Morgan revs up electric sports car with manual transmission

One of the world’s most famous sports car brands is bringing a new meaning to the term racing green after unveiling an electric concept model at the Geneva motor show this week.

UK manufacturer Morgan’s Plus E has a maximum speed of 115mph and can travel 120 miles on a single charge. The company says it could enter production if there is sufficient demand.

Developed as part of a collaborative research and development project with the British technology specialists Zytek and Radshape, the Plus E is unusual in that it sports a five-speed manual gearbox.

Most electric car manufacturers dispensed with gearboxes because it makes the car lighter, and as electric motors provide torque from zero speed, the cars do not need a clutch.

“We wanted to see how much fun you can have in an electric sports car, so we have built one to help us find out,” said Morgan operations director Steve Morris.

“The Plus E combines Morgan’s traditional look with high-technology construction and a powertrain that delivers substantial torque instantly at any speed. With the manual gearbox to increase both touring range and driver involvement, it will be a fantastic car to drive.”

The programme was part-funded by a £100,000 grant from the UK government’s Niche Vehicle Network Programme and should deliver two prototypes.

The first, with the five-speed manual box and Li-ion batteries, will be used for preliminary engineering assessment, while the second will be closer to potential production specifications, with alternative battery technologies and possibly a sequential gearbox.

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