With both the European Union and the United Kingdom set to ban internal-combustion engines next decade, Caterham, like most automakers that primarily operate in those regions, is preparing for an electric future.
That future will include an electric version of the iconic Seven track car, plus a more mainstream open-top sports car that will be reveasled in months, Autocar reported on Wednesday following an interview with Caterham’s new design chief, Anthony Jannarelly, the French designer behind the Jannarelly Design-1 and the supercars of Dubai’s W Motors.
The new sports car, thought to be the desire of Kazuho Takahashi, a former racing driver whose vehicle distribution company in Japan, VT Holdings, acquired Caterham in 2021, will feature the same type of steel space-frame construction as the Seven, but with modifications appropriate for a car designed to drive outside of a racetrack. Buyers are expected to have the choice of an aluminum or carbon-fiber body.
For the exterior design, Jannarelly has hinted at the same combination of retro and futuristic cues found on his Design-1 sports car, which features a shape inspired by Italian sports cars of the 1950s and ’60s but with plenty of modern cues blended in.
“My vision for a future Caterham will explore my retro-futuristic design philosophy,” he said in a statement. “I want to take the best of both worlds—the elegance and simplicity of the past combined with the proportions and precision details of a modern sports car.”
Caterham came close to launching a mainstream sports car last decade. It was being developed alongside the Alpine A110, though Caterham pulled out of the project in 2014 while Alpine went on to launch the A110 in 2017.
While Caterham’s new electric sports car will reportedly debut later this year, production isn’t expected to start until around 2026.
Any electric Seven will only arrive after that. Part of the reason is that that current EV technology is still too heavy for a car like the Seven.