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British consortium building Morgan electric sports car

Morgan, Zytek, and other British companies are combining forces to electrify a Morgan Aero. The consortium will build two Morgan EV concepts in 2012.

Wayne Cunningham Managing Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Wayne Cunningham
Morgan EV concept
Morgan EV concept
The Morgan Aero, powered by a V08 engine, is being converted to an electric drive. Zytek

An electric car based on a two-seat, lightweight platform from a British manufacturer may sound familiar, but this Morgan electric vehicle concept is no case of deja vu. A group of British companies is converting the Morgan Aero to electric drive.

Zytek, one of the primary contributors, is building the electric motor and components for the car. It will give the Morgan EV only 94 horsepower, but 221 pound-feet of torque. No estimations for range or other performance were announced. Zytek built a concept Lotus Elise electric in 1997 and has developed a KERS system used in F1 racing cars.

Morgan EV concept
The electric motor won't take up much room in the Morgan, but the batteries will. Zytek

Morgan has been offering its retro design Aero 8 since 2001. The car has an aluminum frame, making it a good choice for an electric conversion. The production car uses a BMW-sourced V-8. That engine will be swapped for the electric drive train.

One odd detail of the plan is that the car will retain its manual gearbox. The announcement claims the manual gearbox will allow for more efficient use of power with its high and low gears.

A Morgan EV won't be competing with the Tesla Roadster anytime soon. Only two electric concept vehicles based on the Morgan are planned for 2012.