Jump to content

The future of Caterham Car Company


Recommended Posts

With the UK planning to ban sales of gas/diesel vehicles by 2030

 

The UK plans to ban sales of diesel and petrol cars from 2030

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/11/18/the-uk-plans-to-ban-sales-of-diesel-and-petrol-cars-from-2030.html

 

And Jaguar saying they are going full electric as soon as 2025 (*having an electric option for each model*)

https://www.theverge.com/2021/2/15/22284000/jaguar-land-rover-electric-cars-i-pace-2025

 

Where does that leave Caterham and other niche British manufacturers

 

Is there an exemption for small volume productions? Sort of like US has for safety/airbags exceptions for small volume productions?

 

Maybe they can go back to selling kits only as a throw back to the original Lotus/Chapman skirting government rules and regulations.

 

Will there be an all electric 7??? :lurk:

 

Thoughts?

Edited by Vovchandr
Link to post
Share on other sites

Based on a podcast that asked about this with Simon Lambert, Caterham doesn't consider producing an EV as being contrary to their brand and ethos. Link below. They discuss at length.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Based on a podcast that asked about this with Simon Lambert, Caterham doesn't consider producing an EV as being contrary to their brand and ethos. Link below. They discuss at length.

 

Thats a good link

 

I came across this as well

 

https://www.hagerty.co.uk/articles/how-will-britains-boutique-car-makers-survive-the-ev-revolution/

 

Caterahm CEO is quoted as the follows (Late 2020)

 

“The whole ethos of the Seven is to add lightness, and the battery packs add somewhere in the region of 300kg, “MacDonald tells Hagerty, ahead of the government’s announcement of the 2030 ban on petrol and diesel-powered cars. Its range of road cars, based on the diminutive Seven – a car with roots stretching back to the Lotus Seven of the late ’50s – typically weigh between 500 and 600kg.

 

“It would kill the handling characteristics of the Seven,” continues MacDonald. “That’s not to say that we haven’t looked at replacing the Seven’s drivetrain with a battery pack and motors – we know the advantages of electric powertrains, and we have done some work on it. But right now, it just doesn’t fit with the Seven, and we’d also be looking at north of £100,000 (for the cost of electric cars). It’s just not a viable position at the moment.”

 

We don’t have the skill or budget to develop our own electric powertrain, we’re dependent on OEM [original equipment manufacturer] supplies, such as the Ford engines we use currently. With the development that’s going on, I’d like to think that we could talk with our friends at Ford, Nissan or anyone else – maybe even within the next five years. It [electric powertrains] doesn’t fit the ethos of Caterham now, but I have no doubt that it will do in the future

 

So Caterham is hoping for an exception but isn't sure whether Electric is feasible or affordable for customers.

 

Atom is moving along on a partnership program to develop some 1100hp beast.

 

 

 

Personally? If an electric Caterham 7 came to be and I was in a position to buy it, it wouldn't be my first choice but I'd support it. Unlike a full size car an electric 7 would really be quite go kart like with the open concept and instant on acceleration. (for a track that is)

 

For the street I'd be hard pressed to have strong feeling towards an electric 7. An electric regular vehicle just makes more sense as a muted commuter/daily.

Link to post
Share on other sites
With the UK planning to ban sales of gas/diesel vehicles by 2030

 

 

This is the same British government that took 5 years to eff up a Brexit that is destroying the British economy. The time since 1/1/2021 has seen the largest drop in UK economic activity in something like 300 years. There is no chance that is going to happen by 2030.

 

People forget that you have to charge an electric car. So you have to build infrastructure to do it - not just at rest stops but at people's homes or other centralized facilities. A gas station relies on fast throughput of customers to make the facility work. Will that work for a charging facility where charging takes time? In the utility space there is already a tectonic shift going on to move from coal fired powerplants to gas/renewables (wind/solar/tidal/etc) and that just replacing existing capacity and not expanding capacity exponentially to accommodate the demand need. It can take over a decade to build a gas fired power station. It can take 2 decades to build a nuclear power plant. It takes years to plan out wind farms and solar farms. Even then the NIMBY brigade don't want these anywhere near them so it can be challenging to find a location acceptable that passes environmental impact tests. Companies will only invest in infrastructure if there is a return on investment and their timelines to build plants are far slower than the governments.

 

Then you need to work out the payment model. Currently, a lot of the city/rest stop charging is free to the consumer. It is paid for in taxes or in the purchase price of a Tesla (in the case of their superchargers). Once users start to get charged for charging their cars then lack of convenience/time to charge/cost complaints will surface. Electricity is also subject to pricing issues - the spot price for power exceeded $1 per kw yesterday in Texas. To put that in perspective, charging an electric car to capacity just cost $100. How many consumers will want to pay that to charge a car after the premium they paid for an electric car?

 

Anyway, has no one realized that the vehicle exhaust emissions on an electric vehicle are still being emitted? They are being emitted at some power station which (for the most part) is not as clean for emissions as individual vehicles. Ok the proportion of renewables electricity generation is growing but is relatively expensive generating technology compared with the alternatives.

 

So it is easy to make grand sweeping statements but its a lot harder to execute and a lot lot harder to make the financial economics work. Electric vehicles will have a place but there will be gasoline vehicles around for as long as I am alive. Caterham's biggest issue is the evolving safety landscape in that exceptions for kit cars will be harder to gain for registration. In the last 10 years, the window has been tightening in the US, Europe, Australia and Japan. In another 10 years I expect they will be restricted to their home market for road going vehicles and will be track day toys elsewhere.

Edited by Croc
Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike,

Couldn't agree more with all you said. Nobody ever talks about where all the electricity is going to come for to charge all those batteries. And don't even get me started on autonomous vehicles. The legal and ethical considerations for them are never ending. Don't expect to see them in my lifetime either. Sure as hell hope not.

 

Oh- and what happens with all the batteries. Talk about hazardous waste.

 

Jim

Link to post
Share on other sites

I was going to say what Croc said, but less coherently:). I think the GM plan to be all elec by 2030 is corporate malpractice/ suicide. GMmakes an electric called the Bolt. They can’t give them away. So based on that they are going 100% electric? Wonder how many they will sell in Texas. The USA is about to become Cuba(car wise, calm down YellowSS:)). In the sense that everyone will be repairing and fixing gas models to keep them on the road. There is so much wrong with this all elec plan. And understand, I hate pollution and don’t think global warming is a liberal hoax. I think a more measured approach is needed. Back on topic: it will be interesting to see how this impacts Caterham.Hopefully they will skate by this electric craze, just like all the other regs they currently skirt.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Kit Kat. No worries here about global warming. I’ll drive my v8 F150 and burn my 109 octane race gas just going round and round in my two Caterham just to piss off all the Prius drivers. I’ll use up every carbon credit they have and then some. I’ve got 4 of my 5 fireplaces on and a fire pit burning and a brisket in the smoker.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Another issue lies with the sources of raw materials needed to manufacture millions of batteries:

 

https://www.automotiveworld.com/articles/risky-business-the-hidden-costs-of-ev-battery-raw-materials/

 

 

Exactly. By noting the raw material sourcing issues you surface an additional concern - the environmental costs of electric cars at end of their life are monumental compared with regular internal combustion engined cars being scrapped at the end of their life. Life cycle thinking has not been considered in the push for electric cars.

Edited by Croc
Link to post
Share on other sites
The extra demand on the electric grid it not as high as you would think, only

 

Graham

 

 

30% on a Youtube video or 40-50% if you talk to any one of the various industry bodies for the USA market. Either way, that is a LOT of extra electricity that is required and it costs a truck load of money to build the new power plants that have to start being built immediately if the capacity is to be available by 2030.

 

The UK has a single power market unlike the US, so it can direct the investment in a coordinated fashion to make a decent attempt of making it. But then again the country is run by a Boris....

 

 

Either way, I think Caterham is safe from electric vehicles for the time being. They can afford to wait for electric 'engine' technology and battery technology to emerge and gain mainstream adoption to reduce costs via volume.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Engineering Explained is one of the leading educational channels on YouTube with 2.5 million subscriber, you should review his channel he explains some cool automotive stuff. He based his numbers on the preposterous MPGE number. The auto industry found the real MPGE number so revolting they lobbied HARD to get the number fuzzed, the original MPGE number was about 275 MPGE it was revised by politicians down to about 100 MPGE. Then you have the advances in technology like digital batteries. I could have a car with a 3000 mile range you could drive across the USA without recharging https://www.forbes.com/sites/quickerbettertech/2020/12/13/battery-breakthroughsand-other-small-business-tech-news/?sh=18a35b433700. Electric cars are coming get over it.

 

Graham

Link to post
Share on other sites
Electric cars are coming get over it.

 

I haven't seen anyone say they aren't coming. I've seen respectful comments questioning both the energy infrastructure's ability to support the planned timelines of the UK government and GM, and the claims of zero emissions given the nature of energy production in many parts of the world coupled with the environmental impact of an electric car's lifecycle. Both valid questions. Most problems are solvable in time, but they first must be recognized as problems.

 

As an alternative to electric propulsion, Porsche plans to trial a synthetic fuel that is backward compatible with exiting ICE powerplants. Might prove too good to be true (start up costs, price to consumer, and production capacity are just a few open questions) but it's an interesting development to watch.

 

Synthetic fuelled cars as clean as electric cars, says Porsche | evo

 

 

-John

Link to post
Share on other sites

Remember when hybrid cars were the in thing? That didn't turn out well. Same for "clean diesel" in Europe. Electric cars are just he latest way to destroy the planet. I just can't see gas cars going away, but it would make sense if Caterham developed an electric version though, at least for political cover, but it could also be a good seller too.

Edited by sf4018
Link to post
Share on other sites

Problem with an electric Caterham is weight. Much less of an issue for trucks and SUVs. I’m adding a Rivian to the driveway this year and it’s curb weight is near identical to the AMG GLS63 it will replace. Except it gets to 60 in 3 seconds vs 4.5 and has even more cargo capacity. I will miss all the fun noises of the big twin turbo V8 but have other fun cars to satisfy my inner 12 year old. Can’t imagine Caterham going full electric and also can’t imagine they will be forced to do so in the next 5 years.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The grid is a problem in most places in the US. The variable load on the electric grid is heating and cooling. Unless you want it to be like California and there are periods that the power isn't available. The YouTube video talks about time of use rates because they know the grid can't support it. On a Peak summer day in the north east there is no way a increase of the magnitude they are talking about can be accommodated. The transmission system is full and straining. I live outside Washington DC. The electric grid is controlled in a pool. The pool is called PJM. Pennsylvania Jersey Maryland (Delaware doesn't count) energy pool. they decide what power plants run and how the power will be delivered to the utilities. In my area when the temperature gets to 90 degrees the distribution system is full, and if there are more than a normal amount of power plants that can't run there is a big issue. On a hot August day it is not uncommon for DC to be 90 degrees at night. We can't build anything in this country. How long do you think the permits will take to build new transmission lines into major US cities? Where is the power going to come from. Are we going to put solar panels over Manhattan? Combines Cycle gas turbine power plants and the most efficient least cost and fastest permitting power plant to build. They are about 50% efficient at turning the potential energy in the fuel to electric power. The power needs to be distributed. The video uses the figure of 25%. The real answer is a little more complicated. It can be 50% on the peak usage day. As you increase the load the resistance goes up. The electric motor in the car probably has a efficiency of about 92%. The drive line losses are probably close to the same for cars with electric motors or engines. Electric might be slightly better. There are reciprocating engines that are 50% efficient. The problem is that the engine achieves that at peak torque and wide open throttle. Look at the energy recovery systems that F-1 cars use. there are Diesel engines that meet emission regulations and are 50% efficient at less than peak torque. That technology spreads the efficiency curve out. Gasoline has 30 times the energy density of the best battery. The energy delivery to turn the wheels is degraded by the efficiency of the engine but the trade off is range or weight with a affect on performance. Has anyone considered the environmental impact of lithium batteries?

Edited by CarlB
Link to post
Share on other sites

While there is A LOT of good factual information in this thread, it feels we are having a 2005 conversation.

 

 

Whether the system can support it or not, the shift is happening.

 

California is a perfect example of somebody who can't support electrification but is spearheading the movement regardless.

 

England has a policy that on it's face either forces Caterham to go full electric or find an exception to survive.

 

Most major manufacturers will have a heavy electric lineup or all electric by 2030. Sales for plug in Electrics is up across the board.

 

Plug in Electric hybrids is currently the very easy shift for most people to get 30 mile electric range and keep gas when needed otherwise.

 

 

 

When US was going to the Moon the government was talking about all the reasons why it can't happen. It spearheaded the mission to impossible and figured things out along the way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...