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Shell has squeezed 107mpg from Gordon Murray's city car

Reimagined city car concept promises big energy savings. Like it?

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If you think you’ve seen Shell’s new Project M concept car somewhere before, it’s probably because you have. It’s what Shell calls a “total rethink” of McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray’s T.25 city car from 2010, an illustration of a “co-engineering” process the oil giant thinks could save bags of energy.

How? The 550kg concept is a collaboration between “world leading” vehicle, engine and lubricant designers/engineers. Those are respectively Shell, Geo Technology and Gordon Murray Design. Each element is “tailored to work optimally” with the others for maximum energy savings. This has apparently been achieved via “aggressive downsizing, and streamlining while enhancing the efficiency of energy delivery through innovative engine design and lubricant formulation.”

The result is a car that Shell says uses half the energy of a conventional family car to build and run. But with only three seats and a 160-litre boot, it’s also about half as useful. It’s almost wholly recyclable, though, the body being made from pre-used carbon fibre, while select parts are 3D-printed.

At a steady 45mph cruise, the 660cc three-pot delivers 107mpg. It has 43bhp, delivered to the rear wheels via a semi-automatic five-speed gearbox. Total length is just 2.5m, which isn’t that much longer than a full-size SUV is wide. Top speed is limited to a passable 90mph. Would you be seen in one?

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