Morgan electrifies the 3 Wheeler
Looking for a cleaner three-wheeler to commute with but not up to pedaling your own way? Around the same time we were translating Russian to bring you the story of the Ekomobil, Morgan was revealing its second all-electric roadster at the 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed. Morgan re-powers its classically styled 3 Wheeler with a battery pack and electric drive to create the EV3. The new prototype utilizes the 3 Wheeler platform's lightweight construction for a peppy all-electric ride and range of 150 miles (241 km).
The EV3 prototype is the second all-electric Morgan, following the Plus E revealed at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show. That model was based on its rollercoaster-fendered Plus 8. Gizmag founder Mike Hanlon called it the most appealing electric car he'd ever seen, and even three years later, it's hard to disagree with the general sentiment that its blend of retro styling and five-speed electric powertrain made for one of the most intriguing electric car designs, then or now.
As cool as it was, the Plus E never made it to production. That's okay, though, because Morgan seems more determined to bring its second electric design to customers. It hopes to put the all-new EV3 into production by the end of 2016 after a full testing and development program.
The Plus 8 provided an excellent statement vehicle for Morgan's first experimentation with electric power, but the 3 Wheeler seems a better platform for an electric powertrain. At 1,157 lb (525 kg), the gasoline-powered 3 Wheeler weighs well under half the 2,690-lb (1,220-kg) Plus 8, and that low weight is sure to be an advantage when trying to eke every mile out of a modest battery pack. The estimated 150-mile (241-km) range isn't quite Tesla or Audi e-tron territory, but it is well more than the average Leaf or Spark EV.
Driving the EV3 is a 101-bhp (75-kW) motor at the rear wheel. Most vehicles gain weight when adding battery cells and electric motors in place of ICE-based powertrains, but the EV3 manages to drop a few pounds. Morgan says that it weighs in at 1,047 lb (475 kg), which is 110 lb (50 kg) less than the dry weight of the standard 82-bhp V-twin 3 Wheeler. The company has not revealed the identity of the lightweight battery that helps that weight stay down, but it says that it will take about four hours to charge.
The EV3 loses the aggressive V-twin face of the standard 3 Wheeler, replaced with a more traditional grille. It also has EV3 decals all over to distinguish itself.
It's too early to nail down a price, but Morgan says that it's aiming to keep EV3 pricing in line with the gasoline 3 Wheeler, which starts at £25,950 (approx. US$40,000) in standard trim and £28,333 ($43,750) for the Superdry model.