• May 28th 2010 at 4:27PM
  • 21
Gordon Murray T.27 – Click above for high-res image gallery

Gordon Murray has long been considered one of the most innovative engineers and designers in the automotive world. The latest project from the mind that created the McLaren F1 supercar is the new T.27 electric city car. The T.27 is the battery powered variant of the T.25, a model that will debut shortly with a gas engine. Both models use the same basic architecture, and like the seminal supercar, they feature a three seat layout. That's largely where the similarities end, however.

Murray's firm is collaborating on the T.27 project with Zytek Automotive, a UK-based engineering consultancy with vast experience in electric and hybrid powertrains. The 7.9-foot long car has a 12 kilowatt-hour battery pack mounted under the seats and a 25 kilowatt electric motor driving the rear wheels. Zytek has managed to package the motor, single-speed transmission and power electronics into one tidy little unit. The system is claimed to give the car a range of 80-100 miles and with the current UK electricity generation mix (mostly coal) the CO2 emissions are a combined 48 grams / kilometer.

The T.27 is claimed to have a turning circle of just 19.7 feet and with its width of 4.3 feet, three of them can fit into a single parking space perpendicular to the curb. The program started in November of 2009 and the first running prototype is due to be completed in April 2011. Official press release after the jump.

[Source: Gordon Murray Designs]
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Gordon Murray Design announce the Specification and Performance Targets for the T.27 City Car, a pure electric drive vehicle designed to fully optimise packaging, weight and performance. The announcement marks an exciting leap forward in efficiency for electric vehicles and working closely with their powertrain partner, Zytek Automotive, a brand new, innovative, lightweight and fully integrated electric motor, control system and battery will be designed to ensure that maximum efficiency is achieved.

Projected emissions, using a UK energy mix, are 48g/km CO2 for the combined cycle and 28g/km CO2 for the urban cycle alone, with zero emissions at the point of use. Full lifecycle CO2 damage will be 42% less than the average UK car.

Vehicle Specification
eMotor: 25kW Height: 1.60m
Battery Type: Li-ion Weight: 680Kg (incl. battery)
Battery Spec. 12kWh Wheel Base: 1.78m
Length: 2.50m Turning Circle: 6.0m
Width: 1.30m

Performance Targets
Top Speed: 105kph
0-100kph: Less than 15 seconds
Range: 80 – 100 miles

The T.27 vehicle concept closely follows the layout and geometry of Gordon Murray Design's innovative T.25 city car, an MPV with 6 possible internal layouts.

The efficiency in cost, weight and performance comes in part from the 'clean sheet of paper' approach, part from the full integration of the powertrain and also from the low energy manufacturing system developed by Gordon Murray Design called iStream®.

iStream® massively reduces the capital investment required to produce the vehicle and also the energy required for manufacture plus the flexibility of the iStream® process would also allow the petrol powered T.25 and the T.27 to be manufactured at the same plant.

The 16 month programme started in November 2009 with a running prototype scheduled for completion in April 2011 and is supported with a 50% investment from the Technology Strategy Board. The next phase in the programme will include a push to secure partners and funding for UK manufacture. A UK partner or consortium to produce the city cars in the UK would keep the technology at home and could create 6,000 jobs.

Professor Gordon Murray, CEO of Gordon Murray Design said:

"The Technology Strategy Board have been incredibly supportive of the T.27 programme and together we are working to keep this in the United Kingdom. It is a great opportunity to work with Zytek Automotive and our other partners on this very exciting programme. We always strive to lead the way in automotive design and our current goal is to maximise efficiency of electric vehicles."

Bill Gibson, Chairman of Zytek Automotive said:

Zytek's new innovative powertrain, developed from our substantial experience of EV and hybrid vehicle production programmes, will substantially reduce the weight and cost of the electric engine, whilst delivering the quality, refinement and driving experience that T.27 customers will demand."

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board said:

"This is another example of the UK positioning itself to benefit from the economic opportunities offered by the emerging low-carbon vehicles market.It's great that the T.27, a fantastic example of smart engineering and sustainable design, is at the forefront of this. We are also glad that we were able to support a project that enabled Gordon Murray Design and Zytek Automotive and the other partners to work together to be truly innovative."


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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      at least its rear wheel drive :D
        • 5 Years Ago
        Amen. Whenever I hear of fwd electric cars, I die a little.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's just the kind of odd car I'd be interested in owning.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Innovative = ripping off the Commuter Cars' Tango?
        • 5 Years Ago
        lol, not really, go up to spokane, as 'em how many they've sold, et-al. murray's name and engineering expertise may just be enough to get this thing off the ground. tango? they'll build literally a handful a year if they do gang busters.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This looks good and I hope, unlike TV, radar and many other English 'firsts', Murray goes from prototype to production in-country. Bruce
      • 5 Years Ago
      This is about as revolutionary as the original Smart car was when that came about. It has its' place, but it's not for me. I'm a petrol head. I need my car to be fast as feck and look cool.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, but we need electric cars to take off so the petrol is saved for us petrol heads ;D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Water cooled electric motor?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes. If you've ever seen an electric car conversion in person, there is often a water cooling system hooked up to the inverter/controller, at the very least.

        I believe Nissan's battery packs have cooling also.

        Having the electric motor in the front helps. In the rear though, you're gonna need extra cooling.. hence the radiator.

        Well ya know.. there are thousands of watts at work here :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Interesting. Thx
      • 5 Years Ago
      Yet another fail of an electric car, just like all the Teslas and all the others. Why do the manufacturers not get it?

      We need a STANDARD battery and a STANDARD way of charging it. The batteries need to be interchangeable between cars easily at petrol stations. No one should be charging their own batteries - they should be paying a company to do it. When my battery gets low on juice, I take it to a petrol station where they replace it with a new one and then charge up the old one for someone else who comes along. I pay them for this service, they make money and don't go out of business and we can carry on with cars that work in much the same way as they do now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Joanna D

        I certainly see your point, when taken in the context that we are used to driving up, filling up, and driving off. We want it all, and we want it now.

        Making batteries an exchangeable item brings on a host of challenges - none of insurmountable from a physics standpoint. It comes down to economics, and whether or not anyone actually wants to limit actual pollution (not the idea that zero tailpipe emissions always = no pollutants whatsoever).

        Designing vehicles to have a common design of rapidly-exchangeable battery packs (vs. more fully-integrated) will require a lot of shared design effort, which tends to go against the nature of business competition. I know, there are lots of common parts and suppliers, but this is like sharing engines between competitors - it's not unheard of, but not very common.

        It would be nice if there were a single standard for electric car batteries, but go ahead and take care of cell phone batteries first. Good luck with that one. Every manufacturer's products have advantages and disadvantages, and their own subtle marketing differences. Capitalism, etc.

        Every service station would need to be able to handle large, heavy, potentially hazardous items - and lots of them at one time. How many are held on-hand will depend on estimates of how many vehicles will come in on a given day. If the service station down your street suddenly closes down, you have to go to the next one over - which is what everyone else will have to do.

        If that's the case, then either a lot of people are going to be sh_t out of luck (not enough batteries to go around), or they will have to sit around and wait for ___ minutes/hours/days for a freshly-charged battery to become available. Sounds like fun. No? Nope. Not at all.

        Does this mean that every service station would have to have 100 battery packs in stock? If so, that means a cubic buttload of batteries would need to be built, which would eliminate the (truly, only perceived) environmental benefits provided by them.

        Also, the idea that "I want my electric car charged NOW" defeats the purpose. If you're going to own an electric car, but go on trips requiring you to use a charging station (due to electric cars' inherently limited range), then you need a diesel, not an electric.

        But I see what you're saying.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The point I'm really trying to make is that we cannot have a situation where we've got to wait for our cars to recharge. Imagine if you took your car to the petrol station now but they said sorry, you can't drive it because the petrol only goes in at 1ml per minute. That's what electric cars form Tesla, G-Wizz etc. are like now. We need something better and charging stations on the street simply isn't it.

        Charge the batteries, not the cars.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Is that an illustration of a car, or the next Nike cross trainer??? OK- so the tech is interesting, but the illustration reminds me of the cars I used to draw up in study hall.
      • 5 Years Ago
      As MINI has proved, people will buy small cars if they're engineered well and styled with flair...

      ...a car this size in the hands of Gordon Murray, I have hopes for it. He just might be able to pull it off!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm... i think this is on the wrong autoblog :)

      However, rear wheel drive electric for the damn win :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        lol, indeed, where's all the green stuffs :D
      • 5 Years Ago
      Murray has talent no doubt, but the spy shots of this car reveal some ungainly proportions. I don't doubt the car will drive well though.
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