Home » The Caterham Project V Is An All-Electric Sports Car That Weighs Less Than A Subaru BRZ

The Caterham Project V Is An All-Electric Sports Car That Weighs Less Than A Subaru BRZ

Caterham Project V Topshot
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This year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed is heating up with some exciting debuts, and one of the most exciting comes from the same small outfit that’s been faithfully making its version of the iconic Lotus Seven since 1973. The Caterham Project V is a fully-fledged fixed-roof all-electric coupe that weighs an entire human less than a Subaru BRZ. Yep, it’s a Caterham alright. Oh, and this isn’t some sort of one-off concept — we might actually see a production version on sale in 2025.

Caterham Project V Under The Skin

Vidframe Min Top
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Despite currently being a concept of sorts, the Caterham Project V isn’t just a rolling shell because that’s not what Caterham does. Slung deep within the carbon fiber and aluminum structure sits a small 55 kWh net capacity battery pack, but because the Project V weighs so little and has a small frontal area, it’s allegedly good for 249 miles of range. That works out to 4.52 miles per kWh, right up there with some of the most efficient EVs on sale today. Best of all, because the battery pack isn’t enormous, it doesn’t need the latest and greatest in DC fast charging technology to juice up quickly. A common 150 kWh charger should be fine.

Caterham Project V On The Move

Efficiency is great, but what about power? Will this thing keep up with a Porsche Cayman? Well, a 200-kilowatt motor on the rear axle produces 268 horsepower in common terms, which is good enough for a claimed sub-4.5 second zero-to-62 dash. That’s good enough to stick with a base 718 Cayman on the straights, but in Caterham tradition, the Project V should hold an advantage in the corners.

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Caterham Project V Profile

Adjustable double wishbones all around seem completely on-brand, as do sizable fixed calipers and established Michelin Pilot Sport 4S tires. Because the car only weighs 2,623.5 pounds and has regenerative braking, the discs don’t need to be terribly large, so forgive them for looking small behind staggered 19-inch front and 20-inch rear alloy wheels.

Caterham Project V Front Left Three Quarters

On the outside, the Project V does look like a sports car built in England by a small company, and I mean that as a compliment. There’s a whiff of Noble M600 to the greenhouse, a dab of Ginetta G10 to the front end, and just the faintest memory of MG TF to the pronounced trailing edge of the trunk lid, all buried beneath gorgeously flowing fenders. The Project V lacks the Italianate mid-engined swoopiness of a Lotus Emira, but I reckon that’s a good thing. It’s still a reasonably pretty car, but it also has a distinct identity to it. That’s hard to bottle these days.

Caterham Project V Rear Seat

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On the inside, Caterham has set this thing up as a three-seater in a 2+1 arrangement, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it. Sitting behind the driver in a tiny sports car sucks, so why not ditch one seat and stagger the remaining one for greater space? Should you wish for an extra seat, a 2+2 configuration is available, although the weight gained by the extra place isn’t specified.

Caterham 21

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time Caterham has tried something drastically different from the Seven. Back in 1994, Caterham announced the 21, a gorgeous two-seat roadster marking 21 years of the company. With a zero-to-60 time of 6.7 seconds and a more practical body than the Seven, it should’ve been a hit, but demand never lived up to even the modest 200-unit sales expectations. However, the world has changed a lot over the past few decades, so I have a feeling that the Project V will be different.

Caterham Project V Rear Three Quarter

Caterham claims that when the Project V goes on sale “towards the end of 2025 or early 2026,” it should sticker for “less than £80,000.” That’s a lot of money, but it lands the Caterham Project V in an interesting range. In Britain, that sort of money gets you a Porsche 718 Cayman GTS 4.0 with around £6,700 in options, or a Lotus Emira, and it undercuts the BMW M3. Of course, you likely won’t be able to buy a new combustion-powered Cayman by that point, which sets this new Caterham up for a new frontier. Of course, should you wish to go back, Caterham will also supply you with an iconic Seven. Past and future, one company, same time. Isn’t choice wonderful?

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(Photo credits: Caterham Cars)

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SkyRise
SkyRise
11 months ago

I’m glad to see the enthusiasm on here.

It’s odd to me though. As someone who owns two EVs, and has had them since the Fiat 500e, I feel like EVs are the greatest powertrains in existence for around town, every day driving.

But if I am getting a lightweight sports car for enthusiastic driving up a twisty road, or taking to the track, I still don’t want an EV. I feel like it’s the one niche where ICE motors shine.

This Caterham is absolutely gorgeous though. Jannarelly is one of the best automotive designers working today. The Design 1 is equally epic.

Last edited 11 months ago by SkyRise
Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
11 months ago

This is the kind of shit that Lotus should be doing!

J Ludwik
J Ludwik
11 months ago

They have out-lotussed lotus

Cerberus
Cerberus
11 months ago

Too expensive for me, but the only electric I’d buy and maybe even anything ICE in that price class. I kind of like the Taycan, but it’s still got that Porsche I-should-like-this-but-it-doesn’t-raise-my-interest energy.

Austin Vail
Austin Vail
11 months ago

THIS is IMO the most beautiful car of the last couple decades at least. I’m not even an EV fan but I would rather have this than any modern Porsche, and I like Porsches. I wish it was about a fifth of the price, but carbon fiber and batteries ain’t cheap so I get it.

Apparently this is how you get me to want an EV…

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
11 months ago
Reply to  Austin Vail

This is the first EV I’ve wanted to own since Teslas original Roadster.

I’m still far too poor to buy one, but it’s nice that light EV sports cars are even a thing in the future.

Goof
Goof
11 months ago

Genuinely very cool. Hopefully this is something they can get out there and support properly. I always appreciate Caterham, but outside of Britain actually supporting one long-term is… a thing. Parts are something you can literally wait MONTHS for.

EV sports cars we actually collectively give a shit about will be a thing in time. Hopefully this is a taste of the good things to come, and won’t fall flat if it actually launches.

EVDesigner
EVDesigner
11 months ago

STICK THIS STRAIGHT INTO MY VEINS. Totally not biased

Last edited 11 months ago by EVDesigner
Andy Individual
Andy Individual
11 months ago

Can I get it as a kit and assemble it myself?

…Something I could submit to Shitbox Showdown in ten years when I’m still not finished.

Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
11 months ago

The only thing I’d change is the taillights. They look too Bentley-ish. In proper small-volume English builder tradition they should be parts bin pieces from an economy car.

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago
Reply to  Tim Cougar

Agreed. I think 4C tail lights would be awesome on this.

The upper portion of that front end is gorgeous. THAT is the type of front end the Miata should have had, just get rid of that angular grille work and massive vents underneath and keep it smooth and sexy… and aero.

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
11 months ago

Caterham, you have my attention.

Dar Khorse
Dar Khorse
11 months ago

Pound for pound… it’s about 30:1

Daaaaayum that’s a nice car! I hope other companies adapt that same idea at a lower price point: a reasonable sized electric motor and battery in a light chassis with great aerodynamics. Come on Toyota, Honda, etc. – I know you can do it!

NotFlyingIsNotTrying
NotFlyingIsNotTrying
11 months ago

I LOVE this. The front end gives off baby C-X75 vibes which I love. I doubt this thing will make it stateside, but if it does I will line up and buy one. I also just love the idea of smaller batteries and lighter cars. It’s so stupid that so many legacy automakers are going in the direction of giant batteries and giant cars (and giant cost). I also really like this metallic sage green color, though as always I’d prefer a rich brown interior.

Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago

Absolutely amazing. Maybe my favorite new car of the last 5 years. Seriously. This weighs less than a Toyobaru and is around 300 pounds more than a manual ND Miata. It’s a true lightweight EV with adequate range and more than adequate power and charging capability…not to mention dynamically it should be an absolute hoot with the low center of gravity, more than adequate power, and of course RWD.

You know what else is cool? The 3 seat layout. That extra seat opens up a lot more possibilities. Your furry friend can come along for your weekend trip. You can fit an extra human in a pinch, and the “sell to your spouse” aspect of all of it is legit. “See dear? It has an extra seat! It’s more practical than a 718”.

I’m absolutely swooning right now. The fact that this exists bodes well for the future of enthusiast oriented EVs. Being electric and lightweight are NOT mutually exclusive. I’m also looking forward to the Ioniq 5 N’s debut on Friday although I’m not as optimistic about it due to the EV6 GT not being all that impressive.

Will it be possible to get one here? If so I may start saving….

Last edited 11 months ago by Nsane In The MembraNe
Cryptoenologist
Cryptoenologist
11 months ago

I got an MR2 Spyder a couple years back partly for strategic reasons- it makes everything else look extremely practical. Hopefully when this comes out, and we’ve got a couple of kids, it will be an easy sell to my wife. “Look, it’s modern, it will fit a car seat in back, and it even has a trunk!”

Toecutter
Toecutter
11 months ago

I had a total joygasm reading this article.

While the car likely has twice as much drag as is possible, it is still leaps and bounds ahead of almost everything else on the market judging by its efficiency figures. And it’s so light and nimble.

THIS is what the MG Cyberster should have been. A modestly sized battery CAN allow decent range while allowing the car to stay light. Finally, someone is considering this.

If this weren’t a low-volume company, a mass-produced 5-seater sedan version of this for $20k, with a smaller battery, and a body as slippery as an Aptera, but with the same horsepower, would be something new and interesting and would grab attention.

Last edited 11 months ago by Toecutter
Nsane In The MembraNe
Nsane In The MembraNe
11 months ago
Reply to  Toecutter

I literally thought about you as soon as I saw this article haha

Brandon Forbes
Brandon Forbes
11 months ago

I forgot about the 21. Now I am going to have to try to find one of them! I do love this thing, and I love how production ready this is. It’s not a concept sitting on 36″ wheels with no mirrors, to my eyes this should be able to hit production with no changes whatsoever. 80k GBP is a bit steep, but yeah given the competition it sounds fair. If it hits our shores for under $100k I may have to go for it. You only need one kidney right?

Chronometric
Chronometric
11 months ago

What a fantastic vehicle. Can I get it with 2 person seating and a parcel shelf?

Andy Individual
Andy Individual
11 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

I think that thirds seat is essentially a parcel shelf. Maybe the little bit of padding will quiet your golf clubs from rattling.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
11 months ago

Strong Cayman vibes in the bodywork, which is not a bad thing. This is quite attractive and I hope it a) actually happens and b) is successful.

Alexk98
Alexk98
11 months ago

This might be one of the most intriguing cars announced within the past 2 or so years, full stop. Journos and internet commenters alike have been wondering for years “will a lightweight, fun to drive EV ever exist, and will it actually be good to drive?” and now we might finally get an answer.

I do truly hope this gets a full production run, if only to see if the concept of an EV sports car will truly work. When Lotus of all brands making a a nearly 3 Ton EV SUV, I’m glad Caterham is around and willing to do things properly.

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