Gordon Murray designs the Batmobile

Published: 16 June 2011

You may not care for Batman, a character with a fairly controversial way of dealing with the loss of his parents. You may also be unconvinced that Batman's relationship with his youthful sidekick Robin is purely professional. But one thing that has always marked Batman out as the car enthusiasts' superhero has been the Batmobile.

Batman's high-tech wheels have been a central part of the Dark Knight's adventures in comics, TV and movies. But rather than use a design from the current comics or the latest movie, the show's creators asked Gordon Murray to create a concept for a futuristic Batmobile to star in the Batman Live arena show.

Gordon Murray's Batmobile: the low-down

The Batmobile unveiled today is a sleek tandem two-seater with advanced aerodynamics. Gordon Murray says he had great fun with the design, savouring a rare opportunity to design a car without the constraints of series production. His Batmobile draws inspiration from childhood memories of Batman comics and toy cars, while incorporating advanced materials and aerodynamic principles from the F1 circuit.

Inspiration for the new Batmobile came quickly to Murray: 'normally it takes me three or four attempts to resolve a concept, but this shape came from the first pen sketch I did for the Batmobile.'

The Batmobile's fantasy drivetrain, and real-world aerodynamics

The Batmobile design features a hydrogen fuel cell to provide power to the four virtual wheel motors. But this isn't a typical EV powertrain. Typical EV powertrains don't feature diode wheel spokes, which generate a directional anti-gravity forcefield that can propel the Batmobile while it levitates in ground-effect skimming 40mm above the ground...

Then there's the hydrogen-fueled afterburners for 'hyperspeed' cruising, a sonar guidance system, laser blasters in the nose and stealth technology to avoid detection. Polarised 'Batgrips' replace a conventional steering wheel, and provide steer-by-wire control of the antigravity drive. The Batgrips also channel positive energy from Batman to activate the hydrogen stack. 

The aerodynamic concept is more familiar from Gordon Murray's previous work on Formula One cars - the faired virtual wheels and wing sections are designed to harness ground effect and are augmented by rear-mounted fans. Murray even invented 'breathable carbonfibre', a porous composite material that work with the fans to channel air through the body surfaces for aerodynamic efficiency. It's an evolution of ideas he used on the Brabham BT-46B F1 car and McLaren F1, using fans to draw airflow across the aerodynamic surfaces.

So what actually powers the Batmobile?

Gordon Murray Design didn't construct the car used in the Batman Live show (we understand it was built in a prototype fabrication shop in London), and the show's creators have been coy on revealing how the Batmobile will move about the stage of the arena show. We can at least confirm that the Batmobile doesn't have functioning antigravity virtual wheel drive.

You can see the Batmobile in action at the Batman Live arena show, The show opens in Manchester on July 19, and will tour Newcastle, Glasgow, Sheffield, Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Dublin and Belfast on the UK and Ireland leg of a planned world tour.

>>Impressed with Gordon Murray's sleek new Batmobile? Share your thoughts in the comments section below:


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