While major auto brands such as Lamborghini, Audi and Hyundai drew the initial enthusiasm expected for the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the acclaim of this Swiss exhibition also attracts the likes of smaller European firms. It is from these smaller companies some of the most imaginative expressions of design and technological creativity radiates through the automotive show. Whether being a small sports car manufacturer or an automotive component supplier, the temptation to leave a lasting influence on the Geneva exhibition leaves open the opportunity to eventually rival or work in concert with the better exhibitors at the auto show.
A United Kingdom business already known in the automobile industry for supplying electric drive solutions, Zytek Automotive arrived at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show with a unique presentation. Pairing one of their 70-kilowatt energy motors with a lightweight Morgan Plus Series sports car, Zytek cooperated with the development of a concept vehicle. Working alongside the Morgan Motor Company and aluminum component manufacturer Radshape, Zytek explored how the zero-emissions power of an electric motor can merge with the driving experience of a timeless roadster.
Creating the Morgan Plus E, the most innovative part of this development concept (other than being based on a classically designed British sports car) is the inclusion of a manual transmission. Typically, full electric cars will not require the need for a transmission based on the fact their motors generate maximum torque at zero RPMs. The Morgan Plus E contends that an all-electric powertrain involving a five-speed manual transmission could have some usable performance advantages.
Zytek Automotive managing director Neil Heslington said, “A multi-speed transmission allows the motor to spend more time operating in its sweet spot, where it uses energy more efficiently, particularly at high road speeds,”. The five-speed manual transmission on the Morgan Plus E is also said to provide stellar acceleration over similar single-speed electric vehicles. Functioning just like a conventional manual-shifting gearbox with the driver engaging a clutch at speed, the Morgan Plus E does not need application of the clutch when starting from a stop or slowing. Zytek also implies the engineering incorporated in merging a five-speed manual with an electric motor could open the door to future developments. Linking an electric motor with a sequential gearbox remains a possibility for the future.
Zytek’s ingenuity in the Morgan Plus E adds to the automotive supplier’s accomplishments. Dealing with several major auto manufacturers, perhaps Zytek’s best-known work is with the Smart ED currently undergoing field-testing in major global cities. Zytek has also been connected to the Gordon Murray city car as well as the Modec all-electric delivery vehicles.
Lately, avid motorsport fans will instantly recall the Zytek name in sports car racing. Buying the licensing of a sports car prototype chassis from Reynard Motorsport, Zytek Motorsport became a race track brand in 2003. The Zytek combined their flourishing electrified motoring development with sports car racing starting with the hybrid Q10 prototype. In American Le Mans Series competition, the Zytek Q10 became the first hybrid race car to score a series podium during the Lime Rock event. Zytek Motorsport also supplied the first KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) to win a Formula 1 grand prix.
The Morgan Plus E will remain a technical concept but could offer the key to a next stage for electric cars.
Information source: Morgan Motor Company, Zytek
Photo source: Zytek via Newspress.uk