Gordon Murray Design and Zytek Automotive have announced that they will have four prototypes of an all-electric three-seater city car on the roads by February 2011. The move is made possible by a £4.5m ($7.5 million) investment from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board.
The production model, currently known as the T.27, will be the world’s most efficient electric car due to its low weight and ‘clean sheet of paper design,’ says Gordon Murray Design.
Where does Zytek come in? Gordon Murray Design says that making the T.27 the most efficient electric-car isn’t possible with conventional steel design or existing drivetrains, gearboxes, electric-motors or batteries. Zytek will integrate an efficient drivetrain to a new lightweight manufacturing process developed by Gordon Murray called iStream. The move will result in a three-seater city car that is slightly smaller than a Smart, but with more interior room. Gordon Murray has not yet released any technical specs of his T.27.
The 16 month project aims to have a manufacturing facility in the UK, with the ultimate goal of producing the T.27 in the UK.
Make the jump for the press release.
GORDON MURRAY DESIGN & ZYTEK AUTOMOTIVE ANNOUNCE ELECTRIC CITY CAR PROGRAMME
Gordon Murray Design and Zytek Automotive announce an all-electric three-seater city car, made possible through a £4.5m investment from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board. With a total cost of £9m, the new research and development project will allow the consortium to develop four prototypes by February 2011.
Professor Gordon Murray, Chief Executive and Technical Director of Gordon Murray Design said of the announcement “As we head towards the new industrial revolution brought about by rising energy costs and concern over the effects of greenhouse gases, we at Gordon Murray Design feel proud to be working with the Technology Strategy Board in helping the UK play a leading role in tackling the issues we all face. More often than not the UK has been responsible for innovative concepts and technologies only to have the end benefits seen abroad. In this case, we”re all working together to keep the technology and the production in this country.”
The T.27 will be the world”s most efficient electric car due to its low weight and “˜clean sheet of paper design”. This ambitious target cannot be achieved by applying a conventional stamped steel construction design, nor with a drivetrain using existing gearboxes, motors or batteries. Instead, an entirely fresh approach is proposed; accepting no compromise in safety, performance, range, space, weight, rolling resistance and ride quality. By applying iStream® methodology, a new manufacturing process developed by Gordon Murray Design, to the T.27 and fully integrating it with a custom-designed lightweight, highly efficient drivetrain from Zytek, every aspect of the vehicle can be optimised. This holistic approach results in a car slightly smaller than a Smart, but with more interior space.
A similar approach was used by Gordon Murray Design for a three-seater petrol-driven car (T.25) which is receiving significant market interest. The T.25 programme provides confidence that the aims of the T.27 programme are 100% achievable.
T.27 will also set new standards in environmental sustainability. High level lifecycle analysis derived from T.25 data predicts life-cycle emissions 63% less than the average car and for the T.27 lifecycle emissions 27% less than the nearest EV rival which is partly due to the iStream® manufacturing approach. Rival compact city car EVs do not simultaneously address all of the factors noted above and so this combination of attributes presents a significant market opportunity.
Zytek has designed and integrated electric drive systems for a wide range of European and US vehicle manufacturers and is currently building high performance electric drivetrains up to 70kW and 300Nm for cars, buses and light commercial vehicles. The T.27 focuses on “˜efficient performance” with all aspects of the drivetrain designed to maximise efficiency and minimise weight. The motor, power electronics and gearbox will form a single, highly integrated unit designed specifically for the performance requirements of the T.27, but offering scaleability to heavier vehicles as required.
“This is an exciting project on several levels,” says Zytek Automotive Sales and Marketing Director Steve Tremble. “As well as supporting the development of a new family of E-Drives, it will show what can be achieved when the vehicle design is optimised for zero emissions propulsion. It”s a terrific initiative and we are delighted that the Technology Strategy Board has agreed to back it.”
The 16 month project has several aims; to position the consortium positively to further explore the possibility of scaling up and building a manufacturing facility in the UK, with the ultimate goal of producing the T.27 in this country; keeping the new technology and IPR within the UK and making this affordable, fun and environmentally friendly car widely available on the open market. The project outcomes will help justify the required follow-on commercial investment to take the vehicle into manufacture by providing a body of evidence that the concept is a viable design for production.