► Concept of Project V
► Doesn’t look like Seven
► Official show at Goodwood
This is Project V, a new concept from Caterham that could mark a new chapter for the small British brand. With a roof and curved wheels – plus an all-electric powertrain, the A110-sized sports car is our first glimpse of what Caterham could (and might need to) look like in a post-electric world.
The concept made its global debut at the Goodwood Festival of Speed - and it comes after months of work – but for CEO Bob Laishley and Caterham’s new chief designer Anthony Jannarelly, the journey to showrooms has only just begun. Laishley told CAR at the Festival of Speed: ‘We want this in production in 2026.’
In this article you’ll find everything you need to know about Project V, as well as what’s next for the new electric sports car.
CAR saw the new Project V several months ago, but Goodwood marked the car’s first public appearance. According to Laishley, the response has been overwhelmingly positive: ‘It’s been frequent inside with everyone wanting to come and check out the car,’ he said. ‘A few people have said it is more work here that some of the big stands, which is a great testimony to the car really.’
It doesn’t look like a Caterham
It doesn’t look like a Seven at all, but it promises to follow Caterham’s corporate ethos – so in theory it looks like a Caterham after all: ‘The design of the Caterham Seven is simple and compact, designed for its intended function, light and fun to drive ,’ said the brand’s new chief designer Anthony Jannarelly. ‘For Project V, we apply this philosophy to the design of the sports coupé to create an attractive and timeless silhouette. Every element has to defend itself from a weight point of view to maintain agility and improve driver engagement.’
Because of that, the silhouette of the Project V is determined solely by what’s underneath. The result is a car with flowing lines, with small fenders and a face not dissimilar to Janarelly’s other creation, the Model 1. There is a good design all around the car, with Caterham’s chief designer also touching on elements of the old Lotus Elan. Kazuho Takahashi, president and CEO of VT Holdings and owner of Caterham, has a soft spot for the classic British sports car.
What’s down then?
Project V uses a 200kW motor on the rear axle and combines it with a 55KWh battery. 0-62mph takes 4.5 seconds before a top speed of 143mph, and Caterham engineers have targeted a WLTP range of 249miles. Charging from 20-80% should only take 15 minutes provided you have a 150kW charger, and it’s also possible to have the Caterham in a 2+1 or 2+2 configuration.
However, the important figure here is the weight; Caterham has targeted a curb weight of 1190kg, making it one of the lightest EVs on the market. That featherweight figure has been achieved with a composite carbon and aluminum chassis.
So what’s next?
After being revealed, Caterham’s Project V will now undergo a feasibility study, as the brand increases weight and builds the business case for a new lightweight EV. Cost savings have been considered even in the concept, but now there will be an even greater aim to make the car as easy to produce as possible.
“Project V is not just a concept or design study, we have done engineering and production feasibility studies in the development process,” Laishley said. ‘Project V fulfills our ambition to grow the company in a sustainable way and explore electrification at the same time. Subject to the next phases of development and technical capabilities, Project V could be brought to market in late 2025 or early 2026 with a target price starting at less than £80,000.’
Caterham’s new chief designer will also play a key role in the production line: ‘I’m like a shaper,’ Jannarelly told CAR at Goodwood. ‘I need to make sure this shape goes into production.’
‘You’ll see a slight change in the rear edge, for example. I have to make everything that (we do) be close to what we show today. That’s important because otherwise people will say it’s not the car we saw two years ago (when it goes into production). So that’s always a challenge.’
Project V should be here in just two years – a timeline from blueprint to road – but Laishley is confident it can be successful. And that’s partly down to the Caterham’s size: ‘Based on my experience working with the big OEMs, the Caterham is lighter,’ Laishley admits. ‘Decisions can be made more quickly and implemented more quickly.
Hence the infotainment system. We just decided it’s mirroring to the iPhone. We can make that bold decision, at a bigger OEM the discussion will be good, we need our embedded system because we can’t rely on that.’
Who will buy this?
If this Caterham EV makes it into production – and there’s every chance it will – it remains to be seen who it will appeal to: ‘The V project is not a replacement for the Seven, it’s a support, and we believe that by maintaining Caterham’s core values, it will appeal to our existing customers and attracting new fans to the brand,’ Laishley explained.
‘Using a more functional coupé body style and utilizing the packaging advantages of an EV, this is a car that works just as well for trips to the shops, or the school run, as it does for Sunday morning sprints.’