The Morris J-type, Britain’s ultimate classic van from the 1950s, is making a comeback as the Morris JE.
It’s an all-electric cargo van which combines a design strongly inspired by the J-type with a modern powertrain, modular chassis, and carbon fiber body construction. The JE light commercial vehicle (LCV) is the work of Morris Commercial, a UK-based and Chinese-funded automotive engineering and manufacturing start-up which aims to give a new lease of life to the J-type as a battery-powered vehicle.
While the Morris JE looks like a facelift of the original J-type, it’s obviously a completely different vehicle. Built on a lightweight modular chassis with a bodywork made of carbon fiber, it’s said to be one of the lightest LCVs on the market. According to Morris Commercial, this contributes to “an outstanding power-to-weight efficiency” and a driving range of around 200 miles (322 km).
No other details are available about the drivetrain although the company does say it features a “state-of-the-art lithium-ion battery powertrain.” Since we’re talking about a van, it’s worth noting that the Morris JE sits within the 2.5 tonne segment, the lightest sector in the commercial vehicle market.
Still, it’s said to boast a 1 tonne (2,205 lbs) payload and 5.5 cubic meters (194.2 cu ft) of cargo capacity – figures more typical of vans from the larger 3.5 tonne segment. Morris Commercial claims it will accommodate two standard Euro pallets on the rear loading space via two full width rear doors. The van also features a sliding side door on the passenger side.
Everything sounds great so far but the problem is Morris Commercial estimates the JE will have a retail price of approximately £60,000 ($77,000), making it by far the most expensive electric cargo van on the market – pricier even than the Tesla Model 3 Performance in the UK.
Morris Commercial says its retro-styled electric van will target “small boutique businesses that crave individuality, as well as larger corporate fleets.” For example, luxury and lifestyle brands and businesses could use the JE to differentiate themselves from other companies. We’re still not sure that can justify a $77,000 price tag, though.
Obviously, many things can change until late 2021, when the company says the JE will go into production. Here’s hoping the price will be among them.