Almost 20 years ago now, Gordon Murray conceived of and designed the McLaren F1 supercar. Only 106 were ever produced and it is one of the fastest production cars in the world, reaching a speed of 391 km/h (243 mph) in 1998. What has Gordon Murray done since production of the McLaren F1 ended in 1998? Why, he’s gone all green of course, and is preparing to unleash his T.27 electric car on the world over the next few years.
I guess it’s a measure of how important green technology is seen these days, especially when it comes to automobiles and vehicle design, that the man who created one of the greatest road cars in history has worked in this field ever since.
Murray has been working on the development of an affordable, electric, urban car for the past decade, fine-tuning his designs since 1999. At the end of 2008 Murray unveiled a petrol driven concept car called the T.25, which is what you can see the British Innovation Minister Lord Drayson taking for a spin in the picture above left.
But Murray and his Gordon Murray Design company are now working on the electric version of the vehicle, currently codenamed T.27. According to BBC News, three prototypes of the car will be developed over the next 16 months thanks to £9 million ($15 million) of investment, half coming from the government’s Technology Strategy Board and half from Zytek Automotive, the company developing the electric drive train.
Technical details of the T.27 are a little patchy at present but it’s thought to have a top speed of 60 mph and be able to travel approximately 100 miles on each charge of the battery. Importantly, it will also meet European safety standards.
Just as important as the car itself if the manufacturing process which Murray calls iStream. The manufacturing plants can be one-fifth the size of a conventional one due to the way each car is built. Rather than using stamped steel, each part is designed by computer and welded together.
Hopefully, the T.27 will be the absolute opposite of the McLaren F1 car, providing low-cost, green motoring for urban environments rather than grossly expensive, environment-killing driving purely for entertainment purposes. Sure, this kind of future will make Jeremy Clarkson’s job on Top Gear a lot harder but that’s a very small price to pay.