1950s / British / Electric / Morris

Battery-powered oddity: Morris Minor Electric

morris-minor-electric-6We stumbled upon a veritable herd of Morris Minors not far from Puget Sound in the state of Washington. Although all of the cars are interesting in their own rights, a blue late-1950s example with an “Electric” badge on the trunk and no exhaust pipe stuck out like a sore thumb.

A closer inspection reveals that the Minor seems to have been fully restored in the not-too-distant past, painted in an excessively shiny shade of blue and converted to run on electricity. We’re certainly not experts on electric vehicles, but we’re fairly certain that the conversion is home-brewed and fairly recent.

The Minor’s four-cylinder engine has been replaced by an electric motor that gets power from four regular car batteries linked together, while a fifth battery mounted on the firewall is connected to a power converter. Also found under the hood are a regular household plug outlet, a charging cord that goes through the radiator grille and a battery charger designed specifically for EVs.

The electric motor sends power to the rear wheels via an automatic transmission of unknown provenance. Inside, the only major modification is the addition of an amp meter on the left side of the speedometer.

Does anyone know anything about this conversion? The Minor’s maximum driving range, how long it takes to charge the battery pack and so forth?

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5 thoughts on “Battery-powered oddity: Morris Minor Electric

  1. I don’t know anything about this conversion, but I am familiar with the Renault 5s that were converted to EVs by a Massachusetts company when new, and if you tried to run one of those on 4 car batteries (rather than the original complement of 16 golf cart batteries wired together for 48 V), your range would be limited to less than 10 mi. This thing must have more batteries in the trunk.

  2. I know about the Morris Minor in Port Townsend. I actually own it and another 65 Morris Minors. The blue Morris electric was converted be a fellow up in B.C. Canada. It has the old style lead acid batteries but I am about to install a Lithium set of cells. Currently, no pun intended, the car can travel about 40 miles between charges, but that will change to about 90 if i have my way.
    You can write to me at Rob@Olympus.net if you want more details.
    thanks,
    Riob

    Rob Gruye
    Double M Ranch- Morris Minor Restoration

  3. If it’s the same color I’m thinking of I believe I had an email conversation with the owner. They said,

    “Jeremy,

    The actual conversion process was probably a couple of months. Most of the 9 months that I spent on the project was restoration.

    The conversion cost was about $15000 for parts.

    Range depends greatly on speed, but it’s about 70 miles @ 55 mph.

    Peak hp is about 45. I’m not sure about the torque.

    The motor is an AC-50 that came with a Curtis 1238R controller. The motor is a 3 phase ac induction type. The 28 batteries are Sinopoly 200 ah, lifepo4. The charger is 1500 watt that uses 120vac, I forget the brand.

    It uses a Clean Power dc-dc converter to provide 12vdc. No 12vdc battery is used. The battery management system is an Elithion Lite. The throttle is a hall effect unit from Net Gain Motors.

    The suspension is unchanged. I adjusted the front torsion bars up a little to handle the 100# of weight gain. We installed disc brakes on the front. The motor is mounted just in front of the frame cross section under the seats. The floor pan had to be modified a little. There is no transmission. The motor is connected to the differential via a new driveshaft. The differential ratio is 5.375:1. That’s ok, but even lower would be better. I fabricated the battery rack of aluminum with a wood and acrylic top. All of the batteries are in one place under the hood. The controller , bms, throttle, contacter and disconnect are also under the hood. The charger and dc-dc conv. Are in the trunk where the spare tire went. Reverse is accomplished in the controller and is just the flip of a switch. The motor runs backwards in reverse.”

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