A NEW British company is taking vans back to the future by building a 21 century recreation of one of the most iconic load-luggers of the 1950s.
The firm quietly secured the rights to the long-defunct Morris Commercial brand name and its vision was to revive the iconic and much-loved British brand with a series of all-electric vehicles, the first of which has now been revealed after two years of development behind closed doors.
The new, retro-styled Morris JE electric van pays homage to the original Morris J-Type which was first launched in 1948 and became a global success, remaining in production until 1961.
The project, which has been led by a highly experienced team of established automotive designers and engineers, was a well-kept secret during two years of development which has now resulted in a fully operational engineering prototype produced at the company's Worcestershire headquarters.
Boasting a state-of-the-art, full electric, lithium-ion battery powertrain, the new Morris JE is designed as much as a premium product as a commercial workhorse, says the company. The body is constructed from expensive carbon fibre - more normally associated with high performance supercars - and sits on a lightweight chassis.
The company claims that it will be one of the lightest LCVs on the market with an outstanding power-to-weight efficiency which will maximise the range of the vehicle - although exactly what the range will be has yet to be revealed, as have full details of the electric powertrain.
The new vehicle is not a replica of a 70-year-old design, says the company, "but it takes the DNA and values of the original van and brings it up to date in a fun, funky and contemporary design."
Says CEO and founder of Morris Commercial Dr. Qu Li: "The working engineering prototype has undergone extensive road testing and the end of 2019 is an amazing conclusion to the first phase of the project.
"We still have a little way to go to bring the project to full production, but we have the team and the product to make this an enormous success. As a business we are committed to environmental sustainability and we are trailblazing a new approach to the production of appealing, fully electric commercial vehicles."