Morgan Roadster design gets an electric makeover

British auto maker Morgan is not well known outside a (very wealthy) circle of hardcore European car fans and in the United States.

But among people who live and breathe horsepower, torque and gear ratios, the Morgan is gazed upon with something close to reverence.

Founded in 1910 and run by the same family ever since, Morgans recall a bygone motoring era.

With elegant looks that pay homage to the stretched out sedans of the ’30s and ’40s, Morgans also pack a considerable performance punch and have even been known to take the track at LeMans.

Morgans are unique in a few other ways. Most models have the chassis partially constructed from wood and all Morgans are made — one by one — by hand. The company usually produces fewer than 1000 cars per year and the waiting list for one has been known to stretch to a decade.

So what does one of the most traditional auto makers in the world do to stir up a bit of attention at the upcoming Geneva Auto Show? According to a report on, roll out a fully electric version, of course.

Morgan is keeping most of the technical specs of the new electric ride close to the best, however a few details have emerged, perhaps the most interesting being the fact that Morgan plans to fit the new Plus E with a manual transmission — a feature almost unheard of in electric cars. 

Usually, because their engines are capable of generating immediate, powerful torque, electric vehicles feature a single gear ratio to spin the wheels. The addition of a manual gear box should allow torque multiplication for even better low-end acceleration and a higher top speed. 

What Morgan is essentially doing is making a powerful electric motor even stronger and more responsive.

As for what this new electric motor specifically will be, we previously reported the vehicle’s traditional 4.8 litre BMW V8 gasoline engine will be replaced with what looks to be a 70-kilowatt, rear-wheel electric powertrain produced by Zytek.

Of course, the Morgan will also feature the company’s typically retro styling and will use the aluminum chassis of the company’s Aero SuperSports model, launched in 2009. The combination of the car’s extremely light weight and the powerful drive train should yield impressive results. A company spokesperson has said that the car should exhibit near-supercar performance.

Morgan says that if there is enough interest in the electric vehicle the car will go into small scale production.

Steve Duda, EarthTechling