The Morgan Plus E has a traditional Morgan body along with the first surprise of an electric powertrain and the second surprise of a five-speed manual gearbox.
The Plus E has been designed by Morgan with the support of British technology specialists Zytek and aluminium fabrication specialist Radshape. The project has been funded by the Niche Vehicle Network and at this stage it’s not for sale as it’s just a demonstrator.
Most electric cars have a single-speed transmission, but Zytek claims that having five gears improves efficiency and performance – as well as injecting a refreshing element of driver involvement into an electric car.
The Morgan performed well on Millbrook’s hill route, feeling like a convincing overall package for a first-stage demonstrator. An unusual feature was that although the clutch is used to change through the gears, shifting from neutral to first doesn’t require the clutch at all.
The Plus E is based on a tailored version of Morgan’s lightweight aluminium platform chassis clothed in the revised ‘traditional’ body from the BMW V8-powered Plus 8.
Power is delivered by a new derivative of Zytek’s 70kW (94bhp) 300Nm electric engine. Mounted in the transmission tunnel, the Zytek unit drives the rear wheels. There are now plans for another development car with a sequential gearbox.
The collaborative research and development project is part-funded by a £100,000 grant from the UK government’s Niche Vehicle Network Programme, which is managed by CENEX to promote the development and commercialisation of new low-carbon vehicle technologies.
Zytek’s other projects include the development and build of electric powertrains for the smart fortwo ed (electric drive). Zytek was also the first company to race a hybrid at Le Mans and it supplied technology for the first KERS-equipped Formula 1 car to win a grand prix.
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