Morgan’s LIFEcar may still have a future

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 29, 2010

The amazing hydrogen-driven LIFEcar (Lightweight Fuel Efficient Car) was the most modern and improbable car to come out from the British sports car company Morgan was reported to still have a role as a hybrid electric car in the future. The company is working in partnership with Oscar Automotive, the universities of Cranefield and Oxford, and QinetiQ to promote the Morgan LIFEcar by early 2012.

The company has now gone beyond the hydrogen fuel cell stack that the 2008 show car was originally equipped with. Although hydrogen was an ideal fuel for Morgan, its availability was its greatest drawback. Currently, the company is seeking an alternative with considerations encompassing both gasoline and diesel together with LPG and biofuel, and clearly the car's platform needs to be modified to accommodate the new engine.  

The LIFEcar project was announced in the autumn of 2006 and was shown as a finished product at the 2008 Geneva motor show. With the 30bhp fuel cell stack, four advanced electric motors and high transfer-rate ultra capacitors instead of batteries, the LIFEcar was intended to be as lightweight and fuel efficient as it can be.

All wheel drive was provided by its four independent motors, while its ultra-capacitors provided it with the ability to regenerate kinetic energy during braking more than a standard hybrid.

These, in combination with a 650kg curb weight, gave the LIFEcar a sprint rate of 0-60mph in only 7.5 seconds and reach a maximum speed of 90mph, employing regenerated energy mostly.

Cruising speed was maintained through its 30bhp fuel cell, to start from cold and as backup power source. Since the LIFEcar will be employing an ultra-small combustion engine instead of the original fuel cell, the company is confident that the original target of 150mph is still within reach.

The carmaker claims that the main electrical systems of the car are functional and brilliant and they are pleased with the dynamometer results. By 2011 government funding for the project will run out so all those involved are eager to see it come to fruition even though the emissions-free target won´t be entirely reached. 

Topics: morgan, concept

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