The Truth About Cars » Gordon Murray The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Thu, 17 Jul 2014 20:36:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Gordon Murray Gordon Murray’s T.25 and T.27 City Cars To Go Into Production Fri, 16 Aug 2013 11:30:10 +0000 gmdt25

Pioneering designer Gordon Murray, the man who gave the world the McLaren F1, announced on his blog that his T.25 and T.27 urban concept cars have been sold by Gordon Murray Design to an as yet unnamed manufacturer, to go into production and on sale in 2016. “The T.25 and T.27 concept has now been sold to a customer and with a following wind a lot more drivers should be able to enjoy the centre drive experience in 2016!,” Murray said. The tiny T. cars use a 1+2 configuration, with space for the driver and two passengers. The driver sits centrally with the two passengers flanking the driver in the back. The T.25 will be powered by a modified 660cc 51 HP 3 cylinder sourced from Daimler’s smart division. The T.27 is the same car, only battery electric. The very small cars were designed to be built with Murray’s unique iStream manufacturing process.


The T.25 will weigh only 1,265  lbs (575 kg), almost 400 lbs lighter than a smart Fortwo. It’s 94.5″ long, 51.2″ wide and 55.1″ tall. The turning circle is a very tight 20 feet. It is designed to meet crash standards and Murray says that the tube and composite chassis is “exceptionally strong”. It has scissor doors to allow parking in tight spaces. It’s short enough to park in curbside spaces parked nose to the curb.


Murray also said the he has contracts signed to use iStream on four other projects. “The next challenge in the iStream story is to develop one or more of our current programmes into a mass-produced vehicle so that as many folks as possible can enjoy the benefits of low cost, low weight and very high levels of safety that iStream provides – truly Formula One technology for the everyday motorist,” he said.


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What’s Wrong With This Picture: McLaren F1 Meets Smart Roadster Edition Wed, 29 Jun 2011 14:39:04 +0000

When asked by if he preferred to drive his McLaren F1 or Mclaren-Mercedes SLR to work everyday, the man who designed both legendary hypercars, Gordon Murray demurs:

I wouldn’t say the SLR is quite an everyday car but I certainly like to drive it to work. But for me, despite all those cars and my single-seater Rocket [a car he privately designed], it’s the [eight year-old Smart Roadster] I’m most taken with. For one, it’s a great-looking car. It has a power roof, heated seats and air con, and it all weighs just 830kg. In fact, it’s got all you’d want from a car. It nips around corners and it’s fun to drive.

So, other than proving that Murray has exquisite taste (I’d kill you all for a Brabus Smart Roadster Coupe), what’s the point? That, having been there and done that in the world of high performance, Murray’s taking on a less obviously sexy but ultimately significant project that first occurred to him in a traffic jam back in 1993: the T.25 and T.27 city cars. We’ve written about Murray’s T.25 before, but the real news today is the release of specs for the T.27, an all-electric version of the tiny three-seater. And yes, it weighs 1,500 lbs on the nose (including batteries), and ekes 100 miles of range out of just 12 kWh. That beats the efficiency of competitors like the Smart EV (by 29%), the Mitsubishi iMiEV (by 36%) and MINI E (by 86%). So, how does it do it?

The lightweight body is just one part of the equation, allowing not only high efficiency, but also a radically low-energy, low-capital assembly technique called iStream, which does away with the steel stamping-based manufacturing process that has dominated automaking since Henry Ford. Murray explains the process in the video above, clarifying that his firm is not interested in actually manufacturing these vehicles, but that they are talking to other firms who might be interested in licensing the iStream process and building the T.25 and T.27.

But one of the most fascinating developments that keeps the T.27 so light and efficient is its drivetrain, which was developed by a British firm called Zytek. GreenCarCongress explains some of the most salient features:

Minimizing the torque requirement of the motor (to allow it to be smaller, lighter and more efficient) while maintaining vehicle performance, requires a high motor speed. Zytek analyzed a wide variety of motor topologies and designs using 2D and 3D simulation tools, leading to a reliable maximum motor speed of 14,500 rpm. This high operating speed allowed motor torque to be reduced to 64 N·m (47 lb-ft) while maintaining vehicle based performance targets.

The peak motor power of 25 kW (available for 30 seconds) means vehicle performance is maintained in all expected usage conditions.

The second major powertrain component is the three-phase inverter. Zytek concluded that the inverter should also combine battery charging and high-voltage switching capabilities. This has the added benefit of reducing the weight of high-current copper cable and also avoiding any reliability issues associated with use of high voltage connectors.

The total weight of the motor, inverter and gearbox is less than 50 kg (110 lbs), approximately 45% of that of a comparative, current production, water-cooled drivetrain with its associated radiator, cooling fluid, pumps etc. This light weight contributes to the low overall vehicle weight while the highly compact size means that luggage space can be increased compared to the regular internal combustion engined vehicle.

Gordon Murray has long compared his T.25 project with his other great accomplishment, the McLaren F1, arguing that building this kind of tiny, efficient and affordable (estimated cost: $9k for the gas-powered T.25 and about double that for the electric T.27) car requires the same kind of innovative thinking, only the task is made even more challenging by the absence of unlimited budgets and the need for creature comfort. With the T.27′s tiny powerplant, it’s radical front-hinging door, unique manufacturing process (said to require 10% of the startup capital of a typical auto plant), and all-round funky uniqueness, the Murray City Car is proof that the coolest cars need not be limited to the insanely wealthy. An argument, in fact, that the Smart Roadster once made in a slightly less convincing manner. Now the question seems to be: who’s going to build this thing?

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Murray T.25 City Car Caught Testing Mon, 26 Apr 2010 15:00:43 +0000 What happens when the man behind the McLaren F1 decides to chuck in the go-fast nonsense and devote his considerable energies towards developing a “revolutionary” city car? You’re looking at it. Autocar caught this first image of Gordon Murray‘s three-seat T.25 testing in the UK, and from the looks of it, all the talk of this car creating a new segment wasn’t just talk. We knew it was going to be small, but my god is it ever small. And, as Autocar reports, this first image of the T.25′s near-production look shows off one of its most distinctive features:

Our exclusive photograph shows the car’s compact dimensions and reveals the revolutionary single door for the first time. It swings upwards and forwards to allow cabin access for all three occupants.

That’s right, a swinging single-door design, and Mclaren F1-style “arrowhead” seating. What did you expect, a rebadged Toyota iQ?

Not that the T.25 is being designed to be flashy or sporty. The single-door design is likely a result of the iStream production system, which Murray designed in parallel with the T.25. With an emphasis on efficiency and flexibility, the iStream process will be used to assemble the T.25, starting with a complete chassis, and adding pre-painted body components. Murray’s vision is for a single factory to be able to produce near-infinite variations of body styles and powertrains on a single chassis, allowing the vehicle to evolve with changing energy technologies. And part of that vision means the T.25 has to be light: under 1,400 lbs, according to Autocar.

Murray’s utopian vision of an endlessly variable, iconic city car has to start somewhere though, and this body matched to a 1.0 liter, 3-cylinder engine is going to be the point of entry. With such a light body though, Murray promises the T.25 will boast a better power-to-weight ratio than the average “two litre luxury saloon.” Whether that holds up with the full compliment of three passengers and two “large suitcases” remains to be seen, but the T.25′s appeal isn’t going to based on performance alone.

Clearly inspired by London’s infamous congestion, Murray has designed the T.25 to fit two-abreast into UK traffic lanes, theoretically reducing congestion provided enough are on the road. In fact, he says he designed it with congestion foremost in his mind; emissions benefits, he says, were almost an afterthought. And what’s more exciting, trying to drive a supercar in speed camera-crazed Britain, or wondering if the car next to you is going to stay in his half of the lane?

Murray wants to start selling T.25′s in two years, and will likely be showing variant body styles sometime next year. Meanwhile, development is already underway on the T.27 EV version, with help from a $14m grant from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board. But Murray likely won’t bring T.25s to the mass market himself: he’s hinted that he’d prefer to license iStream plants near major metropolitan centers around the world. How exactly that will pan out is still very much an open question, but the sheer ambition of the project makes it impossible to ignore. Especially from a guy of Murray’s talent. Decades after the F1 was built, it’s still a force to be reckoned with. Where could this tiny, one-door wonder end up?

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