The Morris J-type, for those too young to remember (myself included), was a commercial van launched by Morris all the way back in 1949 and it was on sale for 12 years until 1961. Within that time period, the J-Type became rather iconic and it was highly adaptable. Morris enabled the sale of the J-Type in chassis form, allowing coachbuilders to adapt the bodywork for different demands. There were pick-up trucks, ice cream vans, milk floats and even tipper-trucks all based on the J-Type underpinnings. When the J-Type ceased production in 1961, Morris had sold a massive 48,600 units.
Now, to the present day…
It’s not rare for manufacturers to bring back modern versions of classic top sellers, the Fiat 500 being a shining example, but to bring back a historic commercial van? That’s brave. So, credit where credit is due, as Morris Commercial, UK-based automotive engineering start-up, are entering the market with their first vehicle, and it’s a fully electrified take on the classic concept of the Morris J-Type.
The model will be called the Morris JE, and it has been designed and engineered here in the UK with the core goal of providing a sustainable, electrified option to the Light Commercial Vehicle market. The manufacturer prides itself on high-end build quality and advanced engineering, but we’ll have to wait and see whether this model can stand the ruthless endurance required by commercial vehicles, but this is an exciting concept nonetheless.
So, what’s it all about?
The Morris JE will boast a lithium-ion battery powertrain but the press release doesn’t divulge in any specifics just yet, and there’s no word on the estimated maximum range. Morris Commercial have said that the long-range battery will make this a “commercial vehicle for multiple business and consumer applications.”
In terms of design, don’t expect a replica of the 70-year-old J-Type, this will be a modern vehicle made from lightweight, well-selected materials with styling ideas and cues taken and adapted from the original J-Type. Morris Commercial have told us we can expect to the JE to remain true to it’s DNA and values but also to expect a “fun, funky and contemporary design.”
Dr Qu Li, the CEO and founder of Morris Commercial, says: “I am so pleased to reach this stage after over two years of intense development. It’s been a fantastic journey and I am extremely proud of what the whole Morris Commercial team and its incredible suppliers have achieved. The working engineering prototype has undergone extensive road testing and the end of 2019 is an amazing conclusion to the first phase of the project. We still have a little way to go to bring the project to full production, but we have the team and the product to make this an enormous success. As a business, we are committed to environmental sustainability and we are trailblazing a new approach to the production of appealing, fully electric commercial vehicles. We are very excited to unveil the JE to the public this autumn".
At the moment there seems to be just the one fully operational prototype stored in a top-secret location in Worcestershire, however, Autumn is already here so it won’t be long until this model is unveiled to the world and, to be honest, we’re really rather excited. It sounds like a fully-electric commercial vehicle with bags of character - that’s a completely untouched niche in the EV market, so we can’t wait!