Formula One designer unveils new city car
Monday 28 June 2010
Gordon Murray, the legendary Formula One car designer, unveiled his designs for a new electric vehicle in London June 28, claiming a "major breakthrough in city car design."
The T.25 is designed to incorporate solutions to "multiple urban mobility problems," said Gordon Murray Designs, incorporating a 6-meter turning circle for easy maneuvrability in cities, narrow width to increase lane usage and a short length to enable end-on parking in the same manner as the Smart Fortwo.
A normal domestic garage would be able to fit two of the vehicles, which can carry up to three occupants in a 1+2 (driver plus two passengers in the rear) configuration and measure 2.4 meters long and 1.3 meters wide.
Murray says that the T.25 features flexible interior space which can be adjusted for different uses, to allow stowage space of 750 liters, ahead of the similarly sized Smart Fortwo and Toyota iQ.
Other design features include wing mirrors integrated into the body to reduce accidental damage, an ultra-lightweight body to aid fuel consumption, independent rear suspension and a fuel cap that can be accessed from both sides of the vehicle.
While Gordon Murray Designs promises that the T.25 will be "a new British icon for the 21st Century," the company is also keen to emphasize the unique manufacturing process used to create the vehicle, known as iStream, which is described as "potentially... the biggest revolution in high volume manufacture since the Model T."
iStream, which has taken over 15 years to come to fruition, is a rethink of traditional manufacturing processes which uses far less space and significantly reduced the carbon output associated with the manufacturing process.
By dividing the assembly process of the chassis and other components, the firm believes it can reduce assembly times and make cars easier to fix in the future, as replacement parts would be easier to install and factories could easily "upgrade" vehicles with new technologies instead of replacing the whole car.
Murray's pedigree gives his ideas some serious sway in the automotive world, where he is seen as something of an engineering god.
Since 1969 he has designed some of the most successful Formula One cars ever produced, in addition to producing the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
His firm has reportedly sold the rights to produce the T.25 to a European company, which it hopes will produce the vehicle for around £6,000 (€7,350).
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