Electric Morgan unveiled at Geneva
The Plus E project was funded by a £100,000 grant from the UK government’s Niche Vehicle Network Programme, managed by Cenex. It uses Morgan’s lightweight aluminium chassis and the body from the Plus 8 also launched at Geneva. Power is supplied by an electric motor with 94bhp and 221lb.ft, manufactured by Zytec – the company behind the drivetrain of the smart fortwo electric drive.
Unusually, this is mated to a five-speed manual gearbox and drives the rear wheels. Morgan said the instant torque of the motor allows the car to creep away from traffic lights like an automatic, and the clutch doesn’t need to be disengaged when stationary.
Zytek Automotive managing director Neil Heslington explained: ‘A multi-speed transmission allows the motor to spend more time operating in its sweet spot, where it uses energy more efficiently, particularly at high road speeds. It also allows us to provide lower gearing for rapid acceleration and will make the car more engaging for keen drivers.’
Two engineering concepts will be delivered, one with a five-speed manual box and lithium ion batteries, while the second will use an alternative battery technology and sequential gearbox. The latter is predicted to be closer to the production version.
Morgan operations director Steve Morris, said: ‘We wanted to see how much fun you can have in an electric sportscar, so we have built one to help us find out. The Plus E combines Morgan’s traditional look with high-technology construction and a powertrain that delivers substantial torque instantly at any speed. With the manual gearbox to increase both touring range and driver involvement, it will be a fantastic car to drive.’