Gordon Murray looks to transform personal mobility with autonomous pod
F1 designer Gordon Murray will reveal his company's latest take on electric mobility at the Move 2020 show in London this week, an autonomous bubble car called the Motiv that he hopes will start real-world trials soon.
Once Technical Director for Brabham and McLaren Racing, and later working for McLaren Cars, Professor Gordon Murray decided to branch off to form his own company in 2005. And we've seen a number of interesting projects from Gordon Murray Design (GMD) over the years, including the Yamaha Motiv.e and Shell-partnered Project M city cars, and the monstrous T.50 supercar.
And now GMD has partnered with Delta Motorsport and itMoves for an all-electric, self-driving, single-seater quadricycle for personal mobility, ride-hailing and commercial delivery applications.
"Motiv has the potential to transform future mobility," said Professor Murray. "The best way to make any vehicle commercially viable and cost-effective, while delivering first-class efficiency, is to make it as light as it can be while retaining the highest levels of safety. With Motiv we have used our iStream technologies to create an ultra-lightweight body structure that delivers a vehicle that is compact, refined, safe and versatile, while remaining capable of significant range."
The Motiv is being pitched as an alternative to the kind of big gas guzzlers that sport seats aplenty but often only carry a single occupant around town and city streets. GMD cites a recent Transport for London survey that showed as many as 60 percent of cars and vans in London only had one occupant, a figure that's estimated to go up to as much as 80 percent over the rest of the UK. The Motiv has been designed as a city runabout for those who travel alone.
This autonomous-ready private, zero emission transport experience rides on 13-inch wheels, features a 20-kW electric motor, and comes with a 17.3-kWh liquid-cooled battery pack under the floor that's reported good for a per charge WLTP range of 100 km (62 mi), with the Combined Charging System able to juice the cells up to 80 percent in 40 minutes.
The rear-wheel-drive single-person pod will sprint from standstill to 62 km/h (38.5 mph) in 7.5 seconds, before nudging its way up to a top speed of just 65 km/h (40 mph), which restricts usage to inner cities and urban sprawls.
It's a relatively compact 1,628 mm (64 in) high, 2,538 mm (100 in) long and 1,310 mm (51.5 in) wide – think self-driving Twizy for one – and naked vehicle weight is kept below 450 kg (about 990 lb) thanks to the use of a high-strength, extruded aluminum chassis, aluminum suspension (MacPherson Strut to the front and iLink to the rear) and composite panels and door. That weight doesn't include the battery pack, but GDM says that the design does mean that a relatively small battery module can be used without impacting on range.
The Motiv features a single gull-wing door with contactless entry, that affords some weather protection while also offering ease of access. The interior features a 24-inch display, an integrated air conditioning system and has room for a laptop. And the layout can be adapted to suit different use scenarios – for wheelchair users, package delivery, or even to seat multiple passengers.
The electric quadricycle has been developed to meet European passenger car crash safety standards, and its contemporary aesthetic owes much to itMoves, with the overall design centered around three main goals – small footprint, first class interior, and a city-friendly image. Steering, motoring and braking (including ABS) are handled by Delta's drive-by-wire control architecture.
The project, which is part-funded by the UK government's IDP14 program (a research and development funding competition offering financial backing for projects aimed at accelerating the transition to zero emission transport) is looking to partner with autonomous technology providers to run pilots, ahead of mass production within two to five years. This timeline depends heavily on approval for autonomous transport from the authorities, a technology that, despite clocking up millions of road miles, is still in its infancy.
The Motiv will be on display at the two-day Move 2020 "Mobility Re-imagined" show being held at the ExCeL in London from tomorrow.