Remember the Morgan EV3? Hard to forget given how it looked and what it promised: an electric Mog in 2015 wasn’t so much futuristic as out-of-this-world extraordinary. Ultimately it didn’t happen, development halted in 2018 owing to contractual disagreements with powertrain supplier Frazer Nash. Back then the official line was that Morgan would regroup and gain "more EV know-how inside [its] Malvern headquarters". And that’s exactly what they’ve done: say hello to the Morgan XP-1, the first-ever car made at Pickersleigh Road with Morgan’s own powertrain. An electric one, no less.
This is a test bed for the moment (hence eXperimental Prototype 1) and isn’t actually slated for production (boo), though Morgan does suggest that it will ‘provide key information to Morgan’s engineers and designers as they embark on the development of the company’s first production electric models’. Having been in build for a year, XP-1 will now commence testing for the next 18-24 months.
It’s easy to imagine strong demand for the car as is. While clearly derived from the Super 3, there’s some EV3 influence in the design as well, most notably at the front end. Interestingly, too, Morgan suggests that in the pursuit of better range it has managed to improve drag coefficient over a Super 3 by a third. The interior has also had an EV refresh, though will continue to evolve as designers and engineers ‘gather feedback on how users interact with the vehicle, and the best way to communicate key vehicle information in future sports cars.’ For now, there are some smart new displays, including battery and motor temperature, plus a chilli that sits above the range readout. Any guesses on that, educated or otherwise, are welcome.
Obviously it's underneath where the XP-1’s most significant technology lies. The battery, motor and inverter are all Morgan’s own, built specifically for this car. An entire vehicle toolchain for this car has been created by the engineers, which will be employed for future Morgan EVs as well. It means the factory will know which powertrain parts are required for which electric powertrain, plus assist with things like the range prediction algorithm and even the drive modes. Which might explain the chilli in the dash. When the tech is proprietary, there’s freedom to do exactly as you wish with it - just ask Tesla.
Freed from the constraints of the Frazer Nash deal, Morgan has gone all-in on electric learning. The XP-1 press material states that the ‘extensive process of workforce training and infrastructure adaptation’ has already begun, meaning the traditional production methods can be retained with the new technology. As well as that, an old school Morgan experience is promised from whatever the production EV, taking learnings from this prototype, becomes: ‘Maintaining the principles of being lightweight, analogue, engaging and most importantly, a joy to drive are key to the future product strategy of Morgan’s electric future.’ Once more, the XP-1 already shows a lot of promise already, based as it is on the Super 3’s monocoque. And that’s an absolute hoot.
Owing to its status as a prototype, there have been no fixed stats issued yet on things like battery size, power, charging or range. What makes the XP-1 significant, as well as looking as cool as it does, is that it proves Morgan is capable of and committed to electrification, no longer reliant on third parties. Morgan’s CTO Matt Hole added: “We are immensely proud to be sharing XP-1 with the world and showcasing some of the first-class engineering that takes place behind the scenes at Morgan. As we embark on our electric journey, this prototype will become a focal point of the engineering and design process, providing a wealth of insight and helping to build up our in-house EV capability. Expect more in 2024 - best get that Morgan Sunday Service sorted pronto…
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