YOU COULD BE forgiven for looking at Morgan’s three-wheelers and thinking you were looking at an exhibit of classic cars, or had been zapped back into the early 20th century. That’s part of Morgan’s charm. The eccentric British automaker loves retro and hates four wheels, and now it’s doubling down on the old school with a new three-wheeler that tosses the gas-powered V-twin in favor of an all-electric power plant.
See, a hundred years ago electric cars were as common as their gas-burning counterparts, popular because they were cleaner, quieter and easier to operate. In the ’10s and ’20s, engine technology began to advance, the electric starter replaced the hand crank, and battery power was left behind. Now, electrics are back in vogue, and the technology is nearing a point where it can seriously compete with dino-juice.
Morgan is debuting its EV3 concept at the Goodwood Festival of Speed later this month. It’s the company’s second electric vehicle, after the (manually-shifted!) Plus E conceptit built back in 2012, but never brought to market.
The EV3 is based on the standard Morgan 3-wheeler the company has been selling since 2011, with this prototype expected to go into development toward the end of next year.
The internal combustion engine has been ditched in favor of a 60-horsepower rear-mounted electric motor. Morgan estimates a range of about 150 miles, a figure that beats most of the full electrics on the market today. That may actually be achievable since the EV3 is said to weigh in at just under 1,000 pounds—less than the internal combustion unit on which it’s based.
Three-wheeled cars are unstable and impractical by nature, but their sheer ridiculousness also makes them a certain kind of awesome. That’s why some car companies keep building the things, particularly Morgan, the oddballiest of all the oddball British car makes.
Perhaps the only way it could make its three-wheeler more awesomely unusual is to make it electric.