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The future of Caterham Car Company


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A NYTimes article recently said elec cars = 2.5x more elec demand. No idea where that # came from tho, seems way high. I also saw an article that said Japan was thinking of adding 27 new coal fired furnaces. So much for reducing the carbon footprint. And speaking of nuclear energy, how soon before it gets talked up again in the USA? New, smaller plants,etc.

 

Our Chevy Volt has 25K all elec miles on it (and 10K gas miles)and its range is only 40 miles summer, 29 winter. It turns out that most of our car use is local. All recharging came from a standard house 120 volt outlet. We are never out of range, thx to the gas engine, that works as a generator to recharge the battery. Sounds like the best of both worlds, but has been cancelled.

 

It seems hybrid cars just drive some people nuts. When we got our Prius, the pickup crowd acted like we had painted “surrender” on our bumper. Much aggressive driving towards us. But we averaged 50+ mpg, the car was bullet proof, nothing ever broke. It was retired at around 189K miles thanks to a death by a thousand cuts by our two, then teen age, sons. Talk about abuse. If it had been an animal the authorities would have removed it from our home....

Edited by Kitcat
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A NYTimes article recently said elec cars = 2.5x more elec demand. No idea where that # came from tho, seems way high. I also saw an article that said Japan was thinking of adding 27 new coal fired furnaces. So much for reducing the carbon footprint. And speaking of nuclear energy, how soon before it gets talked up again in the USA? New, smaller plants,etc.

 

Our Chevy Volt has 25K all elec miles on it (and 10K gas miles)and its range is only 40 miles summer, 29 winter. It turns out that most of our car use is local. All recharging came from a standard house 120 volt outlet. We are never out of range, thx to the gas engine, that works as a generator to recharge the battery. Seems like the best of both worlds, but has been cancelled.

 

Full disclosure upfront: I'm not a particularly electric supporter. I'll embrace it as the time comes, but I will play devils advocate for now.

 

Not sure what NYT article you had in mind but I just came across this when looking for it

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/29/climate/gm-electric-cars-power-grid.html

 

Generate More Juice

 

If every American switched over to an electric passenger vehicle, analysts have estimated, the United States could end up using roughly 25 percent more electricity than it does today. To handle that, utilities will likely need to build a lot of new power plants and upgrade their transmission networks.

 

Not reading the entire article now, but that doesn't seem like an overbearing task especially considering the shift will be very gradual rather than dramatic.

 

Here is a state by state map projection for potential electric load increase for those curious.

 

https://theconversation.com/switching-to-electric-vehicles-could-save-the-us-billions-but-timing-is-everything-106227

Edited by Vovchandr
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I just heard a fellow from the Manhattan Institute who presented information to congress last week. His point was the battery mining and production represent a much larger impact on the Earth than fossil fuels. The difference is the US is simply exporting the harmful emissions to other countries, but not to worry, the US can boast greenhttps://www.manhattan-institute.org/mines-minerals-and-green-energy-reality-check

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I love my classic cars and my track/race cars. But I also look forward to having an electric car for my daily driver once they make suitable tow vehicles. And I plan to convert my wife's 1966 Volvo p1800 to electric because it will make the car much more useable and convenient for her. I just don't understand all of the emotion around hybrids and electric cars. On top of all that, the simple fact is that it is much easier and cheaper to control emissions from a few stationary sources than it is from hundreds of millions of mobile sources.

 

I'm not at all worried about cool cars disappearing. Caterham (and Birkin and Westfield, etc) built their business selling obsolete Lotuses when Lotus can barely stay alive making Lotuses. I'm pretty sure Caterham is unkillable.

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The companies that make engines for ships are building engines to run on ammonia and using wind power to generate hydrogen is a way to store energy and power engines. There are electric drones flying around without batteries. I do not remember the name but it isn't battery. The process has been known for sometime. It is a chemical reaction that produces power and it is as energy dense as gasoline. Once the device stops producing electricity it can't be recharged. The device has to be recycled. There are some very light electric motors being made for drones. It seems plausible to me a toy like a 7 could be made electric without changing its lightness, but you would have limited range. Real transportation faces some big hurdles. Engines with some form of energy storage are probably going to be slightly more efficient and as clean as electric cars. The grid in major metropolitan areas of the US will not support the increase and there is a lot of opposition to expanding it.

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IF it came right down to it, Cat could probably make a light enough car if they shot for a range of 100 miles. I don't think many hard butts really go further with any regularity. Anyway, I like my noise.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I do not know if it will have speakers, but the University of Sheffield has a EV Caterham. I couldn't download the magazine or get a link. The magazine is called Lowflying and is in the March 2021 edition. I think it is the publication of the 7 club in the UK. 

 

346918906_EVCaterham.thumb.jpg.dc184c833beb553a59b715860cbac204.jpg

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  • 1 month later...

Looks like Caterham just announced an electric model for 2023

 

https://www.pistonheads.com/news/electric-vehicles/all-electric-caterham-seven-promised/44149?fbclid=IwAR3uDA_erAiYSeDEAd9MZio2AC0qxMNsszO7U7Pc09RygB11hq7jvIi7xnY

 

Quote

Caterham says it is developing an all-electric Seven to join its line-up from 2023, as the firm attempts to adapt to incoming emissions and safety regulations. The car is said to retain the ethos and look of its petrol-powered Seven, but uses batteries and an electric motor provided by another OEM. The two-pedal model will likely deliver 620R-grade straight-line performance. 

Speaking to Autocar, Caterham's CEO, Graham Macdonald, said the car will be “very much like a go-kart,” with “rapid acceleration”. He accepted that it’ll be “a different product to drive”, but emphasised that it’ll be “no less exciting, but [instead] exciting in a different way”. Apparently, new owner VT Holdings is supportive of the idea of an EV Caterham to ensure the survival of the brand “for another 50 years”. In 2023, the company will officially reach its first half a century.

 

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I wonder if they will keep the looks identical or put a twist/accent here and there to make it stand out. Obviously the radiator opening will be redundant but I'm sure they will keep it. Other vents in the bonnet will not be necessary but are a part of the look. 


With one or two rear motors going into the back the entire engine bay will be for batteries and other controls. There will also no longer be a need for a transmission/drive shaft tunnel but I doubt they would remove that as it's part of the cockpit character.

 

Should be interesting anyway

 

So what's peoples opinion? Should they keep it looking as identical as possible but be EV or actually have some distinctive characteristics to separate it?

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7 hours ago, Vovchandr said:

So what's peoples opinion? Should they keep it looking as identical as possible but be EV or actually have some distinctive characteristics to separate it?

Depends on the motive why anyone would prefer EV over gas for a Seven. I can't think of a single reason, it's not environmentally better since for most it's only an occasional use vehicle. Maybe virtue signaling? If so, they would want it different enough so people can see it's a EV? It's a mystery to me.

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I love the idea. Really. Of course, owning a Caterham with a Cosworth BDA, I have an appreciation for the auditory pleasures of sporty cars (BDA, air-cooled Porsche flat-6, flat-plane crankshaft V-8...). But - we need to spit less CO2 into the atmosphere if we're going to keep this planet habitable for our great-grandkids, so I need to get my ears out of the 20th century and get with the program. I see wonderful opportunities for Caterham to design an electric,  Se7en-esque sports car. Could have incredible performance, and aesthetically there's a lot that could be done to evoke the Se7en spirit in a more modern electric car. Keep it under $50k and I'll line up to buy one, once most tracks have sufficient charging infrastructure. 

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9 minutes ago, BlueBDA said:

I love the idea. Really. Of course, owning a Caterham with a Cosworth BDA, I have an appreciation for the auditory pleasures of sporty cars (BDA, air-cooled Porsche flat-6, flat-plane crankshaft V-8...). But - we need to spit less CO2 into the atmosphere if we're going to keep this planet habitable for our great-grandkids, so I need to get my ears out of the 20th century and get with the program. I see wonderful opportunities for Caterham to design an electric,  Se7en-esque sports car. Could have incredible performance, and aesthetically there's a lot that could be done to evoke the Se7en spirit in a more modern electric car. Keep it under $50k and I'll line up to buy one, once most tracks have sufficient charging infrastructure. 

EV cars take more carbon to make than gas cars. You have to run 10-30k miles to break even depending on a bunch of stuff. I don't think it's any kind of savior to the environment that its being made out to be. It'll be a horse and carriage for me next.

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2 hours ago, sf4018 said:

Depends on the motive why anyone would prefer EV over gas for a Seven. I can't think of a single reason, it's not environmentally better since for most it's only an occasional use vehicle. Maybe virtue signaling? If so, they would want it different enough so people can see it's a EV? It's a mystery to me.

 

Honestly, I wouldn't replace my 7 with an EV 7, but as an addition or for people on the market who are looking for something stupid quick and very simple to operate a street legal electric go kart like a 7 or as a dedicated stupid fast track car, I'd be very content with having one. 

 

Not for environmental reasons whatsoever. 

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So how does it handle? Handles like a go cart. Actually it really is a cart, a golf cart. Seriously, there is a niche for an EV7 but hard to say how many will buy in. Maybe an expanded base who would not have been a 7 owner. Side story, I was changing the Pertronix ignitor(7 with a Climax) just yesterday in our condo garage when I heard what sounded like a golf cart behind me, It was the lady with a Tesla who parks along side the Seven. I know they are crazy fast, bit it was just weird.

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Hmmm, a kit car EV. Is the engine going to be separately sourced and installed? Will the vehicle have to comply with all federal safety and environmental requirements, including crash tests? I cant imagine a good outcome for Caterham here, as a company. Or for the resulting vehicle.

 

An electric Caterham will only be lightweight in comparison to the behemoths now being created, en mass, by the mainstream mfgs.

 

It's too depressing to think about.

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My Westfield has a Honda S2000 engine that revs to 9000 rpms and it sounds awesome. I love the feeling of the power building as the rpm's climb and everything gets frantic and fuzzy. It's awesome. It weighs 1220 lbs and makes 230+ hp at the wheels and very few cars will provide such fun and pace.

 

And I'd give it up in a minute for an electric version if the weight can be kept reasonable. Being able to pull out of the driveway at 6:00 without waking the neighbors and launching at the local autocross and not pegging the dB meter and pissing off the people that live nearby would be very cool. Hearing the whine of the motor and the tires straining against the pavement would be awesome. The instant pull out of a tight solo corner and getting thrown down the course would be FTD stuff for sure.

 

And to come home after a blat or day of autocross and plug it in to the solar panel system on my roof to recharge it carbon-free sounds even better.

 

It's coming and I welcome it.

 

dave

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Kitcat said:

Hmmm, a kit car EV. Is the engine going to be separately sourced and installed? Will the vehicle have to comply with all federal safety and environmental requirements, including crash tests? I cant imagine a good outcome for Caterham here, as a company. Or for the resulting vehicle.

 

An electric Caterham will only be lightweight in comparison to the behemoths now being created, en mass, by the mainstream mfgs.

 

It's too depressing to think about.

 

There were talks about it having to comply with new European safety rules such as 

 

"Automakers in Europe are facing a countdown to new European Union type-approval rules, forcing them to install new safety technology on their vehicles if they want to secure permission to sell those autos in the EU and get them registered.

 

These reforms have been approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council of Ministers. They insist that all motor vehicles sold into the EU market (including trucks, buses, vans and SUVs) must be equipped with specified safety features, many from mid-2022. These include intelligent speed assistance, alcohol interlock installation facilitation systems, driver drowsiness and attention-warning systems, advanced driver distraction warning systems, emergency stop signals, reversing detection systems, event data recorders and accurate tire pressure monitoring."

 

So you're right, they would have be sold as kits still in order to skirt rules. Or become something they should never be

Edited by Vovchandr
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3 hours ago, Davemk1 said:

My Westfield has a Honda S2000 engine that revs to 9000 rpms and it sounds awesome. I love the feeling of the power building as the rpm's climb and everything gets frantic and fuzzy. It's awesome. It weighs 1220 lbs and makes 230+ hp at the wheels and very few cars will provide such fun and pace.

 

And I'd give it up in a minute for an electric version if the weight can be kept reasonable. Being able to pull out of the driveway at 6:00 without waking the neighbors and launching at the local autocross and not pegging the dB meter and pissing off the people that live nearby would be very cool. Hearing the whine of the motor and the tires straining against the pavement would be awesome. The instant pull out of a tight solo corner and getting thrown down the course would be FTD stuff for sure.

 

And to come home after a blat or day of autocross and plug it in to the solar panel system on my roof to recharge it carbon-free sounds even better.

 

It's coming and I welcome it.

 

dave

Totally different type of vehicle, I know, but last year I worked the start line at a local autocross, and there was a guy there autocrossing his Tesla Model 3 Performance. It was really something to watch him take off from the start line. No revving, no drama (granted I know that lots of people like revving and drama), and it took off like a silent rocket. It was really cool to watch and (not) hear.

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