July 6, 2008 Gordon Murray Design’s T.25 concept car has reached the halfway point in development, with the first prototype build scheduled to begin in early 2009. Though Murray, (the brains behind the McLaren F1 road car), has remained tight-lipped about the specifics, he is adamant about delivering a small car that will be more cost-effective at every stage: cheaper to produce, purchase and run.
The T.25, so called because it is Murray’s 25th design, is expected to get between 60-70 miles per gallon, mainly due to being roughly half the size of the average vehicle. Two T.25s will be able to travel in a standard UK motorway lane, and three T.25s will be able to fit in a standard UK parallel parking space. As well as boosting its fuel efficiency, weighing 400kg less than other small cars increases the lifespan of its brakes and tyres. The efficiency of the vehicle, and the (estimated) £5000 price tag, means that the car could deliver an effective return-on-investment that would pay for itself within four years compared with current vehicles – an extremely attractive prospect for first time buyers.
Murray has designed 14 variants of the body, including two-seater and four-seater models. So far, all of them incorporate petrol engines – a seemingly strange choice for such an environmentally conscious design. However, Murray considers the engines to be necessary placeholders, and has designed the car in such a way that should an alternate power source (for example, hydrogen fuel cells) reach prominence in the future, the T.25 will be able to incorporate them.
The environmental benefits of the T.25 aren’t just found on the consumer end. With a lower parts count, faster assembly, and modular design, dedicated factories for the T.25 will be 20% the size of conventional car factories. The vehicle can be manufactured from recycled materials, and its components can be re-used in future models. When it comes to shipping, 12 times as many T.25 chassis’s can be placed in a standard cargo container, in comparison with average car bodies.
After making such strides in cost, efficiency, and environmental friendliness, Gordon Murray Design has pinpointed just three areas they will need to sell the public on when taking it to market– safety, not feeling intimidated on the road, and “coolness”. Meeting the Euro NCAP standards should help satisfy the first two factors. As for “coolness”, well, we challenge anyone to look at the McLaren F1 and say Murray doesn’t have a sense of style.