London - Shell has unveiled a concept city car which, if it enters production, could deliver “material reductions in energy use in the road transport sector”.
The three-seater car is based on Gordon Murray's Design T.25 city car produced in 2010, for which Shell produced a prototype oil to improve the vehicle’s energy efficiency.
It measures 2.5m long, 1.3m wide and 1.6m tall.
Fuel-saving city car
The Shell Concept Car was independently tested at a UK certified automotive testing facility alongside a range of other cars under comparable conditions to measure fuel economy and CO2 emissions.
According to Shell: “Independent testing and a rigorous life-cycle study shows that Shell’s Concept Car would deliver a 34% reduction in primary energy use over its entire lifecycle when compared to a typical city car available in the UK. The Shell Concept Car would use around half the energy required to build and run than a typical small family car available in the UK and 69% less than that of a typical sports utility vehicle available in the UK.”
Utilising a 660cc three-cylinder engine, the small car produces only 33kW/64Nm, mated to a sequential five-speed gearbox. The car’s fuel consumption is a claimed 2.64-litres/100km at 70km/h. It's fuel tank however is 22 litres.
The luggage compartment is only a scant 160 litres but can expand to 720 litres.
Transforming the industry
Mark Gainsborough, executive vice-president of Shell’s global lubricants businesses which backed the project, said: “This is a significant automobile engineering milestone. I’m very proud of what Shell’s scientists and their partners at Geo Technology and Gordon Murray Design have achieved. Insights gained from this project could be transformational in terms of how we address energy use in the road transport sector. Energy use and climate change are major issues for society.
"This project shows that if we use the best of today’s technology, including cutting edge lubricants science, we could potentially have a major impact on energy use and reduce CO2 emissions. The improvement in economy derived from the collaborative design of engine and lubricant is impressive and highlights the enormous benefits achieved from close relationships between design partners. It also shows the powerful role that lubricants can potentially play in helping achieve CO2 reduction targets.”
Built around Gordon Murray Design’s patented iStreama platform, the car uses lightweight materials for a total weight of just 550kg. A number of the car’s components were created using 3D printing to accelerate construction.
According to Shell: "The car also uses recycled carbon-fibre for its body that can be assembled for a quarter of the price of a conventional steel car and almost the entire car can be recycled at the end of its life."
The car makes use of a modified version of Shell’s Drive App via a smartphone. This App provides the driver with real time feedback via an on-screen graphic which emphasizes the fact that fuel consumption is highly dependent on driver’s behaviour.
Dr. Andrew Hepher, vice-president of Shell’s lubricant research team, said: “Our car may be small, but it’s packed with potential. We want to accelerate the conversation about how we make road vehicles more energy efficient and less carbon-intensive. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to sharing our research insights from this project with engine designers, car manufacturers, academics and other experts across the automotive sector.”