• Mar 5th 2008 at 8:28AM
  • 13
Click above for a high-res gallery of the Morgan LifeCar

For a company that still makes cars out of wood, Morgan knows not only how to hang in there, but to come up with some really neat stuff. The LifeCar divides a line that reaches well into the past and well into the future. Its lines are retro modern -- or is that modern retro? -- with all the traditional early-20th-century coupe cues done in aluminum. The hydrogen powerplant is theoretically good for a 200-mile range and "sporting" British performance. Check out the press release for the full details, and be sure to look at the gallery of hi-res images below.


The Morgan LIFECar takes a fresh look at transport, offering as revolutionary an approach to personal freedom as did the brilliant Morgan Threewheeler introduced by HFS Morgan nearly 100 years ago.

The LIFECar is powered by a fuel cell that is sized to meet the constant load requirement of cruising (about 20% of peakpower) and as a result significant weight and cost reductions have been made over other designs. By recapturing energy during braking, maximum performance is available to LIFECar for acceleration from this unique mix of technologies.

The initial concept was the brainchild of Hugo Spowers of RiverSimple, a specialist company investigating new ideas in environmentally sound transport solutions. In order to realise LIFECar however, several partners were needed to make the concept a reality.

The project is based around hydrogen as the fuel source because when it burns the only emission is pure water. Hydrogen is potentially abundant and Spowers brought in Linde to the project for their expertise across the whole hydrogen supply chain from production and distribution through to their high pressure refuelling systems.

The hydrogen is converted to electricity using a 4 stack hydrogen PEM fuel cell. Apart from 22Kw of electricity, the fuel cell produces only heat and water as by-products. The fuel cell made by QinetiQ operates at 45% efficiency, a significant advance over the conventional internal combustion engine.

Electricity is directed to 4 electric motor/generators, each connected directly to a driving wheel. Not only are these motors super-efficient – 92-94% across their operating range - but they have inbuilt re-generative braking, recapturing the kinetic energy for when vivid acceleration is required (and reducing energy consumption still further). Whilst regenerative braking is not a new concept, current applications offer around 10% energy reuse, whereas in LIFECar, up to 50% of this stored kinetic energy can be re-employed.

This regained energy needs to be efficiently stored and delivered. Historically this has been the job of batteries, which are rich in heavy metals, heavy in weight and limited in their ability to deliver or receive high power bursts of energy. LIFECar has shunned these in favour of a bank of ultra capacitors. These have the ability to shuffle up to 1000 amps back and forth, maximising energy storage during braking and delivering powerful acceleration.

This technology would not be practical without sophisticated controls. Cranfield University have developed management systems for the vehicle, hydrogen, fuel cell, ultracapacitors and the motors allowing them to become the drive and braking system (powerful enough to give 0.7g retardation as well as generating energy). They have also developed a solution to seamlessly switch the electronic brakes to a conventional hydraulic system at very low speeds.

LIFECar has been engineered to deliver energy consumption equivalent to 150 mpg (1.8 l/100km) on petrol with a top speed potential of 80-85 mph, a 0-62 time of under 7 seconds and a 250 mile range. This unique mix of technology has been packaged by Morgan to add yet another unique twist to the project. Using only the best and lightest materials that are also attractive from an environmental and an aesthetic point of view, aluminium, wood and leather, the Morgan DNA is clearly visible and gives a new dimension to an environmentally sensitive concept.

One thing is for certain, the world of motoring will change out of all recognition over the next 10 years...Could this be its future?

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Totally steampunk, looks like they used every edge on a french curve. Beautiful machine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Absolutly love it.

      How awesome would this be in a garage with an Excelero (replica I suppose) and a Weismann (spelling?)?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Steampunk. Awesome.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I Love Morgans! The Hamsters got to be happy about this.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'll bet the Hamster will be the first one on the waiting list.
      • 7 Years Ago
      for some reason, this design reminds me greatly of the bugatti atlantique. or the aerolithe.

      just must be in the way the fenders flow, the arched grille and the headlight position.

      beautiful bit of work tho.

      • 7 Years Ago
      That's pretty cool looking. I'd be tempted to throw out the green engine replace it with some punch though.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think almost every car-nut loved the original Mo's. This is a nice rendition of a new version. I could do without the rims, but very nice overall.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Have you seen the exciting electric cars available from Zap? Go to http://www.zapworld.com right now to see what they have to meet your needs. I recommend the Xebra or the Obvio, which do you like best?
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's a great modernization of a car style that I've never loved; till now! That's very cool! See this is what Ford should do with Mercury! FAR OUT designs! Ya know? Or a Scion killer. But seems like Scion is killing themselves anyway!
        • 7 Years Ago
        ummm...wow....you just left me speechless...
      • 7 Years Ago
      As the owner of an original 1968 Morgan Plus 8, I hope Morgan takes my opinion seriously that this is a spectacular car. With advancements like this, Morgan should be around for another 100 years!
      • 7 Years Ago
      >>> I like this car. It definitely gets my vote ... and two thumbs up, t'boot!
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