Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Morgan EV3

Words and photos - Daniel Bevis

Morgan's new-generation 3 Wheeler is a fabulously bonkers little thing - and I mean that in the most complimentary manner. There is arguably no new car on the market that can rival it for smiles-per-pound; it's a 500kg tub with two spindly wheels at the front, a fat one at the back, a V-twin bolted to the nose, and nothing else. And while there are just two cylinders, they displace a whole litre each; combine this with the open pipes that flank the body, and you get an animated pop-pop-pop like a WWII fighter plane.
It's a tight fit too - squishing into the seat and folding yourself under the wheel like intricate meat origami, you end up wearing the car like a metal cagoule, low enough to reach out and scratch the road surface with your fingernails. But despite the theatrics, it's a doddle to drive; the gearbox is a Mazda MX-5 item, the clutch is light... once you've got used to the tanker-like turning circle, it's a breeze. Literally, actually, as there's no real windscreen to speak of.
The most fun part is that all of that accessible torque is fired through the single rear wheel, which will break traction at any given opportunity - you'll find yourself taking every corner with an armful of opposite lock, snaking toward the horizon as the screeching tyre mixes with the thudding engine and rasping side-pipe crescendo. It really is a chuckle.

This one, however, is a little different. There's no thunderous V-twin here - this car is called EV3 and, as the name hints at, it's an electric vehicle. That's right, a tree-fondling, Congestion Charge-avoiding EV created with the future squarely in its crosshairs. Which is an entertaining notion, in a car so inherently retro in approach.
Built in conjunction with Selfridges, of all people, the 'UK1909' spec model is super-rare, as Morgan are only building nineteen of them. The electric motor produces 45kw (equivalent to around 75bhp) which, in such a lightweight car, allows a 0-62mph time a little over eight seconds. Top speed is 80mph, although to be fair you'd never need to go faster than that in a 3 Wheeler. 40mph feels like a hundred.
The EV3 takes four hours to fully charge and has a range of 120-150 miles, although you can amusingly reduce this by putting it in Sport Mode, which switches off the regenerative braking and sharpens up the throttle response.
It is, of course, a fundamentally silly car, but also an eminently logical one - if you're going to have a frivolous toy, it makes sense to have one with a small footprint. And if you're commuting into London every day and don't need any luggage space, there's actually a decent economical argument for this.
Oh, and it looks awesome too, obviously. That's the best bit. Those wide bug-eyes are a masterstroke.

Spotted at Salon Privé 2016 - more pics here.

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