Morgan electric 3-wheel sports car chases Aptera, open-air style

British automaker Morgan on Wednesday unveiled a new prototype for an electric version of its classic 3-wheeler.

In addition to charmingly anachronistic sports cars, Morgan is known for three-wheelers, which the company originally started producing to exploit a tax loophole in its home market. Morgan has teased both three-wheeled and four-wheeled EVs before, but this time the company claims it’s serious about electrification.

Dubbed XP-1, the new prototype isn’t intended for production but will “act as the forerunner to all future electric Morgan sports cars,” according to a company press release. Following a 12-month design and build period, it will embark on 18-24 months of testing that will inform the development of future production EVs.

Morgan XP-1 prototype

Morgan XP-1 prototype

The XP-1 borrows the aluminum platform from the current Morgan Super 3, but swaps that model’s gasoline inline-3 for an all-electric powertrain developed in-house. It’s actually the first powertrain developed entirely by Morgan in the company’s 114-year history.

That powertrain includes a 134-hp motor and a 33-kwh battery pack that affords an estimated 150 miles of range. The prototype’s 1,543-pound dry weight is fairly close to the 1,400 pounds of the internal-combustion Super 3, but Morgan also claims a 33% reduction in the drag coefficient to maximize range.

The XP-1 also has a Combined Charging Standard (CCS) DC fast-charging connector and bidirectional charging, with LEDs surrounding the front cowl to indicate charging status. It’s also the first Morgan with an electronic parking brake.

Morgan XP-1 prototype

Morgan XP-1 prototype

While the XP-1 itself won’t go into production, a three-wheeler of some description will likely be among Morgan’s planned production EVs. Such a vehicle would be a retro, open-air alternative to the Aptera three-wheeler currently headed toward production.

Like Morgan with this project, Aptera is targeting sports-car-like performance. But Aptera’s entry is a sleek, closed-cockpit design with a carbon-fiber body and integrated solar panels. The Launch Edition of the Aptera will go about 400 miles on a charge, but the plans to build some configurations offering a claimed 1,000 miles of range thanks partly to those panels.

Aptera still isn’t discussing a timeline for deliveries, and Morgan is even further out from launching a production electric three-wheeler. But it’s possible that in a few years there will be two very different interpretations of this concept on the road.

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