T.25 program reduces cost, weight and environmental footprint
Led by automotive icon Professor Gordon Murray who headed up the design of supercars such as the McLaren F1 and the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Gordon Murray Design's initial focus is a new class of novel city cars. His 25th car program, the T.25 (see accompanying image), is not just about innovative vehicle packaging and lightweight design, it also offers solutions to reduce congestion and parking problems while at the same time addressing the problem of full lifecycle CO2 damage.
"The T.25 is designed to protect our mobility, personal freedom and driving 'fun' while greatly reducing the environmental damage from vehicle manufacturing and running," said Murray. "In short, the T.25 architecture, packaging and manufacturing process promises to be the biggest revolution in the mass production of cars in the last 100 years."
Customer and partner interest in the T.25 program has been worldwide and Gordon Murray Design is currently in discussion with several prestigious companies and groups regarding both the sale of the T.25 program for volume production and other versions of vehicles using the same manufacturing process. The T.25 concept will not only support a variety of power trains and fuels, the same manufacturing technologies will support different body styles specifically adapted for customers. First markets are expected to be in Europe and Asia.
"The manufacturing process is a complete re-think on the way we build cars and will revolutionize automobile production," said Jonathan Feiber, a board member and general partner with Silicon Valley venture capital firm MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures. "The most exciting aspect of this milestone in the program is that 'real world' costs for the new manufacturing process have shown that all of the company's ambitious targets for a massive reduction in manufacturing, running and lifecycle CO2 damage reductions will be met or improved."
With 12 months of its 24 month program completed on the T.25 city car, the company has completed work on its prototyping workshop, which includes full-size CNC (computer numerical control) machining capability and leading-edge art structural rapid prototyping equipment. Its workshop is fully equipped for prototype build and development and integrates traditional skills and processes with fully mechanized machining facilities. Component design is almost complete with the first prototype build scheduled to begin in early 2009.
About Gordon Murray Design
Gordon Murray Design promises to revolutionize the future of automotive production and the impact that personal transportation has on the environment. A world leader in automotive design, development and manufacturing, the company will reverse the current industry trend for sub-contracting by offering a complete in-house capability for design, prototyping and development. The company is focused on delivering efficient and breakthrough automotive programs with a multi-skilled team that has worked together on leading design and engineering projects that range from Formula One to city cars. Collectively they have over 300 years experience working in the auto industry and in excess of 1100 man years of collaborating on design, prototyping and manufacturing processes unprecedented in the automotive world. For more information, visit http://www.gordonmurraydesign.com
About MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures
MDV-Mohr Davidow Ventures is a leading Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm investing in entrepreneurs building start-up companies capable of re-segmenting large existing markets or building altogether new ones. The firm invests in the areas of Cleantech, Internet technologies, and Life Sciences. Since its inception in 1983 the firm has built a reputation among entrepreneurs as a partner by taking a hands-on approach to investments and working skillfully to architect and build successful companies. MDV has $2 billion under management. For more information, visit http://www.mdv.com.
Caparo is a fast growing, global manufacturing and investment group with a turnover approaching $1.2B. Caparo's operations are located at over 50 sites in the UK, North America, India and Spain. With traditional business interests predominantly in the manufacture of steel and engineering products, Caparo has recently developed the Caparo Vehicle Products division, CVP. CVP is a group of tier 1 component design, engineering and manufacturing companies providing advanced solutions for the automotive, aerospace, military and motor sports markets, with global manufacturing locations to service both high volume passenger vehicles along with specialist niche applications. For more information, visit http://www.caparo.com
* * * * T.25: A New Class of Vehicle - The Facts
LIFE CYCLE IMPACTS:
* The T.25 will be best in class with CO2 emissions and fuel consumption less than half of the UK average.
* The vehicle program is a complete re-think on high volume materials and the manufacturing process, and will lead to a significant reduction in CO2 emissions over the lifecycle of the car from 'cradle to grave'.
* Component parts will be minimized through multi-functional component design and careful consideration of tooling requirements.
* Minimal parts and the compact size will support low cost manufacture and will significantly reduce life-cycle impacts.
* Materials selected will be made from recycled materials where possible and will have the lowest life cycle impact that meets design requirements.
* The compact size will reduce correspondingly any energy used in raw material extraction and manufacture.
* The compact size will also reduce the size of site needed for final assembly and manufacture.
* Reduced components will decrease energy used during tooling and fixture manufacture.
* The T.25 chassis is designed to "flat pack" for transportation. During transportation, the compact size will enable 12 times as many T.25 'body-in-white's' to be shipped in a standard shipping container as compared to an average car 'body-in-white'. Again more vehicles can be transported with any other means of transit, further reducing energy usage.
* In view of the fact that the vehicle will be light, the tires should experience minimal wear, thereby extending their overall life which will in turn reduce the problems associated with the disposal of used tires.
* At end-of-life, many components will be re-usable including the body and chassis.
* The T.25 concept will support a variety of power trains and fuels.
SIZE AND STRUCTURE:
* The T.25 will not be just a small 'big car' but will have a radically innovative architecture and the flexible layout will support a variety of uses.
* Its compact size will allow '2' T.25's to travel in one UK motorway lane. Trebling the capacity and reducing congestion.
* '3' T.25's can easily fit into '1' standard UK parallel parking space, trebling much needed urban parking, reducing pressures for inner cities as well as the disruption to traffic flow.
* Delays caused by congestion are prominent in urban areas and easing or eliminating existing congestion on the road network would be worth some 7-8 billion pounds Sterling of gross domestic products per annum.
* The compact size of the T.25, being half the size of the average car, will still achieve the highest safety standards (at least 4 Star Euro NCAP).
* T.25 will have a better power-to-weight ratio than the average luxury sedan reversing the trend towards larger, heavier and more powerful cars.
* Accident repair costs are kept low by way of replaceable body panels.
POTENTIAL MARKETS USAGE:
* The T.25's unique selling points will make it attractive to a range of markets.
* Having low to zero emissions should qualify the owner for reduced operating costs (e.g. exemption from congestions charges, low VED etc,) making it attractive to the urban market.
* The size benefits and turning circle will greatly facilitate access, parking and reduce road blockages making it attractive for inner city use.
* The base version of the T.25 will have a purchase price which will be at the lower end of the UK market.
* Cities are currently responsible for 75% of global emissions and are increasingly looking to introduce low emission and congestion related measures (e.g. London, Paris and New York.)
* The T.25 standard architecture will offer MPV flexibility by incorporating six different layouts in one package.