Matthew Jones07 March 2012

Geneva 2012: electric Morgan Plus E

Hammond’s favourite manufacturer fits a proper gearbox to an EV. Again…

Well this is jolly interesting: Morgan's unveiled a car with a very old body style, very new electric motor and very unusual five-speed gearbox. As in five actual gears. On an EV. Like a proper car.

It's called the Plus E and it's based on a tailored version of Morgan's lightweight aluminium chassis. But where you'd normally find a BMW V8 underneath the Plus Eight bodywork, there's a Zytek 70kW (94bhp) 221lb ft electric motor.

Which is odd. But not nearly as odd as the conventional five-speed manual ‘box hiding in the transmission tunnel. There's a clutch pedal, too, though Morgan says its optional - because the motor provides torque from zero speed you can choose to leave it engaged when stopping then pulling away, just like a normal auto.

Zytek Automotive managing director, Neil Heslington, says: "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."

This is, alas, a mere concept, but Morgan assures us it'll be built if enough people wave their cheque books around. And they've told us to standby for a possible second concept, which may feature alternative battery technologies (this one uses normal Lithium Ion jobbies) and a sequential ‘box.

This isn't the first time Morgan's played around with manual gearboxes and electric motors, though. If you've got an excellent memory and/or Google, you may remember that it had a go before, but thought it'd need to slice out two of the gears to make up for the car's wide torque band.

Does a manual electric Morgan tickle your pickle, TopGear.communists?

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