Gordon Murray is the genius behind the legendary McLaren F1 supercar. So what he does needs to be taken seriously. That includes the Caparo T1, which is a super-light racer for the roads, but also includes the last thing you would think of – a super-small, lightweight and above all cheap car.
But that’s what the T25 is. Looking at the picture here (just a tease – surprise, surprise), you couldn’t really imagine anything further from a picture of the McLaren F1. But Gordon is convinced this is the way to go. We know he’s always been anti big, heavy cars (the McLaren F1 is very light) and he denigrated the Bugatti Veyron when it was announced as pointless and heavy (although he did retract that when he drove it).
So what is the T25? Well, despite first appearance, it’s not a car that Gordon Murray Design intends to build. It is in fact a fully developed concept that GMD intends to license to other companies, and claims to already have 15 potential clients for the concept from around the world.
New concepts come along all the time, and flavour of the month is of course small and economical. So it would be easy to dismiss this as ‘just another concept’, but with Gordon Murray behind it we need to take it seriously. He already has experience at this level, being involved with the consortium that are re-designing the Smart Roadster to become a new AC, and with his track record you can’t dismiss this design, which GMD want to become an entirely new class of car.
There are plans to have the T25 as a van, a pick-up, and MPV and even a police car. Don’t bet against it happening.
Press Release for the Gordon Murray Design T25 Concept
Gordon Murray Design announces that they are officially ‘On Sale’ with the T.25 City Car & licenses for their new iStream manufacturing process.
The T.25 is a radical, innovative design for a new type and class of personal transport vehicle that offers solutions to reduce congestion and parking problems whilst addressing the issue of full lifecycle CO2 damage. It is designed and packaged to protect mobility, personal freedom and driving ‘fun’ whilst greatly reducing the environmental damage from vehicle manufacturing.
The iStream assembly process is a complete rethink and redesign of the traditional manufacturing process and could potentially be the biggest revolution in high volume manufacture since the Model T. Development of the process began over 15 years ago and it has already won the prestigious 2008 ‘Idea of the Year’ award from Autocar who were given privileged access in order to make their assessment.
The simplified assembly process means that the manufacturing plant can be designed to be 20% of the size of a conventional factory. This could reduce capital investment in the assembly plant by approximately 80%. Yet the flexibility of this assembly process means that the same factory could be used to manufacture different variants.
The iStream design process is a complete re-think on high volume materials, as well as the manufacturing process and will lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions over the lifecycle of the vehicles produced using it, compared with conventional ones. The design process has therefore been built around the mantra of ‘Think Light’ and all materials for each variant are carefully selected to be as light as possible whilst being ‘fit for purpose.’
In short, the T.25 architecture, packaging, materials selection and manufacturing process promises to be the biggest revolution in the mass production of cars in the last 100 years.
Whilst the T.25 is only officially on sale this month, Gordon Murray Design have already been approached by 15 potential clients based in 12 different countries. Gordon Murray says “This is an idea that began in 1993 and, with the hard work of the team and help from our investors, it’s great to finally see it coming to fruition. I believe the timing is perfect given the current situation within the automotive industry.
Until someone comes up with an ultra efficient/electric/hybrid/alternative fuel car that meets all crash testing requirements, can reach motorway speeds (quickly and quietly), can travel 500 miles on a tank/charge, can be refilled in 5 minutes or less, and is big enough for families, then they should shift their focus to increasing the efficiency of gasoline and diesel engines. There is no way any of these alternatives with their low energy densities, long refilling times, low speeds, and not crashworthy frames and doesn’t look like motorcycle in a box are ever going to replace a conventional automobile.
Ivor Lee says
I am intrigued by the “iStream” manufacturing system. Is it a form of CKD assembly?
In the 1970’s I worked as a planner in the auto industry here in Coventry.
I have often thought that cars should be of a similar package to the T25 and have looked at the concept many times but only in my mind so to speak.
Hope it goes well and remains in the UK and exported. Lord knows we need a UK manufacture.
Sincerely vor Lee
Also what size engine?
No, the iStream process isn’t from CKDs supplied by GMD. The process – explained by Murray – is:
The process centres on a separate body chassis assembly process.
The assembly process is separate. During the first part, the powertrain, wiring harnesses, brakes, suspension and all major components can be fitted directly onto the chassis prior to the body panels being fitted.
The body panels are delivered to the line pre-painted.
The body panels are ‘married’ to the completed chassis near the end of the assembly process, helping to reduce paint damage normally associated with a standard assembly line. All external panels can be mechanically fixed to the chassis
Gordon Murray says the advantages are:
The construction method allows the chassis to be scaled in size for different products
with each new design requiring only low-cost tooling and software changes.
This flexibility means that the chassis can be used as a standard ‘platform’ to deliver different vehicle types and model variants e.g. car, urban delivery van, taxi, emergency support vehicle.
Combining this flexibility with the separate chassis and assembly lines, means that the same factory could be used to manufacture different variants.
Entirely new model variants can be produced with significantly reduced lead times from concept to market.
Simplified assembly with easier access reduces assembly times and the risks of inline damage – avoiding the additional delay and cost associated with rework.
Prepainted body panels mean that there is no need for a paint shop in the assembly plant which removes the complications associated with vox emissions.
Mechanical fixing of body panels is quick and low-energy. It also makes future repairs relatively simple as replacement panels are quicker and easier to fix.
There is also the future potential to adapt the factory to take in ‘old cars’ to be upgraded,
reusing core parts such as the chassis and running gear with significant environmental benefits including reduced landfill and recycling at end-of-life.
This process could also be used for cosmetic updates to suit customer preferences as
replacing body panels is relatively simple.
Didn’t realise there’d be so much. We should have done an article!!
Forgot the engine question!
The engine isn’t a massively crucial bit of the T.25. The point is on power to weigh and efficiency. We think the prototype is running a Smart engine, but the assembly simply states any 3 or 4 pot 1.0 litre lump.