Alongside several versions of its exhumed three-wheeler and overhauls to its trad-mod four-wheel line-up, UK sports car specialist Morgan used the Geneva show to quietly pull the wraps off its radical EV concept.
Not that the Plus E looks that radical – it wears the traditional bodywork of the new BMW V8-powered Plus 8 and sits on a tweaked version of the lightweight aluminium chassis with which the company has replaced the timber frame that originally raised a few eyebrows.
The Plus E's point of difference is its marriage of an electric motor with a five-speed manual transmission, complete with pedal clutch - claimed to be a world first.
Developed with help from UK engineering outfits Zytek (drivetrain) and Radshape (chassis), the Plus E went to Geneva to gauge crowd reaction and garner expressions of interest, and it may go into production if the demand is there.
The manual vehicle is the first in a two-phase concept program, its primary function is as an engineering test bed. Its successor will come closer to the mooted production spec, with alternative battery technologies and possibly a sequential gearbox.
"A multi-speed transmission allows the motor to spend more time operating in its sweet spot, where it uses energy more efficiently, particularly at high road speeds," Zytek MD Neil Heslington told media in a statement. "It also allows us to provide lower gearing for rapid acceleration and will make the car more engaging for keen drivers."
The Morgan Plus E gets its power from the latest version of Zytek's proven electric motor, already used in a number of forms in programs with GM and Chrysler and in Daimler's electric smart fortwo ed (electric drive).
In the Morgan, the motor sits in the transmission tunnel and draws its power from a lithium-ion battery pack mounted up front with the controlling gear.
The UK sports car maker is staying quiet on details of the battery, save for a range of around 200km. With a motor good for a claimed 70kW and 300Nm sitting in a package weighing a reported 1250kg, the 0-100 sprint could be as low as six seconds with a potential top speed of more than 180km/h.
The ECU automatically blips the motor to match clutch plate revs for smooth shifts and because the motor doesn't idle and serves up full torque from zero revs, the driver can leave the clutch engaged all the way down to zero and pulling away, allowing the car to drive like a full auto.
Zytek has become one of the best established names in EV technology, since it first electrified a Lotus Elise in 1997. Alongside programs with big-name consumer auto makers, it's heavily involved in motorsport, supplying technologies like hybrid racing drivetrains for Le Mans and KERS gear for F1.