Gordon Murray’s city car to return in 2015

Published: 09 April 2015

► Murray and Shell announce collaboration
► A new evolution of T25 city car to be built
► Not for production but will test on road

Remember the T25, the tiny city car design first revealed in 2010 by former F1 visionary and automotive design doyen Gordon Murray? It’s set for a return in November 2015, with a ‘complete rethink’ underway in collaboration with two new partners: oil company Shell and engine specialists Geo Technology.

The new design venture is being called ‘Project M’ and although it still won’t result in a production version of Murray’s city car vision, the end product will be a new working prototype which will be tested on public roads. Our first look at the reimagined car is the engineering drawing pictured, released today.

Project M: the background story

Gordon Murray Design’s original T25 city car concept from 2010 (and a related battery-electric version called the T27) combined a tiny turning circle, central driving position and a ruthlessly lightweight construction.

It was designed with an innovative manufacturing process in mind, dubbed ‘iStream’, which forgoes the steel stamping process ordinarily involved in car production. Despite interest from various parties, the car and manufacturing techniques are respectively yet to become a production reality. Gordon Murray Design has however recently received funding from the Office of Low Emission Vehicles and Department for Transport to help develop the iStream concept further.

Forecasts predict that by 2050 up to three quarters of the world’s population will live in and around big cities. So cars like the Project M, which maximise personal mobility and minimise energy use, will become increasingly important.

GMD has already confirmed it is separately working with Yamaha on its own small car project. Read the full story here.

How will the T25 evolve in this new project?

The official line is that the evolved concept will still be a simple, practical city car designed for global markets. As well as showcasing lightweight engineering and innovative production techniques, it aims to explore the efficiency potential of internal combustion power, rather than hybrid or pure electric tech in this case.

Shell will concentrate on the fluids, developing the lowest-friction engine oils possible. The company was involved in the initial T25 city car project, developing a low-viscosity engine lubricant which was said to reduce urban-cycle fuel consumption by up to 6.5%, helping a prototype achieve a 97mpg average from Brighton to London.

New technical drawing issued

Engine specialists Geo Technology will contribute to the development of a new small-capacity combustion engine to sit within the existing lightweight tubular frame of the T25.

Incidentally, Murray, Shell and Geo Technology founder Osamu Goto have a decent track record. They’re at pains to point out that the last time the three parties worked together was on the McLaren MP4/4 F1 car, which comprehensively cleaned up in 1988.

When will we see the end result?

It’ll be revealed in November 2015, with an extensive test programme in real-world conditions planned. And while it’s unlikely to make the jump to showrooms any time soon, some of the thinking behind it could in the future. At the very least, perhaps inside an engine oil bottle.