While driving fast cars is fun, it would be even more enjoyable if they ran on clean alternative energy. With that in mind, the Morgan Motor Company and a consortium of British technology specialists are developing a new, high-performance electric sportscar prototype. The Morgan +E programme will deliver two engineering concept vehicles in early 2012 based on the proven Aero Supersport’s aluminium chassis. Partly funded by a £100,000 grant from the Niche Vehicle Network CR&D Programme, the new electric sportscar will promote “the development and application of new technology to take advantage of the increasing market opportunities for lower carbon vehicles”.
“This is an exciting investigation into the potential for a zero-emissions Morgan with near supercar performance,” says 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.”
The Aero Supersport’s 4.8 litre BMW V8 engine will be replaced by a new version of Zytek’s high power-density 70kW (94bhp) 300Nm electric power train, which will run a conventional manual gearbox. The compact, lightweight unit will be installed in the transmission tunnel and will require just three additional connections (cooling water, high voltage electrics and low voltage electrics). It will be powered by a Li-Ion battery pack that will be integrated into the vehicle’s aluminium structure, offering a lightweight and powerful solution. The powertrain and batteries will be mounted in a bonded and riveted aluminium chassis constructed by precision metal former Radshape, based on an evolution of the design already manufactured by the company for Morgan’s Supersports range.
Zytek actually have experience in electric sports cars, having first developed one back in 1977. Back then he company converted a Lotus Elise to electric drive, which won notable awards and led to Chrysler and General Motors developing similar systems and a long-term relationship with Daimler to develop and build electric powertrains for the smart fortwo ed (electric drive). “With maximum torque from zero rpm, electric power can deliver an immediate, thrilling driving experience,” said Zytek’s sales and marketing director Steve Tremble. “Our intention is to demonstrate drivability, performance and refinement that comfortably meets the expectations of Morgan’s most discerning customers.”
Electric power, high speed, and a manual gearbox? As a UK driver, I’m there! Now if only I could afford one.