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Morgan EV3 confirmed for late 2018

Morgan brings its traditional, raw driving experience into the world of electric cars; Frazer-Nash drafted in for electric expertise

The pace of life at the Morgan Motor Company is perhaps a little slower than you’ll find at some of the world’s larger automakers, so you might not have noticed that the company’s plans to start producing its electric 3-Wheeler in late 2016 fell by the wayside.

But if you have been wondering when the funky-looking EV3 would make its debut, we now have an answer.

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The company has been working away behind the scenes and has announced Frazer-Nash Energy Systems as a technical partner for the project, and has set a new date of quarter three in 2018 for production to begin.

If the name Frazer-Nash rings any bells (other than being a brand with a similarly sepia-toned history to its new friend at Malvern) it’s because the firm was recently involved in a project to develop an electric London taxi under the Metrocab name.

While that role has now been fulfilled instead by the LEVC TX - a black cab developed under Chinese giant Geely - Frazer-Nash is still one of the UK’s experts on electric propulsion and a logical partner for Morgan to allow it to enter the brave new world of electric vehicles.

Morgan suggests several benefits will come from the partnership, including greater performance, fast charging, a lower centre of gravity thanks to a new battery design, and improved acceleration compared to the figures previously quoted. While no new number has been revealed, we can now expect a figure lower than the nine seconds to 62mph Morgan announced at Geneva in 2016.

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One number that seems to have dropped is range. Morgan previously told us the car would travel 150 miles on a full charge, but now quotes only 120 - though given the EV3 is likely to be used more as a weekend toy than serious commuter, and given the new fast charging capabilities, it’s unlikely to trouble too many buyers.

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That range comes from a 21kWh lithium-ion battery pack (1kWh more than before, so the range decrease is likely due to the extra performance), with power from a single, liquid-cooled electric motor with a peak output of 41.8kW, or 56bhp. Less than we were expecting, but the sensation of speed from behind a tiny fly-screen is likely to be dramatic enough, and as we’re aware from the standard car, higher speeds only invite an extra battle with your neck muscles and a greater challenge for the brakes acting on the skinny front tyres.

For Morgan the Frazer-Nash connection will help ease the company into the relative unknown of electric car production - something ‘no manufacturer can afford to ignore’, according to Noamaan Siddiqi, Managing Director of Frazer-Nash Energy Systems.

‘The greatest challenge lies within introducing EV technology into our factory; work flows, customer experience and supporting dealer network in a robust and most importantly safe manner’ explained Steve Morris, managing director at Morgan. ‘Frazer-Nash Energy Systems offer us every confidence in achieving this.’

A closer look at the EV3

Like the regular 3 Wheeler – which uses a 1-litre S&S V-twin – the EV3 is lightweight, weighing in at less than 500kg. For an electric vehicle, which typically tip the scales at significantly more than their petrol counterparts, it’s a real bonus, and should ensure the EV3 keeps the 3 Wheeler’s flyweight feel.

There are some notable styling differences between the EV3 and its petrol equivalent, thanks mainly to the missing engine. The front aspect might take some getting used-to, with a hint of Cyclops to the high-mounted spotlamp mounted above brass conductive cooling fins for the batteries.

The headlights are mounted lower, either side of the body, which – in Morgan’s words, takes inspiration from ‘1930s aero-engine race cars, classic motorcycles and 1950s fantasy automatons’.

To that end there’s also a prominent ‘magneto’ switch on the new dashboard for drive selection sitting alongside wood, brass, polished aluminium and, to the right of the drive selection switch, a circular digital screen. The steering wheel is of a new design too, adding to the strong steampunk-style theme. It's car detailing done right, and brings a level of visual intrigue to electric vehicles we've not yet experienced.

It’s the first production electric car from Morgan, but don’t expect it to be the last – the firm recently announced £6 million in funding from the UK’s Advanced Propulsion Centre, with a view to creating an entire range of electric and hybrid vehicles by the end of the decade.

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