UK team embarks on electric car project

Former Formula One racing engineer Gordon Murray has assembled a team to build an all-electric car with the aim of developing four prototypes by February 2011 with funding of just £9m.

Work on the the T.27, to be developed by Gordon Murray Design and Zytek Automotive Technology, is being part funded by a £4.5m investment from the UK government-backed Technology Strategy Board.

The T.27 has been designed to minimise the use of materials and keep the embedded carbon of the vehicle as low as possible. 

Murray said: “The T.27 programme is a great opportunity for us and our partners to create what will be the world’s most efficient electric vehicle.  An opportunity to start from a clean sheet of paper combined with our disruptive manufacturing technology will result in a product which truly pushes the boundaries of urban vehicle design and further protecting our mobility.”
The aim of the 16 month project is to develop prototypes that will put the consortium in the position where they can further explore the possibility of scaling up and building a manufacturing facility.

Speaking at a recent event organised by the TSB, Murray said: “This effort is a change for my team as almost the entire team comes from a racing background. But designing a Formula One car and designing a really efficient urban car have a similar philosophy. The driving force in Formula One cars is efficiency and it’s the same for low-energy vehicles. It has to go as far as it can on the minimum amount of fuel in the tank.

“We know that our current model in the automotive industry is not sustainable. Right now the focus is on tailpipe emissions. But I think we need to step back from that and take a more holistic view of our future.”

Murray said his decision to come up with a more efficient car was when he was stuck in a London traffic jam on the A3. “I looked around me and saw just one person in each car and I though that is not really sustainable. That is what got me going on the road we are on right now.”

Science and innovation minister Lord Drayson, said: “The T.27 is a great example of smart engineering and sustainable design. It’s timely too, as the UK must demonstrate its readiness to exploit the emerging low-carbon vehicles market. The challenge is far greater than simply meeting stricter EU emissions targets. We need to expand our car industry through green innovation.”

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