The Morgan +E programme will give birth to two new prototypes, both based on the Aero Supersport’s aluminium chassis, but without the BMW-sourced 4.8-litre V8 engine, which will be replaced by a new derivative of Zytek’s electric powertrain.
Zytek first experimented with a high-performance electric sportscar back in 1997 when it converted a Lotus Elise to electric drive, which led to engineering programmes with both Chrysler and General Motors, followed shortly after by a deal with Daimler to develop and build electric powertrains for the Smart Fortwo ED (electric drive).
The Morgan concept models will make use of a new derivative of Zytek’s 70kW (94bhp) 300Nm electric powertrain, which the company says is already supplied to U.S. automakers. The electric motor will be fed by a Li-Ion battery pack integrated into the Aero's aluminium structure.
Bizarrely, the concept's electric powertrain will drive through a conventional manual gearbox.
“Keeping the motor in its sweet spot will help it use energy more efficiently, which will increase the vehicle’s range,” explains Zytek’s engineering programme manager Neil Cheeseman. “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.”
Morgan said that 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.