I first learned about Gordon Murray, a former Formula 1 designer, about eight months ago, when his team was half-way through the 24-month developmental cycle for his novel T25 city car – a cute little bug that could spark a clean transportation revolution. It’s reportedly smaller than a Smart Fortwo.
Reports last month suggested that the T25 design and engineering work has already been completed, well ahead of schedule, and they’re ready to build the prototype.
The T25 will be small, but safe; it will boast a lightweight chassis – built from carbon fiber composites – mated to a three-cylinder engine. These two factors combine to create a car that is expected to cut CO2 emissions in half when compared most European cars – which are already far more efficient than their North American cousins. In other words, the T25 should do better than 85 mpg.
Murray has 15 potential clients – from a dozen countries – who have expressed interest in buying franchises to manufacture and sell the T25. But here’s where it gets really cool. Murray has created a streamlined manufacturing process – and dubbed it the iStream – so the T25 factories will only be one-fifth the size of standard automobile plants, and require just one-fifth the investment.
But a good story could get even better. The basic platform underpinning the T25 is flexible; it will be able to accommodate future designs coming from Murray’s engineering team, including a passenger car, a pickup truck, and a mini-van.
Murray’s company is operating in stealth mode, so details are slim, and most of what I’ve heard about the T25 is conjecture and rumor. But Gordon Murray has enjoyed a distinguished career, and I expect we’ll be hearing a great deal more about the T25 and its siblings in the next two years.