Shell Oil Commissions Gas-Powered City Car Concept

The model will be a ground-up, total rethink of the Gordon Murray Design T.25 car developed in 2010 using specially formulated Shell lubricants.

Alan Harman, Correspondent

April 9, 2015

2 Min Read
Project M Concept schematic
Project M Concept schematic.

Shell Oil is stepping into the automobile business with plans for a high-mileage concept car that, to no one’s surprise, runs on gasoline.

It is working in the U.K. with race- and road-car designer Gordon Murray and engine specialist Osamu Goto to engineer the ultra-compact, efficient car for city use based on the internal-combustion engine.

The Shell car is scheduled to be unveiled in November.

The model will be a ground-up, total rethink of the Gordon Murray Design T.25 car developed in 2010 using specially formulated Shell lubricants.

Shell says the concept is not intended for production but to inspire thinking about how the efficiency and utility of a car with a relatively “simple” conventional gasoline engine can be maximized for city use around the globe and also to prove the benefits of ground-up engineering collaborations.

The three parties collaborated in 1988 on Ayrton Senna’s and Alain Prost’s Honda-powered, Shell-fueled race cars that won all but one Grand Prix race that season, a record that still stands.

Shell says the new concept is intended to be a simple, practical global city car, drawing together the most innovative aspects of lightweight engineering, streamlining and driveline efficiency.

“The concept is intended to inspire thinking about maximizing personal mobility while minimizing energy use,” the company says in a statement.

The collaboration, called Project M, brings together Shell’s lubricants-technology team, the Gordon Murray Design Group and engine specialist Geo Technology.

Shell says this “technically intimate co-engineering relationship” between the three expert teams means the development of the lubricants, engine and vehicle will be completely integrated, delivering results the groups could not achieve by working apart.

Shell is specifically designing the motor oil for the vehicle and says it aims to show what can be achieved when its products are integrated into the design from the start.

Shell Lubricants Technology Vice President Selda Gunsel says the company wants to deliver a complete rethink of the car, using as little energy as possible.

“We believe this Shell car will demonstrate how efficient a car can be when Shell works in harmony with vehicle and engine makers during design and build, supplying fuels and lubricants technical expertise.

Project M is being launched at the Americas round of the Shell Eco-marathon, a global series that challenges student teams to design, build and test ultra-energy-efficient vehicles, in Detroit April 9-12.

About the Author(s)

Alan Harman

Correspondent, WardsAuto

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