When Morris introduced the J-type van in 1948, it took Europe by storm, becoming one of the most ubiquitous delivery vehicles east of the Atlantic Ocean. In 2019, the newly reconstituted Morris Commercial wants to do it again, only with a twist.
This is the Morris JE, and as its name suggests, it's a new take on the classic commercial van. This time around, it's an all-electric, lithium-powered, carbon-fiber-constructed, future-proofed technology showcase; but Morris Commercial promises that it will still pack all the charm of the vehicle that inspired it.
"The JE successfully takes the essence of the original, iconic design, and reimagines it as an all-new, sustainable vehicle for the 21st century," says the new company. "With modern styling cues and cutting-edge technology, the company is committed to delivering products with outstanding design at their core and with sustainability firmly at the top of the agenda through its commitment to full electrification."
In fact, Morris Commercial has taken the "big" little van concept to heart with this tribute. Not only is it small, sustainable and packaged ideally for cargo, it's also, the company claims, the least-heavy commercial vehicle of its type in existence. That's down to the aforementioned carbon-fiber body construction and what the company describes as a "lightweight" chassis.
"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," said Morris Commercial CEO and founder Qu Li.
The announcement goes on to call the JE "fun" and "funky," which is all well and good, but we're not entirely certain how it will fit into the marketplace in terms of initial cost, let alone upkeep. Commercial vehicles need to take a beating, and a carbon-fiber body sounds like a magnet for repair woes.
We hope Morris Commercial finds its niche, even if it's just selling to mobile marketing and retail brands with deep pockets and green ambitions.