A high-performance electric sports car prototype is being developed by the Morgan Motor Company and a consortium of British technology specialists.
The Morgan +E programme is expected to deliver two engineering concept vehicles early in 2012. Both will be based on a development of Aero Supersport’s aluminium chassis with the 4.8-litre BMW V8 replaced by a new derivative of Zytek’s electric powertrain driving through a conventional manual gearbox.
‘This is an exciting investigation into the potential for a zero-emissions Morgan with near-supercar performance,’ said Steve Morris, Morgan’s operations director. ‘By working closely with Zytek and Radshape… we aim to make this a realistic concept that could lead to further developments if demand and other factors prove favourable.’
According to a statement, the prototype Morgan will use a new derivative of Zytek’s 70kW (94bhp) 300Nm electric powertrain. The unit will be installed in the transmission tunnel and will require additional connections for cooling water, high-voltage electrics and low-voltage electrics.
Power will come from a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack integrated into the vehicle’s aluminium structure. The powertrain and batteries will be mounted in a bonded and riveted aluminium chassis constructed by Radshape, based on modifications to the design already manufactured by the company for Morgan’s Supersports range.
Drive from the electric motor is taken through the standard manual gearbox. ‘Keeping the motor in its sweet spot will help it use energy more efficiently, which will increase the vehicle’s range,’ said Neil Cheeseman, Zytek’s engineering programme manager. ‘It also allows us to provide lower gearing for rapid acceleration from pull-away and higher gearing for top speed. It should also make the car more engaging for keen drivers.’
The collaborative research and development project is being part funded by a £100,000 grant from the Niche Vehicle Network CR&D Programme, which is managed by CENEX to provide support and grant funding to groups of companies active in the niche vehicle sector.
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