The Morgan EV3: A Steampunk Approach to Electric Cars

Morgan Motor Co.
Source: Morgan Motor Co.

Steampunk has to be one of the most badass things to come out of modern culture. As we compare classics like the Morgan 4/4 to modern iterations, it indicates that retro styling will continue to have an appeal that never fades. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the term, steampunk is a sub-genre that takes 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery and early 20th century design and blends them together with modern engineering to make a product. Just re-watch Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow or Hugo, and you’ll catch our drift. Which leads us to the strange little contraption seen here: the Morgan EV3.

After making its debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, the EV3 has successfully shaken the world’s notion of what zero emissions motoring could look like. Part kit car, part reverse trike, part plug-in retro rocket ship, this low-slung British contraption looks like it was designed in the 1930s and just recently was rediscovered in a crate somewhere prior to being put on display.

Morgan EV3
Source: Morgan Motor Co.

“The EV3 embraces new technology, delivers responsible driving excitement, and continues to celebrate traditional British craftsmanship,” Morgan said.

Weighing in at just a hair over 1,000 pounds, this all-electric three wheeler is a sleek homage to 1930s aeroengine race cars, classic motorcycles, and 1950s fantasy automatons, but with modern performance and safety upgrades in tow. Engine, suspension, brakes, and key composite pieces are all modern, and the EV3 offers a range of 150 miles and can hit 62 miles per hour in less than nine seconds before going on to a top speed of 90.

All of this is made possible by a lightweight tubular framed chassis that houses a 20KWh lithium battery and an oil-cooled 46kW motor that drives the single rear wheel. It marks the first time Morgan has utilized composite carbon panels in body construction, and things like the bonnet, tonneau cover, and side pods are all made by hand out of the lightweight material. Everything on this car is handmade, and in true retro fashion, the entire frame of this trike is made out of wood that has been hand-carved out of the sturdiest ash trees.

Out front, the EV3 sports a series of brass conductive cooling fins to keep battery temps down, blending efficiency with a splendid contrasting aesthetic. With duct pods on either side housing more of the same brass work, and an off-center tri-bar headlight display illuminating the way, the front of the Morgan has this odd sense of asymmetry to it that works extremely well.

Out back, a long retired rump that was once reserved for 1930s Morgan 3 Wheeler race cars has been resurrected in order to keep the retro theme rolling, and in the process creates a stance that visually draws the eye forward. Further up, low-slung running lights morph around the bomber-inspired side ducts, and the dashboard is entirely new. Be sure to check out that “magneto” drive selection switch, the digital screen that serves as a sly nod to 1950s sci-fi, all of that leather upholstery, and the broad array of trim pieces and switches that have been handmade from wood, brass, and polished aluminum.

Morgan Motor Co.
Source: Morgan Motor Co.

Morgan says that the EV3 will go into full production during the fourth quarter of 2016, and will be priced comparably to the petrol 3 Wheeler, so expect one of these rascals to run just a hair north of $50,000 in base trim. Also, expect to see more of this sort of thing down the line; a recent announcement shows that the Morgan Motor Company will be receiving government funding for an $8 million project that focuses on the development of hybrid and EV models under the brand’s name.

“The EV3 is an exciting opportunity for our customers to enjoy the unique Morgan driving experience and the joy of tailored manufacture whilst remaining conscientious towards the future of our planet,” says Steve Morris, managing director for Morgan Technologies Limited. We sure hope he’s right because if this is indeed the future of getting around town on a nice afternoon, you can totally count us in.