The Morris JE Is an Adorable, Electric Remake of a 1949 Van
The resurrected Morris Commercial, Ltd. wants to sell you a retro, eco-friendly lil' bugger.
Van life doesn't get much more O.G. than this Morris JE—or, more accurately, the J-type that inspired it. This wee little bugger first hit the mean streets of the U.K. in 1949, sold by Morris Commercial, and featured sliding doors and an endearing, vaguely egg-like shape. It wouldn't be replaced with a more modern, less cute design until 1961, but today it lives again as the "JE," an all-new, fully electric commercial van from a reborn Morris Commercial that's styled to resemble the post-WWII original.
Looking for all the world like a loaf of bread on four wheels, the JE wears an upright, retro grille and two round, protruding headlights. Buyers can specify a number of fun paint colors, and even a contrasting-color roof, body-side scallop, wheels, and dashboard. The interior is clean and minimalist, with a retro, banjo-style steering wheel and a single infotainment screen. It's all very . . . jolly good.
On a practical level, the cargo area can swallow a claimed 194 cubic feet of stuff, along with two standard "Euro" cargo pallets. The cargo floor can also accommodate items measuring just shy of eight feet in length. As did the original J-type, the JE includes a sliding side door (it's on the left side because the driver is positioned on the right, because Britain). The cavernous body is made of carbon fiber (to save weight) and sits atop a skateboard chassis with an unspecified battery and motor setup. Morris Commercial does claim that the van is capable of reaching 90 mph, and can separately travel up to 200 miles per charge. As is increasingly common amongst today's EVs, the JE can be recharged quickly, in this case to 80 percent of its capacity in 30 minutes.
Morris Commercial notes that the electric JE can be outfitted and upfitted any number of ways for a variety of business purposes beyond mere package delivery. Its website offers peeks at the JE as a food truck, and even as an open-air pickup-style vehicle with most of the roof missing. We'd love to see the JE as a camper, and we're sure a motivated Brit could pull it off. For now, the vans are available to preorder—and you can kill some time fiddling with Morris's online configurator for them, where you can customize one to your liking. Whether the company survives, as so many electric-car startups struggle to do, or whether the vans will ever make it to markets outside of the U.K. are open questions. The original Morris Commercial division of the Morris car company faded out of existence around 1984. This modern take on the Commercial business was kicked off in 2017. But, hey, it has the cute factor heavily on their side.