Steve Morris, Managing Director, Morgan: “This is a game changer for Morgan that would not have been possible without the support of APC, and the collaboration it has brought to the business”.
Morgan Motor Cars, the British owned vehicle manufacturer formed in 1909, are renowned for their classically styled sports cars. Morgan maintains its stature as a niche vehicle OEM, giving its product a premium and exclusive presence which has worldwide sales to over 20 countries. Morgan’s current vehicles are powered by steadily evolving internal combustion engine technology, which has enabled the business to succeed for the last 108 years. However, as experienced by many vehicle manufacturers, national CO2 taxes levied at the point of sale have made international sales in some regions more challenging.
In 2015, Morgan and their partners successfully applied for £3 million funding from the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC) to support a development project to investigate the design and integration of state-of-the-art powertrain technologies into their vehicles.
The APC project, “CO2 divided by 2”, was launched in early 2016 to show the path to significantly reduced CO2 emissions. Working with their consortium, the team identified the technical elements within the project that would provide maximum benefit and were able to focus on these and devote research resources at an unprecedented rate within their businesses. The Morgan team have realised the integration of state-of-the-art Internal Combustion Engine powertrains with significantly reduced CO2 output. Potenza Technology have developed ultra-lightweight distributed electrical system components, that can be deployed on Morgan’s cars as well as vehicles from other OEM’s.
Through the delivery of the project, the consortium has adapted to bring Fraser Nash Energy Systems into the team to investigate their Electric Vehicle and Range Extender powertrain technology. Developed and manufactured by Fraser Nash in the UK, this technology has been previously trialled in other vehicle applications and can now be developed for a lightweight sports car.
In parallel with the powertrain development, an integral part of the project has been to investigate the skills required within the consortiums workforce to bring next-generation technologies into their production facilities and develop a training plan to manage this. Through their interaction with the APC, the consortium have been introduced to Zero Carbon Futures (ZCF), a Research and Training Organisation devoted to the uptake of EV technology. ZCF have a detailed understanding of the skills required to manufacture and service Electric Vehicles, gathered through their work with high volume vehicle OEMs, and have bought a fresh approach to the consortium’s challenges. Morgan and ZCF have further benefitted from sharing opportunities, leading to significant collaboration outside of the funded project. Together, ZCF and Morgan are looking at bringing lean methodology into Morgan’s manufacturing system – with the potential for further work together in the future.
The future looks exciting for Morgan, having recently re-acquired the land upon which their production facility sits and posting record trading demonstrating 14% year on year revenue growth. Looking ahead to the completion of their APC project in 2019, the team are on track to benefit from their strongest ever position with respect to powertrain, offering new propulsion technology options and increased capability to carry them into their second century of vehicle manufacture.