This is one of three lit­tle up­right ve­hi­cles whose des­gin­ers aim to change traf­fic as we know it. Read about them on PAGE 4.

The Witness - Wheels - - FRONT PAGE -

WHILE Shell ex­pects peo­ple will still be mak­ing petrol and diesel cars well into the 2070s, the Dutch pe­tro­leum gi­ant is pre­par­ing for a leaner fu­ture.

The group last week re­leased a con­cept of what it de­scribed as the ul­tra ef­fi­cient city car.

De­signed by Dur­ban- born Gor­don Murray and pow­ered by a 0,66- litre three- cylin­der petrol en­gine adopted from the pre­vi­ous generation Euro­pean- mar­ket Smart Fortwo, ex- Honda F1 en­gine wizard Osamu Goto’s Geo Tech­nol­ogy has min­imised fric­tion and max­imised ef­fi­ciency of the en­gine.

“There are quite a lot of im­pres­sive low- car­bon and zero- car­bon ve­hi­cles com­ing onto the mar­ket,” said Shell’s Robert Main­war­ing, “but a Tesla or a BMW i8 can cost £ 100 000. Our project sets out to show that ef­fi­ciency is af­ford­able, es­pe­cially when it in­volves a very light car made us­ing a low- cost man­u­fac­tur­ing process.

“We be­lieve we’ve demon­strated that the best lu­bri­cants can in­ter­act with car and en­gine to de­liver re­ally good ef­fi­ciency,” he added. “It’s very un­usual for car de­sign­ers, en­gine de­sign­ers and lu­bri­ca­tion tech­ni­cians to work with the de­gree of in­ti­macy they’ve had in this project. The re­sult has been very en­cour­ag­ing.”

One of the in­ti­ma­cies was the iStream pro­duc­tion process that Murray had de­signed to dra­mat­i­cally re­duce the en­ergy re­quire­ments of car man­u­fac­tur­ing. One of the things iStream dis­penses with is the out­side- in de­sign, as the de­signer’s fo­cus def­i­nitely streams from the driver out. Hence the er­gonomic up­right de­sign, which re­minds of Murray’s sen­si­ble T25 city car, which he de­signed in 2010. Yamaha and Bri­tish firm TVR are to date the only com­pa­nies us­ing iStream. Shell said in a statement it had also cre­ated a mo­tor oil specif­i­cally for the car’s small en­gine. To ac­cess the Shell car, the en­tire cab flips for­ward, giv­ing ac­cess to two pas­sen­ger seats, mounted tan­dem style in­side the roll cage around which the car is con­structed.

Shell said re­cy­cled car­bon fi­bre was used for the con­cept car to re­duc­ing weight and cut assembly costs to only 25% of a steel panel car, while some com­po­nents were also 3Dprinted as the cheap­est, fastest way to cre­ate on­ce­off parts.


Small, but still able to fit Gor­don Murray’s six­foot frame ( left), with en­gine wizard Osamu Goto ( cen­tre) or Shell’s Robert Main­war­ing on the back bench.

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