Chicago (IL) – Gordon Murray, known as designer of Brabham Formula 1 racers in the 1970s and 80s as well as the designer of the McLaren F1 and Mercedes SLR McLaren supercars, is not really the guy from whom you would expect a green car. But that is exactly what Murray has developed over the past years: The designer aims to change the face of auto production and the way the auto affects the environment.
Murray’s new project is called the T.25 and received its name since it is the 25th prototype car program of this type. It focuses on reducing the CO2 emissions in a major way throughout the entire lifecycle of the compact, lightweight vehicle. According to the designer, the development team is about halfway through their engineering plan that has taken them two years.
In an attempt to create a vehicle that is extremely efficient, Murray’s design team has made the decision to utilize very few tiny parts that are designed using manufacturing techniques that are not wasteful or harmful to society. The majority of the components will have more than one function and will be built from materials that are recycled so that they can reduce the impact of manufacturing on the environment.
Some of the parts of the chassis apparently can be reused again when the vehicle’s lifespan is up and a new generation model is available. The vehicle will be compact in all areas, including its components and its overall size. Even the facility needed for production of the T.25 will be smaller, which also adds to the vehicles lifecycle efficiency. The tires are expected to have minimal if any wear and tear issues and a longer lifecycle because of the reduced weight of the vehicle.
Murray is trying hard to keep the T.25’s weight down for city driving. The company claims that two T.25s are capable to travel in one standard-sized British highway lane and three will be able to fit into an average sized parallel parking space. The cars structure will allow it to be transported to world markets both efficiently and effectively. Murray estimates that 12 times as many of the vehicles will fit into a car carrier when compared to an average vehicle. The designer said that he is currently figuring out a way a way for the vehicle to be shipped like Ikea furniture, compressed and stacked.
Murray promises that even though the car is small and lightweight the T.25 will be capable of adhering to all of the highest safety ratings and regulations at the time of production.
There are no technical specifications or performance numbers on the T.25 prototype available yet. But don’t expect an especially powerful engine, especially since the vehicle relies heavily on a power to weight ratio. The original plans called for a “lightweight, ultra efficient petrol engine” that can accommodate different engine and fuel types. If Murray can keep the weight down, even a small engine with less than 50 horsepower may be all you need to zip around in town.
It has yet to be determined when the car could make it to the market. However, in 2009 we should be see a working model of the vehicle and production could be happening in the 2011 to 2012 timeframe, if Murray does not hit any major roadblocks.
The initial vehicle plans state that the car will first be released in Europe and Asia where traffic congestion and auto pollution are the heaviest in the world.
No word on price yet.