McLaren F1 creator develops super-efficient gasoline car
Gordon Murray is perhaps most well known for bringing to life one of the greatest supercars ever created, the McLaren F1. Now the ex Formula One engineer is setting his design talents on extreme performance of another kind — efficiency.
The Shell Concept Car is a small city vehicle built with the singular goal minimizing energy use while running on gasoline available today. The tiny runabout seats three and is short enough to be parked nose-first in a parallel parking space. In tests it averaged 107 mpg while driving at a constant 45 mph while emitting 5 percent fewer CO2 emissions as well.
The engine is a 0.66-liter three-cylinder, developed by Geo Technology, an automobile engineering consultancy firm founded by Osamu Goto, former director of Honda F1 and R&D Manager at Ferrari F1. It runs on conventional gasoline, but was engineered in conjunction with Shell Oil, which created a unique lubricant that makes its internals run more efficiently than a conventional motor’s.
The body is made of recycled carbon fiber and weighs just 1,212 pounds. According to Shell, it costs only a quarter of what it would take to assemble a run-of-the-mill steel-bodied car. To get in and out, the roof, windshield and sides tilt forward as a single unit. It took the two aforementioned companies and Murray Design working in unison three years to develop the car. Murray promises that it could be built today, but there is no word on whether it would be.