Firm expected to reveal plans for an electric race car within six months
19 January 2010

Caterham will reveal its plans to go electric within six months, company boss Ansar Ali has told Autocar.

Ali first revealed at last year’s Tokyo motor show that the firm was looking into the feasibility of electric Caterhams and he told Autocar that talks are ongoing with several parties interested in working with his company.

“We’re trying to pull together some partners and there a lot who want to be associated with us,” he said. “We want to do this properly and with the right partners, not just stick batteries in the back of a Seven.”

Ali said that the firm had yet to be fully convinced that electric technology could work in a Caterham and it would be up to Caterham’s partners to convince him otherwise.

“We’re still at a very early stage,” he said. “We will consider it if it works although it would never be a volume product.”

Ali said that any initial electric Caterham would be a racing car and not a road-going Seven.

“We have no plans to produce an electric Seven,” he said. “We’re looking at motorsport applications but there’s uncertainty as to whether an electric car could handle race conditions. Is there the technology yet to support it?”

Ali believes that the shift towards electric cars will be inevitable if legislation penalises manufacturers for having high emissions across its range.

“If legislation goes that way, we will change what we find acceptable,” he said. “I sense that this is something that is not going to go away as the volume manufacturers have embraced it. With this momentum, it’s inevitable.”

Mark Tisshaw

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