Shell is Designing a Car With F1 Legend Gordon Murray

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Shell Project M concept car

Shell announced today it’s working on a car concept that will be revealed later this year. After all, if Google can develop a driverless car, why can’t the world’s biggest gasoline company design a fuel-efficient vehicle?

The Project M mobility collaboration aims to produce a city car that will get about 80 mpg, comfortably accommodate three people and that’s also zippy and fun to drive, as the launch video below highlights:

The world’s third-biggest gas producer, which earlier this week signed a $70 billion deal to “shore up its declining  oil and gas reserves” as the The Economist commented, is producing its first car in partnership with some heavy hitters.

Legendary auto designer Gordon Murray, known for the McLaren Formula 1 vehicles and his desire to revolutionize gas-driven cars, is involved in the project, along with engine specialists Geo Technology and Shell Lubricant’s Technology Team in a bid “to co-engineer a car that inspires new thinking about how we get around cities.”

According to Shell’s project website, “Together we aim to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 emissions over the car’s entire lifecycle when compared to traditional vehicles; think about how we can reduce the running costs of the car; how super-compact we can make it and what will make it safe.”

Shell Project M car concepts

With so much focus on electric vehicles these days, why develop a more efficient petrol-driven car? For a start, Shell has a vested interest in the space, of course, and argues that gasoline cars aren’t going away any time soon and a crisis is looming, with an estimated two billion cars on the road by 2015.

Or as Shell puts it, “There are some innovative developments being done by the car manufacturing industry on electric or hybrid vehicles, but we’re going to need a mixture of energy and vehicle technologies to help meet demand in the future.”

As for the design considerations, the project page states: “We want our concept car to be as efficient as possible, which means it has to be lightweight and streamlined. The engine technology will need to work together with our own low-friction fluids to try to get the very best results; we will aim to deliver a significant reduction in CO2 emissions over its entire lifecycle when compared to traditional vehicles.”

The public is also invited to get involved by voting on concept designs and suggesting features they’d like to see.

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