Manual Gearbox Drives Electric Morgan
Part-funded by a £100,000 grant from the Niche Vehicle Network CR&D programme, managed by the Center for Engineering Excellence (CENEX), the project is one of many given funding to help British companies take advantage of new market opportunities for low-carbon vehicles.
The concept cars will use a new version of the Zytek 94bhp, 221lb-ft electric motor and, unusually, a manual gearbox to help drivers maximise range. This also has the double benefit of allowing for low gearing to improve acceleration off the mark, and higher gearing to take the load off the motor when cruising at speed.
‘This is an exciting investigation into the potential for a zero-emissions Morgan with near supercar performance,’ said Morgan’s Operations Director, Steve Morris.
‘By working closely with Zytek and Radshape, who already have considerable expertise in this field, we aim to make this a realistic concept that could lead to further developments if demand and other factors prove favourable.’
For Zytek, it’s the latest in a long line of electric powertrain conversions. The company started out converting a Lotus Elise in 1997, forming relationships with Chrysler and General Motors and a long-term partnership to develop motors for the smart fortwo electric drive.
Zytek was also the first company to race a hybrid at Le Mans, and supplied kinetic energy recovery systems (KERS) to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team, the first car with the technology to win a Grand Prix. For 2012, a low-cost KERS is being developed and tested by Honda for use in the Super GT series.