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First look: Murray unveils British-built T25 micro

We have liftoff: The innovative T25 micro car from Gordon Murray opens from the front.

Former F1 and McLaren supercar designer reveals ground-breaking new T25 City Car

29 Jun 2010

THE first official images of Gordon Murray Design’s ground-breaking T25 City Car have been released in the UK, where the all-new three-seat micro-vehicle made its global public debut at the Smith School World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment yesterday.

No new details have been announced for the T25, which as we reported in detail last month could also spawn the world’s ‘greenest’ EV, but the first on-road driving images clearly reveal a central driver’s seat beneath a front-hinged canopy that forms the entire front half of the vehicle.

The latter allows access in tight parking situations, but ex-Formula One and McLaren supercar designer Gordon Murray says the T25 will herald a new era of pint-sized economy cars that are both fun to drive and cheap to produce, courtesy of Murray’s unique ‘iStream’ manufacturing process that slashes factory investment, space and energy.

“We are very privileged to have been asked to show T25 publicly for the first time at the World Forum as the aims of our company are very much aligned with those of the Smith School and therefore this global event,” said GMD CEO and technical director Professor Gordon Murray.

Established in 2007 at Shalford, in Surrey, Gordon Murray Design (GMD) hopes to enter production with the T25 within two years, with the car’s rear-mounted 38kW 660cc three-cylinder petrol engine and five-speed clutchless gearbox to eventually be joined by a lightweight 25kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor and single-speed transmission produced by Zytek.

110 center imageLeft: Gordon Murray T25 controls. Below: Gordon Murray T27 layout.

The T25 comes with all-independent suspension but has a much smaller footprint than today’s smallest production cars, the Smart ForTwo and Toyota’s 2+1 iQ. It measures less than 2500mm long, 1300mm wide and 1600mm high, meaning three T25s could be parked in one traditional parallel parking space.

Its tiny 1780mm wheelbase is also claimed to offer an unprecedented six-metre turning circle, despite an interior is said to be large enough for several large suitcases at 160 litres, extending to 720 litres.

Apart from crash structures at either end of the “immensely strong” F1-inspired tubular steel and composite floor chassis frame design, the T25 will come with ABS brakes, electronic stability/traction control and a driver’s airbag.

The conventionally powered version T25 weighs around 575kg, has a restricted top speed of 145km/h and can accelerate to 100km/h in a claimed 16.2 seconds, while returning fuel consumption of about 3.5L/100km and CO2 emissions of just 86g/km.

The all-electric T27’s target weight is 680kg (including its 12kWh lithium-ion battery pack), and the EV is said to have a top speed of 105km/h and a maximum driving range of 160km.

Founding director of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Sir David King, said the transport sector was hugely dependent on fossil fuels, and the economy needed to be “de-fossilised” as quickly as possible.

“We know most of the technologies already exist in delivering low-carbon transportation and the T25 and iStream manufacturing processes are clear examples of how the transition can bring new and exciting developments,” he said.

GMD says a single-seat version of the T25 could also be offered, with bolt-in rear seats that still provided more rear legroom than conventional B-segment (light-sized) vehicles).

The company claims the iStream production process, which GMD says could be the biggest revolution in high-volume vehicle manufacture since the Ford Model T, requires only 20 per cent of the space and reduces capital investment by 80 per cent compared with a traditional assembly plants.

It’s expected that the first iStream production facility, which will do without a conventional paint shop, will be built in the UK, with further examples planned for mega-cities around the world.

IPE Engineering managing director Holger Erker described the vehicle’s innovation and process design as outstanding.

“From our analysis, the iStream process can be positively qualified as the most promising manufacturing process development in the car industry of the next decade,” he said.

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