British manufacturer Morgan Motor Company has announced plans to build an electric sports car. Designed in partnership with U.K.-based Zytek Automotive, the Morgan +E is to be built on the Morgan Aero Supersport’s aluminum chassis.
Zytek has plenty of experience building electric vehicles; its first effort was an electrified Lotus Elise built in 1997. The company has since worked with Chrysler, General Motors, and even built the drivetrain for the Smart Fortwo ED. The donor Aero Supersport uses a BMW-sourced 4.8-liter V-8 engine with 367 hp and 370 lb-ft of torque.
The Morgan +E prototype will use a Zytek motor rated for 99 hp and 221 lb-ft of torque. Unusually for an EV, the motor will channel its power through a traditional manual transmission (most electric cars use a single-speed transmission). The company says this will improve acceleration and top speed, while also increasing efficiency and range. We can’t help but think it’ll also be a little more enjoyable, too.
Power will be stored in a lithium-ion battery pack integrated into the Morgan’s aluminum chassis. The combination of an electric motor’s plentiful torque, the Morgan’s sprightly handling, and the manual gearbox is promised to “deliver an immediate, thrilling driving experience.”
Morgan says that two prototype +E cars will be ready by 2012. They will be “realistic concepts” for research purposes, but Morgan promises it would consider developing the +E idea further if “demand and other factors prove favorable.”