Automotive

Morris JE van among the most adorable electric vehicles this lifetime

Morris JE van among the most a...
Two-tone paint, a split windshield and hoodless body ... Morris beats Volkswagen to the electric classic van revival punch
Two-tone paint, a split windshield and hoodless body ... Morris beats Volkswagen to the electric classic van revival punch
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The original Morris J-type inspired the all-new JE electric van from the recently-revived Morris Commercial
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The original Morris J-type inspired the all-new JE electric van from the recently-revived Morris Commercial
Two-tone paint, a split windshield and hoodless body ... Morris beats Volkswagen to the electric classic van revival punch
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Two-tone paint, a split windshield and hoodless body ... Morris beats Volkswagen to the electric classic van revival punch
The new JE has a cleaner, more modern profile than the original J-type
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The new JE has a cleaner, more modern profile than the original J-type
With light carbon fiber design, Morris keeps body weight down so the JE can carry a full tonne of payload
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With light carbon fiber design, Morris keeps body weight down so the JE can carry a full tonne of payload
Morris hasn't announced all the specs just yet, but it estimates the JE will be able to travel for about 200 miles per charge
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Morris hasn't announced all the specs just yet, but it estimates the JE will be able to travel for about 200 miles per charge
Morris revealed the JE this week in London
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Morris revealed the JE this week in London
Though modernized, the JE definitely ties closely with the original J-type's styling
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Though modernized, the JE definitely ties closely with the original J-type's styling
The round hood with gentle spine is a particular highlight, giving the JE a distinctive look compared to the hard-lined boxes that dominate the van market
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The round hood with gentle spine is a particular highlight, giving the JE a distinctive look compared to the hard-lined boxes that dominate the van market
A greener breed of work van
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A greener breed of work van
That grille needs to be used for something, right?
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That grille needs to be used for something, right?
The Morris JE electric van, in all its quirky glory
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The Morris JE electric van, in all its quirky glory
A very stylish interior pairs with the blue-and-cream exterior for serious pop
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A very stylish interior pairs with the blue-and-cream exterior for serious pop

We knew the all-electric Morris J-type redux was going to be cool, but we weren't quite prepared for just how much we want to pinch its chubby little fenders. Combine those fenders with the buttery-smooth, arched roof, body-color wheels, beady headlights and creased windshield, and you have a van that's delightfully British retro. Below its mid 20th century-influenced skin, the JE packs a cutting-edge electric powertrain and modular chassis that could lead to additional variants, including a pickup truck and camper van. Yes, please.

Rather than simply recreate the original J-type, a van it likens to the Mini and Land Rover Defender in terms of legendary Britishness, Morris Commercial reimagines the classic as a proper modern-day light commercial vehicle, pulling out creases and rounding corners with ultralight carbon fiber construction.

The pear-shaped grille is there, but not quite so large and a little smoother than the original. The split windshield is also subtler, an off-color crease rising to a slight spine that splits the rounded roof. The profile is cleaner, the inset sliding curbside door replaced by a flush combination of front passenger door and sliding rear cabin door. The fenders and headlamps are as distinctive as ever, but more cleanly integrated into the greater body aesthetic.

The Morris JE electric van, in all its quirky glory
The Morris JE electric van, in all its quirky glory

The original Morris J-type relied on a forward-control engine layout for its hoodless front-end and tiny overhang, but the new JE steps into the present with a decentralized electric powertrain. Power is supplied by a lithium-ion battery offering up to 200 miles (322 km) of range with help from the lightweight carbon fiber design.

Morris believes the JE will quickly find a passionate customer base among companies looking to stand out from the pack with a unique, eco-friendly promotional or utility van. The 2.5-tonne van offers a payload of 1 tonne (2,200 lb), with 5.5 cu m (194 cu ft) of storage accessed straight through the rear double doors.

A very stylish interior pairs with the blue-and-cream exterior for serious pop
A very stylish interior pairs with the blue-and-cream exterior for serious pop

Morris debuted the JE on Tuesday at The Design Museum in London. It plans to begin production in late 2021, selling the JE for a base price of £60,000 (approx. US$77,275). About those other body styles, Morris says: "The vehicle benefits from a lightweight, modular chassis, making it highly adaptable for future derivatives, such as a pickup, minibus or camper van." It also vows to never produce an ICE-based vehicle, so any future models will also be electrified.

$60K plus the cost of conversion might be a bit rich in a market that sells sweet camper vans like the Le-Tour for under £35,000, but the JE certainly would make a stylish, little pop-top with the ability to glamp up the campsite by using extra battery power for accessories like TVs and electric cooking appliances.

Source: Morris Commercial

9 comments
Spud Murphy
Price is off the planet, this seems like a missed opportunity. If they could have made it for half the price and mass produced it, it probably would have sold very well. As it is, only the well-heeled retro-trendoids will be in the market for this thing, and maybe advertising companies who want something a bit interesting.
Robt
Carbon fiber construction? Perhaps they could have focused on electrifying existing J-vans and bringing them up to acceptable modern standards, i.e. brakes etc Performance might have been somewhat reduced, but would have been a lot cheaper
Terry Pardy
Ridiculous price, it looks very nice but I can’t see them selling many!
Michael
Two Words: Too Expensive!
Captain Obvious
If they cut the range to 100 miles, it would be a great deal cheaper and still be useful for many applications. Easy enough to do, just use half the batteries.
HaroldBalsac
Seems Weiss forgot to tell us about the motor. He says the powertrain is cutting-edge and decentralized. Does that mean that it uses wheel motors; one at each corner? If so, wheel motors are not exactly recherche and we're left to guess at their rating?
ljaques
I love the ugly duckling look of the Morris J type vans, but not in that color or at that price point.
paul04
its a winner. most on here will try and find negatives , but it is a brilliant combo of retro ,ultra sheek and techno. can expect to see this and many copies, (old renault and citroen vans etc)
Bruce Anderson
As an advertising platform it may make sense, but it is far too expensive for regular use. And that motorcycle in the back? If a plan develops to go out and thrash Mother Earth you have to go somewhere and get back, and it better be nearby. It is an expensive, although cute, billboard.