Published on December 8th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair0
Morgan XP-1 Concept Is The Brand’s First Step Towards EVs
The Morgan Motor Company takes its first step towards electrification with the XP-1 Concept.
It takes a real enthusiast to have heard of the Morgan Motor Company. They’re a small British car manufacturer that have been at it for over 100 years out of Malvern, Worcestershire (like the sauce). They’ve been making lightweight sports-focused open-top cars by hand for decades but it has always been with ICE power. Now the brand is readying for the electric future with a new concept car called the XP-1.
Morgan has been working on the XP-1 for the last 12 months and they hope that this experimental prototype will help them understand some of the challenges of electric car design and production. The XP-1 is based on the Super 3‘s aluminium platform, so it’s already pretty light weight.
In the one to two years, the XP-1 will go through a comprehensive testing programme to help evolve and test the latest tech and features that will go into the a production model. That being said, the XP-1 does not necessarily reflect Morgan’s future production EV.
The combination of battery, motor, and inverter in the Morgan XP-1 signifies Morgan’s inaugural powertrain, catering to both internal combustion and battery electric options. Specifically engineered for the XP-1, this powertrain provides Morgan’s engineers with precise control over calibrations, allowing adjustments to throttle and regeneration levels at different speeds. The goal is to create various driving modes with a diverse range of driving characteristics.
To identify suitable component combinations for the XP-1 and future electric models, Morgan has developed an in-house full vehicle toolchain. This toolchain plays a crucial role in modeling the compatibility and suitability of different powertrain components, calculating range prediction algorithms, and simulating scenarios to benchmark against future requirements.
Maintaining the lightweight characteristic that has defined Morgan’s sports cars throughout its 114-year history is a key requirement for future electric models. To meet this requirement, the company has opted to create its own powertrain combination, collaborating with key partners and utilizing industry-leading components. Consequently, the XP-1’s weight is comparable to that of the production car it is based on.
The XP-1 features Combined Charging System (CCS) compatibility for fast charging and boasts bi-directional charging capability, contributing to the futureproofing of the company’s ongoing development efforts. Additionally, it introduces an electronic park brake (EPB), a first for Morgan’s electric vehicles.
Beyond the exploration of driving characteristics and powertrain, the XP-1 has facilitated a deeper understanding of broader EV technology and design, particularly in the realm of aerodynamics. Front-end aerodynamic improvements have been implemented to enhance range and efficiency, resulting in a notable 33% reduction in drag coefficient.
The vehicle’s interior display is bespoke, allowing for experimentation with the user interface (UI). The XP-1’s display is designed to continually evolve, enabling engineers and designers to gather user feedback and determine the most effective way to communicate key vehicle information in future sports cars. Experimental features also include an external charge level indicator with LEDs surrounding the front cowl and new aerodynamic wheel trims.
Bringing the XP-1 project to fruition involves extensive workforce training and infrastructure adaptation. Given Morgan’s coachbuilding production methods, the creation of an internal knowledgebase is essential for the future production of electric Morgan sports cars. This effort focuses on workshop readiness for electric vehicle construction, training for high voltage systems handling, and the installation of charging infrastructure.
The XP-1 upholds Morgan’s core principle of delivering an undiluted driving experience. As the XP-1 evolves, it becomes a visible prototype, offering the Morgan community a glimpse into the company’s journey toward electrification. Sports car enthusiasts can anticipate periodic updates and the vehicle’s presence at events, both at Morgan’s factory and beyond.