Seventy years after the debut of the original Morris J-Type van at the Earls Court motor show, the new all-electric Morris JE has been launched. Unveiled at an event at the Design Museum on Wednesday 13 November, the retro-styled light commercial updates the ‘big little van’ for the 21st century.
Striking in appearance, the prototype Autovolt saw at the presentation features many of the styling cues that endeared the J-Type to so many buyers, which included both small business and large corporates including Cadburys, Dunlop, and Sainsbury’s. The new version is aimed at similar markets, the most immediate customers springing to mind being boutique, hospitality, and luxury goods businesses.
The 4.6m-long Morris JE has a 60kWh lithium-ion battery which is good for an estimated 200 miles of range. No technical details were released regarding the electric motor. The JE has a body made from light weight carbon-composites, as well as a modular platform which may spawn campervan, minibus and pick-up derivatives.
Payload is 1,000kg (one-tonne) and the carrying capacity is 5.5cu m. For comparison, the new Ford Transit Custom PHEV can carry 6.0cu m and has a payload of 1,130kg. Twin opening rear doors and a side sliding door allow for ease of loading, and the cargo bay can accommodate two Euro pallets.
The technically-avantgarde construction may partly account for the price. At £60,000, the Morris JE isn’t cheap, but the van has Vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability, and can also fast charge to 80% in thirty minutes. For patriotic souls, the JE has been designed and engineered in Great Britain, and will be built in the UK, too. Premium materials and a high quality of craftmanship are also expected to attract buyers.
Bullish about sales targets, Morris Commercial expects to sell 1,000 vans in its first year, and the company stated that even those first forecasts may have to be revised due to the level of enquiries it has received for the vibrantly-styled van.
Dr Qu Li, CEO and founder of Morris Commercial 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.”
The all-electric Morris JE will go on sale in late 2021, and Morris Commercial will never make an internal combustion vehicle, the company ‘entirely committed to an electrified and sustainable zero-emissions future’.