Morris Commercial, the UK-based automotive engineering and manufacturing start-up, today unveiled its stunning new battery electric light commercial vehicle (LCV), the Morris JE. The JE made its debut appearance at The Design Museum in London, hosted by members of the management team alongside suppliers and investors in the project.
With production stated to begin in late 2021, and with a retail price of approximately £60,000, the Morris JE is an all-new approach to a battery electric light commercial vehicle. With a state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery powertrain, and featuring a modular chassis and carbon-fibre body construction, the JE is a unique proposition. Its technically advanced engineering and highly distinctive styling take the original, iconic Morris J-type van as its inspiration. There is nothing else quite like the new Morris JE, making it a compelling and welcome new entrant into the LCV market.
Presenting the Morris JE were the highly experienced senior management team, consisting of Dr Qu Li, CEO and Founder of Morris Commercial; Johanna Kriisa, Director of Marketing and Investor Relations; and Tony Frazier, Director of Engineering and Supplier Development and Ewoud Vroegop, Director of Sales and Business Development
Dr Qu Li said: “It is a delight to unveil the new Morris JE to the world and for us to show what we have been working so hard to achieve. From the outset, our vision was to bring a new concept to the LCV market, not just in terms of the battery electric powertrain, but also to introduce a timeless design that takes the aesthetics and appeal of such a vehicle to a whole new level. What we have created is a beautiful, retro design that sits upon a cutting-edge, modular BEV platform, delivering practicality and functionality to compete with the best in its segment.”
Technology and platform
The new JE boasts a state-of-the-art, fully electric, UK-sourced, lithium-ion battery powertrain. The vehicle benefits from a lightweight, modular chassis, making it highly adaptable for future derivatives, such as a pickup, minibus or camper van. The combination of an advanced lightweight chassis and a carbon fibre body makes the Morris JE one of the lightest LCVs in the marketplace. The result is an outstanding power-to-weight efficiency that fully maximises the range of the vehicle, which is expected to be 200 miles.
The JE is not intended to be a replica or a continuation of the original Morris J-type, but a reimagining of the original, iconic design. The original J-type was unapologetically distinctive, with its minimal front overhang, distinctive pear-shaped grille, split front windscreen and swooping roofline. The new JE benefits from many of these core styling attributes in a marriage of retro yet entirely contemporary design for the 21st century. In recent years, attractive van design has been largely neglected in favour of utility and functionality, but now the Morris JE reintroduces exciting design without compromising practicality and functionality.
The vehicle’s stunning and distinctive aesthetics will provide a perfect and eye-catching mobile marketing solution for many customers. The JE will be attractive to small boutique businesses that crave individuality, as well as larger corporate fleets. There are numerous luxury and lifestyle brands and businesses that could make significant use of a vehicle such as the Morris JE, where its clear differentiation from other LCVs can be exploited. Obvious examples would include the hospitality industry, the sport and leisure industry, high end manufacturing businesses, the events industry and green logistics.
The JE is an LCV that sits within the 2.5 tonne segment, the lightest sector in the commercial vehicle market. However, it boasts a 1 tonne (1000 kg) payload and 5.5 m³ carrying capacity, which is more typical of vehicles in the larger 3.5 tonne sector. It will accommodate two standard Euro pallets on the rear loading space. Access is provided via full width rear doors and a sliding side door on the nearside of the vehicle. The lightweight construction means that its range is optimised to around 200 miles, making the van an exceptionally practical proposition as an urban commercial vehicle.
The original Morris J-type
The J-type is one of the most iconic commercial vehicles in British history. Not only did it look unique, it played an important role in post-war Britain. It was the van that was used by large and small businesses alike, and was a distinctive vehicle that was seen on every street in Britain for many years. Like the Mini, the Morris Minor and the Land Rover Defender, it’s one of relatively few truly iconic post-war British automotive designs. It is a triumph of aesthetic and practical design and created a ground-breaking footprint-to-volume ratio. Many iconic brands used the original J-type vans, including Cadbury, Carlsberg, Dunlop, John Lewis, OXO, Pickfords, Royal Mail and Walls, to name a few.
A bright new future
The new vehicle takes the DNA and values of a classic design and brings it up to date in a contemporary and technology-focused package. Morris Commercial will never make a vehicle with an internal combustion engine; it is entirely committed to an electrified and sustainable zero emissions future. The Morris JE and all future Morris Commercial products will have a strong emphasis on technology, lightweighting, quality and beautiful craftmanship, creating an individuality in a market where dull, generic design is normal. The JE will be hugely appealing to large and small businesses and those seeking a distinctive vehicle that will be noticed and that can provide fantastic promotional opportunities with real-world commercial capabilities.