British engineer Gordon Murray best known for his Formula 1 racecars has unveiled his long-awaited T.25 City Car.
It’s an ultra energy-efficient vehicle that’s so small that three of them, parked nose to the curb, can fit into a single parking space.
Early reviews say the vehicle makes hybrids look wasteful and traditional compact cars look massive. And because the design is based on a so-called “safety cell” that has protected race car drivers in high-speed crashes, it is being taken seriously as a vehicle that could be on the road in the not-too-distant future.
The T.25 weighs about 1,200 pounds and measures eight feet long by about four feet wide: smaller than a Smart Car but nonetheless able to hold two back-seat passengers, as well as a driver up front.
The car’s design is groundbreaking and its 74 miles per hour could one day offer consumers real savings. (Because a new efficient manufacturing process was developed at the same time that the car was designed, Murray believes that production could begin within two years.)
But in the T.25 Murray has done more than just reduce the usual car size and improve its fuel efficiency. He has developed something that is so “outside the box” that it arguably isn’t even a car at all – at least in the traditional sense. The T.25 introduces an entirely new paradigm for tired concepts like commuting and running errands around town.
Case in point: Because of its narrow width, two T.25s can fit in a single car lane. The first T.25s to hit the road probably won’t be driven in that fashion, but if it comes to be adopted in large numbers, you can imagine the possibilities for easing traffic. Considered in that light, it’s almost comparable to a motorized scooter. But one that provides protection from the elements. And carries passengers in comfort.
When addressing old and persistent problems like high fuel costs, it always helps to think creatively and think big. It’s too early to say whether the T.25 will go the way of the Mini or the Segway but it’s one of the most innovative concepts that the consumer transportation sector has seen in a long time.