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The new model would be built in a new factory at greater volumes than the Seven (Laishley does not dismiss an estimate of 1000 cars a year) and would have a higher base price than today’s Sevens. Laishley is careful not to give an on-sale date for the new model’s launch, but Takahashi’s keenness to see it reach production suggests it could be unveiled as soon as 2026 – earlier than the Seven EV, which is likely to be held back until demand dictates. 

Laishley, whose 25-year Nissan career has brought lots of marketing nous plus excellent relations with OEMs he might potentially like to use as suppliers, has been doing a great deal of thinking and planning about the new car. “This will definitely not be a Seven,” he said. “But it’ll have all the characteristics today’s Caterham customers know well: lightness, simplicity, agility and performance. Like the Seven, it will have a steel spaceframe (but a different one) because they’re easy to modify in production if you need to. It will have a six-panel enveloping body in aluminium or carbon: two sills, two doors plus clamshell openings front and rear. 

“It will be prettier and more modern than a Seven – those will be big points of distinction – and maybe it will have a roof. We’re designing it as a pure EV from the start, with rear drive only, and it will be registered under SVA rules.” 

Laishley says, in true Caterham spirit, he would like to have launched the car without power steering, ABS or airbags, although the instant grunt of EVs might encourage him to relent on traction control. But the reality is it will need power steering, ABS and the rest because it is a ‘new type’ SVA-eligible car so has to offer functions like forward collision and lane departure warnings. Even so, Laishley is determined that the car will be as light and simple as it can be, probably with basic cockpit furniture and instrumentation that feeds mostly off the driver’s smartphone. “There will be very few embedded dials,” he said. “Maybe none.” 

Meanwhile, Laishley insists he is in no hurry to launch a Seven EV, fearing the new car might not deliver the existing icon’s “must-haves” of lightness, simplicity and fun. Laishley said: “From the beginning, Caterham’s history has centred around repurposing OEM components in an imaginative way. If I want to do that with a Seven EV, where do I get lightness? We’re still in the early days of small EV development. Parts are conservative and heavy. We’re never going to want to launch a 1000kg Seven. We’d rather not do it.” 

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