Gordon Murray may be best known for creating the vaunted McLaren F1 supercar two decades ago, but his latest projects are on the other end of the automotive spectrum: small city cars. He's been crafting an efficient city car, dubbed the T25, and has more cars like the T25 in the product pipeline -- as well as another supercar like the F1. Here's a look at his future product plans.
T25: We've been hearing about the incredibly small, gasoline-powered T25 city car, capable of achieving 100 mpg on the Euro cycle, for some time now. It's powered by a 660-cc Mitsubishi I-3 that produces a meager 51 horsepower and 42 pound-feet of torque, which is perfectly acceptable given the car's 1320 pound curb weight and smaller-than-a-Smart-Fortwo size. It will cost roughly $9400 when it goes on sale.
This will be the first car from Gordon Murray Design manufactured using his patented iStream manufacturing process. Murray's iStream manufacturing process significantly reduces the amount of capital and space needed to produce a car. Additionally, iStream allows factories to emit far less pollution.
Murray's company itself won't produce the T25, but will license the car and the manufacturing process out to another company, possibly an automaker or even a company such as Sony or Virgin. According to Murray, the global recession delayed plans for signing a licensing agreement, but a deal should be inked within the next six to nine months.
T26: The T26 chassis will be nearly identical to the T25. It will ride on the same platform and use the same engine as the T25, but feature a different body and is being developed for a potential [unspecified] Japanese customer. Like the T25, it could be manufactured using the iStream process.
T27: This is the other of Murray's city cars we've been hearing about. It's based on the T25, but rather than using a conventional gasoline powerplant, the T27 is propelled by a 25-kW (34 horsepower) electric motor from EV specialist Zytec. Power will come from a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack that should give the 1540-pound T27 a range between 80 and 100 miles. Murray revealed full specifications of the car in late May this year, when he revealed working prototypes will be running by April of next year. It will cost around $18,800 when it makes it to production.
T28: Unlike the three aforementioned Gordon Murray Design vehicles, which feature a unique three-seat layout, this car will be a four-seater. Details about the car are extremely thin, but it's known that GMD is creating the T28 as a design study for a major automotive manufacturer. Although it features four seats, it's unknown if the T28 will use the same main hatch entry/exit process as the T25, or if it will feature standard doors.[jj1]
T29: According to Murray, the T29 will be similar to the T26. It, too, will ride on the T25's platform, but feature a unique "design stamp" for another manufacturer. This seems to indicate Murray is in talks with several different companies about simultaneously licensing the T25 platform and iStream manufacturing process.
T30: This one is U.S.-legal! It's another iStream car, but will be larger than the previous ones. It's being designed to meet all U.S. federal government crash regulations, and was commissioned by a U.S. client. No word on who the client is, or if the T30 will make its way Stateside.
T31: Murray is coy about the details on this car, but did reveal it's another electric iStream car.
Supercar: This one is sure to get the blood of enthusiasts pumping. Murray says he has a nice idea about what to do for the supercar, but needs to set iStream licensing projects underway before tackling a supercar.
"It will be quite a shock to people. It won't be another 1200 kilo[gram], 1600 kilo[gram], or two ton supercar trying to go 260 mph," Murray told Britain's Car Magazine, taking a stab at the Bugatti Veyron. "It will be the total antithesis of that, very limited in volume and it won't be a million pounds [Sterling]."
Murray's last penned the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren supercar, with a a 617-horsepower, supercharged, 5.4-liter V-8, but is trying to return to the roots of his famous McLaren F1 supercar. Murray says his next supercar will be very similar to the F1 in driving experience, extremely lightweight with copious amounts of power, and offer limited electronics in order to keep the driver involved. While electronics have made some cars perform extremely well, we know there's nothing quite like the feeling of being able to say "I did that, not the computer." We can't wait to see the finished product.
Source: Car Magazine