Shell and Gordon Murray anounce Project M concept city car

Shell and Gordon Murray anounc...
Shell is working with Gordon Murray to develop a new compact, efficient concept city car
Shell is working with Gordon Murray to develop a new compact, efficient concept city car
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Shell is working with Gordon Murray to develop a new compact, efficient concept city car
Shell is working with Gordon Murray to develop a new compact, efficient concept city car

Professor Gordon Murray's T.25 city car was designed to be compact, as well as cheap to produce, purchase and run. Now, it has been revealed that the T.25 will undergo a "ground-up, total re-think." Project M will see a new small and efficient concept car developed in partnership with Shell.

Initiated by Shell, Project M seeks to develop an ultra-compact car for use in cities that is highly efficient, but that still makes use of an internal combustion engine. Shell says the project aims to address the challenges of living in increasingly congested cities and minimizing the amount of energy we use.

Despite there being alternatives to cars powered by fossil fuels, such as electric vehicles, Shell says a demand for cars with internal combustion engines will remain for some time to come. As such, the oil giant says it is important to continue finding out how we can make them work more efficiently, while emitting less CO2.

In addition to improving the workings of the engine, Shell has mooted a number of other ways to reduce CO2 output. These include making non-powertrain vehicle efficiency improvements, minimizing the weight of a vehicle, and using improved fuels and lubricants.

Amongst the features that Shell says may be included in the design is the honeycomb monocoque-type body used by Murray in his Formula One cars. This is said ensure a lightweight but strong structure. The engine will be designed to be as efficient as possible and, likewise, the lubricants and fuels used will be considered for efficiency.

The car eventually produced as a result of Project M is not intended for production, but instead is intended to inspire thinking about mobility and energy use. It is expected to be unveiled in November.

The video below is an interview with Gordon Murray discussing Project M.

Source: Shell

Project M interviews Professor Gordon Murray

There are already plenty of very small compact cars ... there is little to gain there because they are already very efficent, whether they use gas or electricity. Pick-up trucks and SUVs are the real fuel hogs and sell in huge numbers, that's where the real gains can be made.
continued ICE development at this point in history is a joke.
It's interesting to see Shell funding this project. Another link I found reveals the "Murray T25" concept microcar as the likely starting point for Project M.
There is an electric version called T27 too but its not surprising that the combustion engine would be the focus of the shell project. You can't really tell from this photo of the T25 but it seems to use the same seating arrangement as the McLaren F1 with the person in the front in the middle and 2 people in the back on either side.
It looks like the goal is to seat 3 people and be lighter than the Smart ForTwo. I suppose the Smart still starts over $13k and gets just 34 MPG city which could be considered good but not great when you weigh it against the massive compromises you are making in space.
When you can get a base model 4 door Nissan Versa that seats 5 and gets roughly the same combined mileage for under $12k the Smart doesn't seem like the cheapest/most efficient deal.
Part of the issue is people who can afford to buy new cars rarely opt for something as small as the Smart and people who are on limited budgets usually buy 2nd hand/used cars which are only a reflection of what people buy new.
In order for a microcar to have much impact on the market (at least in the US) it would essentially have to be a cheaper option than the available used cars which would be very difficult to do. I'm not talking about $1,500 pieces of crap but that price is probably closer to $5k to $6k than the > $13k Smart starts at.