Shell and Gordon Murray have today unveiled a city car concept which they claim, if it were ever to go into production, could deliver material reductions in energy use in the road transport sector.
Developed using a process of “co-engineering” whereby vehicle body, engine design and lubricants are all created together, the three-seater vehicle is a rethink of Murray’s T.25 city car produced back in 2010.
A number of the latest car’s components have also been fabricated using 3D printing to accelerate the construction process. The prototype also uses recycled carbon-fibre for its body that Murray says can be assembled for a quarter of the price of a conventional steel car and almost the entire car can be recycled at the end of its life. Total weight is listed at being 550 kg, which is nearly half that of a regular supermini made of steel.
“Independent testing” and a “rigorous” life-cycle study suggest the new concept car would deliver a 34% reduction in primary energy use over its entire lifecycle when compared to a typical city car available in the UK.
“The Shell Concept Car would use around half the energy required to build and run than a typical small family car available in the UK and 69% less than that of a typical sports utility vehicle available in the UK,” says Shell’s Mark Gainsborough.
The Dutch oil giant provided all the fluids for the car, specially ‘designing’ the motor oil to improve efficiency, principally by minimising friction. In parallel, engine designer and former director of Honda F1, Osamu Goto, was brought in to optimise the three cylinder petrol engine, which he is said to have done by re-designing many of the internal engine components associated with friction.
Following a number of vehicle testing protocols, sample test results show a steady state consumption of 107 miles per gallon at 45 mph and a 5% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to standard lubricants available in the UK.
From a styling perspective, the concept offers a new take on the ‘tall and narrow’ look on the outside, while the interior adopts a central driving position with two passenger seats in the rear – now a hallmark Murray design feature.