After much anticipation, UK-based >Gordon Murray Design has finally unveiled the full, complete versions of its two microcars, the T.25 and the T.27. The three-seater combustion-engined T.25 got its first public exposure last week at Smith School’s World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment, in Oxford. Details of the T.27, essentially an all-electric version of the T.25, have recently been published on the company's website. Besides looking dead sexy, the little auto has been promoted as “the world’s most efficient electric car.”


First, the nitty-gritty details... The T.25 has a semi-automatic 5-speed sequential transmission, and a 660cc 3-cylinder four-valve engine, producing 51Hp at 7,000rpm. Its top speed is restricted to 145kph (90mph), and it can reach 100kmh (62mph) in 16.2 seconds. Its combined city/highway mileage is 74mpg (3.83L/100km), and its CO2 output is 86g/km.

The T.27 has a 25kW Zytek motor, powered by a 12kWh lithium-ion battery. It has a top speed of 105kph (65mph), will be able to reach 100kph in under 15 seconds, and has a range of 130 to 160 km (80 to 100 miles) per charge. Its emissions, based on a UK energy mix, are 48g/km CO2 for combined city and highway driving, and 28g/km for city alone - needless to say, the car itself has zero emissions. It is estimated that over the lifetime of the car, it will be responsible for 42 percent less CO2 than the average UK car.

The build system

Both the T.25 and T.27 will be built using Murray’s much-touted iStream assembly process. Winner of Autocar magazine’s 2008 Idea of the Year award, iStream will reportedly allow T.25/27 assembly plants to be 20 percent the size of traditional auto factories, reducing the required capital investment by 80 percent, and drastically lowering the plants’ carbon footprint.

What makes iStream so efficient? For one thing, there’s the simple fact that small cars only require a small factory. Beyond that, though, there are some key differences from regular auto assembly plants:

  • All the major components are attached to the chassis first, with the recycled plastic body panels being added towards the end of the process
  • Body panels are prepainted, so no painting facilities or associated air handling equipment is required
  • Those body panels are attached mechanically, as opposed to being welded in place
  • A single type of chassis can be the base for various vehicles, so switching between the assembly of different models requires only minor retooling

Both cars will be smaller than a Smart Fortwo, yet offer more interior space. They will also offer six interior layout options, making the most of their diminutive dimensions.

In 2008, the T.25 had an estimated price tag of GBP5000. Murray’s T.25/27 project is slated for completion next April, so hopefully there will be more details on pricing and availability for both cars then.

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