Making the electric Morris Minor
The next time you spot a classic 1953 Morris Minor Series 2 on the streets of London, take a closer look. Far from being an old banger, it might be one of the cleanest, most innovative cars in the world.
London Electric Cars (LEC) convert old petrol and diesel vehicles into electric ones. The Morris is their beautiful prototype. Look under the bonnet and instead of a dirty, oily petrol engine you’ll find recycled laptop batteries.
The man behind LEC is Matthew Quitter, a Bulb member and hero. Like most of us, he sees electric cars as the future. But he was concerned about the one billion cars already in the world. If we skip straight to replacing them, think of all the metal headed to the scrap heap. Matthew decided there was a better way. In his words, he has 'a simple goal to bring down the number of combustion engines in the world, without throwing away all these cars that have combustion engines in them.' That’s where conversion comes in.
A real craftsman
The LEC conversion process is a combination of using technology, along with good old-fashioned mechanical engineering. It starts by using 3D computer modelling to model the car and work out where to put the batteries. After, Matthew goes to the garage to start tinkering. He says: 'There’s a moment in the conversion process when the car becomes "clean", where all the oily bits have been taken care of and it’s time to start putting the electrics in.'
Listening to Matthew, it’s obvious he’s a real craftsman who loves his work. He knew nothing about cars before he decided to take on the challenge of converting them. And after kicking off with the Morris Minor, he’s now dabbling with other familiar cars, like the Land Rover. He’s even working on a Ferrari conversion.
Passing on the knowledge
People really love what Matthew’s doing to these classic cars. The Morris Minor costs just £1 a week to run as a daily transport around London and has been spoken of as the perfect city car.
But one electric classic car won’t change the world on its own. That’s why Matthew’s working on something that just might. He’s developing 'car kits' to pass on what he’s learnt about converting cars to electric. The aim is to enable easy conversion of cars at home, with no need for cutting or welding. As Matthew says: 'If we can create kits and let people do their own conversions, it will lead to many more being converted.'
Putting power into the hands of people to go green - that’s just the sort of thing Bulb can get behind. London Electric Cars - we salute you.