Caterham planning to develop electric cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

Before 2009 ends, Caterham promises to unveil a prototype of its projects to develop hybrid and electric powertrains for its cars, and will unveil a prototype before the end of this year. At the Tokyo Motor Show, Caterham stands out since it is one of only three non-Japanese carmakers participating in the exhibit.

Caterham boss Ansar Ali said that with regards to its ongoing EV program, it would begin with a motorsport application, which it sees as a tested for technology.

Caterham's hybrid drivetrain comes from another manufacturer, which can be fitted to its existing engines. Another source supplies the electric drivetrain.

Ali declined to reveal the origin of either system. Caterham intends to begin a one-make race series in 2011 using the electric/hybrid car. It will then use its findings to develop a road car for around 2012.

Ali said that already, it has been receiving accolades from suppliers that say that the Caterham layout is good for an electric car and that reportedly, there's plenty of space under the bonnet.

Ali also disclosed that an electric Seven shouldn't have to endure the weight penalty, as the system being considered should weigh the same as a petrol engine, gearbox and rear axle, and that its performance should be equal to any other Caterham.

Ali added that Caterham is unsure whether or not an alternatively powered Caterham would be a success. While Caterham said that it is uncertain whether its customer base will be receptive, it's anticipating that by 2012 things may have changed.

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