Gordon Murray, Shell working on 97-mpg Project M concept

It's A 'Rethink' Of The T.27

Remember when the design and engineering was "done" on Gordon Murray's highly efficient gas-powered T.25 city car, way back in 2009? Apparently there's more that can be done on a small, fuel-sipping urban vehicle in this mold. We got news today from Gordon Murray Design and Shell that the two organizations are going to collaborate with engine specialists Geo Technology on a "concept city car." With the somewhat mysterious name "Project M," the new concept will be "a ground-up, total re-think of the Gordon Murray Design T.25 car developed in 2010 using specially formulated Shell lubricants." The car will "launch" this November according to press materials, but it is not intended for production.

In testing in the UK, the Project M car was able to get 97 miles per gallon. Numbers like that are supposed to "inspire thinking about how the efficiency and utility of a car with a relatively 'simple' conventional gasoline engine can be maximised for city use around the globe."

It was announced in 2013 that Murray's T.25 and T.27 (the EV version) were going to go into production in 2016. Murray also worked with Yamaha on a frugal vehicle called the MOTIV.e that was unveiled in 2013.

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Shell, in collaboration with the legendary race and road car designer Professor Gordon Murray and engine specialist Osamu Goto will co-engineer an ultra-compact, efficient car for city use based around the internal combustion engine. The Shell car is scheduled to be unveiled in November 2015 and people will be able to follow the development of the car through the website, shell.com/Projectm.

The Shell concept is intended to be: a simple, practical global city car; drawing together the most innovative aspects of light-weight engineering, streamlining, and driveline efficiency; and work brilliantly whether you are in a city where mass-motoring is a relatively new thing or already a century-old. Once built, the car will be tested on-the-road.

The concept is intended to inspire thinking about maximising personal mobility while minimising energy use*, helping people get around the world's ever-more congested cities where, by 2050, up to three quarters of the world's estimated nine billion people could be living**.

Initiated by Shell, the collaboration, which is called Project M, brings together Shell's Lubricant's Technology Team, The Gordon Murray Design Group and engine specialist Geo Technology. This technically intimate co-engineering relationship between the three expert teams means, that the development of the lubricants, engine and vehicle will be completely integrated, delivering results neither group could achieve by working apart.

Shell provides the fluids for the car specifically 'designing' the motor oil that complements and enhances the overall efficiency of the vehicle. Most people would naturally assume that oil, greases and fuels are simply added at the end of a concept-car build project like this, but the Shell car aims to show what can be achieved when its products are integrated into the design, right from the start.

'Since working with Gordon Murray Design team on the T25 car in 2010, we have given further thought on how to deliver a complete rethink of the car, using as little energy as possible. We believe this Shell car, will demonstrate how efficient a car can be when Shell works in harmony with vehicle and engine makers during design and build, supplying fuels and lubricants technical expertise. Shell is excited to be working with such top calibre partners and invite others to join us for the remaining part of this exciting journey.' Selda Gunsel – Vice President Lubricants Technology

The three parties last collaborated in 1988 on Ayrton Senna's and Alain Prost's HondaTM-powered, Shell- fuelled race cars that won all but one Grands Prix that season, a record that still stands. Shell and Professor Gordon Murray go back way further; Shell sponsored the first car and engine Professor Gordon Murray ever built, in South Africa, when he was just 19.

Project M is being launched at the Americas round of Shell Eco Marathon, a global series which challenges student teams to design, build and test ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. The Americas Shell Eco Marathon is in Detroit, USA on 9-12 April 2015.

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