Shell joins city car project
Durbanite Gordon Murray’s dream to make cities less congested receives another boost
SHELL last week announced it plans to support the launch a world city car in November 2015, working with two automotive greats, the South African Gordon Murray and Japan’s Osamu Goto.
This takes a step further the dream of the Durban-born-andbred Professor Murray to present the world’s congested cities with wheels that are both effective and efficient.
The three partners call their collaboration “Project M”, but Shell said in a statement in will not continue the work started between Murray and Yamaha last year, as the car “will be a groundup, total re-think of the Gordon Murray Design T.25 car developed in 2010”.
Following on the F1 Mclaren, Gordon Murray Design was established in 2007 to develop an innovative and disruptive manufacturing technology trademarked iStream.
Gordon Murray Design’s first milestone was the T.25 — a proof-of-concept for the futuristic vision of urban mobility. When it made its debut in mid-2010, the petrol-powered T.25 instantly redefined traditional weight, footprint, safety, usability and efficiency parameters using Gordon Murray Design’s patented iStream with its innovative use of Formula 1 technology, simplified for cost for the everyday motorist.
The company prides itself in delivering complete car programmes in a highly efficient and innovative way from concept, design, prototype and development through to production ready product.
Legendary engine specialist Osamu Goto is a former director of Honda F1, R&D manager at Ferrari F1 and member of the board at a Sauber-owned company. Geo Technology is his brainchild and have a reputation for engineering the ultra-compact, efficient engines that will be needed for the proposed city car
Shell said in a statement the concept is intended to inspire thinking about maximising personal mobility while minimising energy use, helping people get around the world’s evermore congested cities where, by 2050, up to three quarters of the world’s estimated nine billion people could be living.
Vice president of lubricants technology at Shell, Selda Gunsel said since working with the Gordon Murray Design team on the T.25 car in 2010, Shell gave a lot of thought on how to deliver a car that will use 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.
The Shell car is not intended for production, but 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 and also to prove the benefits of ground-up engineering collaborations.
The three parties last collaborated in 1988 on Ayrton Senna’s and Alain Prost’s Honda-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.
The future of personal transport in cities, as viewed by Gordon Murray Design with the T.25 car in 2010 (left), and last year between GMD and Yamaha with the MOTIV.e (right).
Top: Selda Gunsel, vice president for lubricants technology at Shell. Below: Gordon Murray.