Morgan has unveiled its second iteration of a battery-electric three-wheeler, this time called XP-1, with its eye set firmly on building its EV technical and manufacturing knowledge to prepare for the arrival of battery-powered models.
The Morgan XP-1, which uses the body and aluminium monocoque chassis of the Ford-powered Super 3 launched nearly two years ago, has an all-new electric powertrain designed and built in-house under the supervision of the company’s new chief technical officer, Matt Hole, a highly experienced former electrification consultant who has worked for a wide variety of global OEMs for over 15 years.
Hole said the XP-1 won’t go into production in its current form – and refused to put a date on any showroom version – but confirmed that the prototype was being subjected to testing and inspection regimes as tough as any production model.
For now, he said, its key function is to help Morgan develop “a full vehicle toolchain” - a suite of suitable components and supporting software that can be used for all future Morgans.
The Malvern-based company experimented seven years ago with a 61bhp electric three-wheeler called EV3. It was an elegant-looking, single-headlight design unveiled at the 2016 Geneva motor show.
Like XP-1, it was also styled in-house but back then used the architecture of Morgan’s now-superseded V-twin-powered 3 Wheeler.
For the EV3, design of the battery and powertrain was left to an outside consultancy whose business foundered before a promised batch of cars, priced around £30,000 a throw, could be delivered.
Company bosses have said the arrival of Hole in 2021 to take charge of Morgan’s technical strategy will ensure no such mistakes are made again.
The XP-1 powertrain consists of a surprisingly compact 134bhp electric motor mounted in the chassis’s central tunnel, with a small planetary gearbox on its end to gear the drive correctly before it goes into a 90deg bevel box, as before, and then (by chain, not belt) to the fat single rear wheel.