaps not? I really thought Lotus was going to be the first ones selling a properly balanced EV sports car.

    Looks fabulous. Sounds perfect. Great leap forward. Can’t wait to try one. But, Electric assisted steering!? In a 2,500 lb. British sports coupe? Why in heaven’s name would they spoil the direct feel of non-powered steering in a light weight, tossable machine like this?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *