Morgan and Zytek team up to build high performance EV
By Ben Coxworth
September 29, 2011
The Morgan Aero SuperSports is a pretty impressive automobile, even in its standard form. It has a lightweight aluminum body, a hardwood and leather cockpit and a top speed of 170 mph (273 km/h). It also has a 4.8 liter BMW V8 engine, although in a project currently being undertaken by the British automaker and Zytek Automotive, that power plant will be replaced with a 70kW electric motor. The result will be known as the Electric Morgan +E. Although only two of them will be made, the company says that if the experience proves favorable, "further developments" could result.
The 70kW (94 bhp) 300Nm motor will be derived from a model already made by Zytek, that is currently being supplied to some American EV manufacturers. It will be mounted in the transmission tunnel, where it will require connections for cooling water, high voltage electrics and low voltage electrics. Power will be supplied by a lithium-ion battery pack, which will be integrated into the cars' aluminum chassis.
Anyone who likens driving electric cars to driving golf carts will be glad to know that the +E shall retain the SuperSports' manual transmission. "Keeping the motor in its sweet spot will help it use energy more efficiently, which will increase the vehicle's range," stated Zytek engineering program manager Neil Cheeseman. "It also allows us to provide lower gearing for rapid acceleration from pull-away and higher gearing for top speed."
Not only that, but it should also make driving the cars a lot more fun.
The Morgan/Zytek collaborative project has received funding from the CENEX-run Niche Vehicle Network CR&D Programme, which promotes the application of new technology for making low-carbon vehicles more marketable. Morgan previously received funding from the group for development of the new version of its iconic Three Wheeler.
Work on the two +E's began in July, and should be completed by January. Morgan is also working on a fuel cell-powered prototype automobile, known as the Lifecar.
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