The Morgan EV3 Has Recharged My Faith In Motoring
Much like my angst to accept dual-clutch transmissions, I’ve viewed electric vehicles (EVs) as the poison to my oil-based passion for “real” automobiles. “If it’s not a manual, I don’t care,” I used to say. That was, until my girlfriend—now wife for obvious reasons—gave me an unforgettable experience: an all-out drive around Las Vegas Speedway in a 2009 Ferrari 458 Italia.
That drive completely changed my mind on flappy paddles. I’ve been an advocate for DCT since for cars of such colossal power, paired with incessant torque delivery. Still, like you, I prefer the classics with an honest-to-god row-my-damn-self manual transmission—with a clutch pedal.
I’m a fan of Morgan Motor Company for two primary reasons: it’s a small outfit of true enthusiast craftsman and its products are undeniably beautiful not only in construction and driving dynamics, but in their unmistakable aesthetics—especially those lovely trikes. So, when I heard Morgan was coming out with an EV Three Wheeler, I was both infatuated with the concept but struggled to see how it would transfer the Three Wheeler’s attitude. After all, the centerpiece of the petrol-powered trike is that lovely polished V-Twin snout.
I finally grew to appreciate DCT transmissions, but EV cars have still been something for other people—certainly nothing I’d be interested in… until now. Yesterday, Morgan dropped its new all-electric Three Wheeler, dubbed the “EV3.” Before we get into the specs, just look at this machine!
The Head of Morgan Design, Jonathan Wells, notes the cycloptic asymmetrical looks came from a number of influences, including 1950s-era Hollywood robots and early art deco cars. In place of the traditional engine and grill now houses an off-kilter primary headlight and brass cooling vents for the electric motors, giving the car an entirely new but welcome face.
In addition to the off-center headlight, the driver’s side sports a wind deflector and roll hoop, while the passenger cabin section complements the design’s driver-only-focus with a removal cover panel. The stunning stone silver metallic finish pulls off both vintage and modern seamlessly. All the chrome bits have been treated to black paint, tying into the black spoke wheels wrapped in white-lettered Firestones nicely—giving it an aggressive yet beautiful demeanor.
So, it looks like an even sleeker Three Wheeler and it’s still a handmade piece of British motoring artwork, but there’s more to this battery-operated cycle-car than that. This is not only the first EV for Morgan, but it’s also the first to use composite carbon in its construction—aiding to its airy ~1,000 pound overall weight. The bonnet, tonneau cover, and side pods are carbon while the rest of the panels remain aluminum with a traditional Morgan ash wood frame underneath.
The cabin looks similar to the standard combustion engine counterpart, said for the black two-spoke wheel, range indicator, and ‘magneto’ drive selection switch—offering just Reverse, Neutral, and Drive. It goes without saying, there’s a missing clutch pedal because… well, there’s no transmission, per se.
Wells goes on to say that despite the lack of a gear-shifter and third pedal, the driving experience is truly something special—with electric power offering max torque immediately, we’re inclined to believe him. The estimated figure from zero-to-60 is around 9 seconds—nothing too electrifying, but then again the regular Three Wheeler isn’t a rocket, either.
However, like classic cars, “speed” is subjective and with the open cabin, low ride height, and modest engine, the Three Wheeler has never been about sheer speed, it’s about the sensation of speed—something the Three Wheeler has always offered in high voltage.
The 150-mile range EV3 is scheduled for production by the end of the year and Morgan states the performance figures and pricing will be akin to that of the fossil fueled model. More details will be released closer to the assembly date, but what you see here is said to be nearly production ready.
I, and many others, were apprehensive about the manual transmission phasing out, but it’s changed the minds of many enthusiasts already—with surely more to follow. So, maybe fun vehicles like this Morgan is the EV formula we need in order to ease into an inevitable electric take over—the company has given me hope for a greener future, albeit in a tastefully vintage-like fashion.
Petrolicious |By Andrew Golseth