Gordon Murray who has designed conventional and electric sports cars, has designed an electric commuter car that won the RAC Brighton to London Future Car Challenge 2011.
Gordon Murray is known best for his design of the McLaren F1 formula one race car. He has his own company Gordon Murray Designs where he continues to design sports cars (now electric), and has branched out to commuter cars. He has designed two, the gasoline powered T.25 and the electric T.27.
It is the latter car that just turned in the winning performance in London. It actually captured three prizes: ‘Most Energy Efficient Small Car (Prototype)’, ‘Best Overall Pure Electric Vehicle’ and ‘Best Overall Entry – RAC Future Car Challenge Winner’. The T.27 drove the 57.13 miles on 64 pence (a little over one dollar) of electricity. The T.27 could have continued on since the car’s range is over 100 miles on a full four hour charge.
Of course one of the big selling points of electric vehicles is their miles per gallon equivalency (MPGe) or how many miles you could go using the equivalent amount of energy. The car turned in a respectable 350 MPGe which is not to be confused with the actual distance that the car will go. As mentioned above, the car will travel over 100 miles per charge depending on terrain, temperature, and traffic conditions.
The car is a three seater that has been built to be light efficient, and safe. The driver is seated in the middle of the car with the passengers in the back. The car passed the crash test at MIRA (Motor Industry Research Association).
The crash test was the mandatory EEC 40% offset deformable barrier front high speed impact and the T.27 came through with flying colours with zero cabin intrusion and the measured results being extremely close to those predicted by computer simulation.
It is expected to reduce lifecycle emissions by 27 percent over other EVs. Part of this reduction occurs by using a new manufacturing process that Gordon Murray calls iStream. It is a completely different process for building cars that uses on 20 percent of the space needed by other car manufacturers and reduces overhead and “capital investment in the assembly plant by approximately 80percent.”
Right now Gordan Murray and his consortium partners include Zytek Automotive Limited, Vocis and Michelin are currently looking for a manufacturer who is willing to put the car in production. So far three different manufacturers have expressed interest.
The final car is expected to be easy to drive and park. It’s size should let it park easily just about anywhere. The expected price should be in the lower price range for UK cars.
Like so many new vehicles, it will be tested elsewhere before we get to see it in the US. Of course, by that time all of the kinks and bugs should be worked out.