Twenty years ago, Gordon Murray began engineering what would ultimately become the McLaren F1 supercar. These days, the British designer is hard at work crafting a new low-emissions city car. We’ve already heard a bit about the project Murray calls T27, but we’ve finally seen some detailed specifications on the super-compact car.
The T27 is the electric-powered offshoot of the T25 gasoline-powered car also under development. Murray says the car will be the most efficient electric car in the world, and a running prototype will be completed by April 2011.
Motive power comes courtesy of a small 25-kW (34 horsepower) electric motor, reportedly capable of sprinting the car from 0 to 62 mph in less than 15 seconds, and to a top end of 65 mph. Power is provided by a 12-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which is expected to provide 80-100 miles of range on a single charge.
In order to make the most of its drivetrain, the T27 needs to be light — and it seems Murray’s team has succeeded on that front. Incredibly, the car tips the scales at just under 1500 pounds — and that figure includes the battery pack. Certainly, the T27’s small dimensions help. It’s only 98.4 inches long, 51.6 inches wide, and 62.4 inches tall. For comparison, a Smart ForTwo measures 106.1 inches long, 61.4 inches wide, and 60.7 tall.
Gordon Murray Design says that the car benefitted from a “clean sheet of paper” design approach, as did the McLaren F1. The car was designed to be a small city car with excellent efficiency, and to that end, GMD achieved its goal. Using U.K. carbon dioxide metrics — which actually measure the C02 emitted while producing electricity to charge an emissions-free electric vehicle — the T27 will emit 42 percent less CO2 in its lifetime than the average subcompact.
Once development of this small electric car is completed, Gordon Murray Design will search for partners to build the car, utilizing its innovative “iStream” manufacturing process. GMD says the iStream manufacturing process allows the manufacturer to build the cars with 80 percent less capital investment and only 20 percent of the space a typical factory would require. The production line could feasibly build both the T27 and the T25.
At this point, GMD has no official partner, but says it is talking with “several interested parties” about putting the city cars into series production.
Source: Gordon Murray Design