A Shell car will be coming to city near you. Yes, the giant oil company is planning to build a city car. Dubbed Project M and initiated by Shell in collaboration with the legendary race and road car designer, Professor Gordon Murray and engine specialist, Osamu Goto, the ultra-compact, efficient car is engineered for city use based around the internal combustion engine. The Shell car is scheduled to be unveiled in November 2015 and people will be able to follow the development of the car through the website, shell.com/Projectm.
The Shell concept is intended to be: a simple, practical global city car; drawing together the most innovative aspects of light-weight engineering, streamlining, and driveline efficiency; and work brilliantly whether you are in a city where mass-motoring is a relatively new thing or already a century-old. Once built, the car will be tested on-the-road.
The concept is intended to inspire thinking about maximising personal mobility while minimising energy use*, helping people get around the world’s ever-more congested cities where, by 2050, up to three quarters of the world’s estimated nine billion people could be living.
Project M brings together Shell’s Lubricant’s Technology Team, The Gordon Murray Design Group and engine specialist Geo Technology. This technically intimate co-engineering relationship between the three expert teams means, that the development of the lubricants, engine and vehicle will be completely integrated, delivering results neither group could achieve by working apart.
Shell provides the fluids for the car specifically ‘designing’ the motor oil that complements and enhances the overall efficiency of the vehicle. Most people would naturally assume that oil, greases and fuels are simply added at the end of a concept-car build project like this, but the Shell car aims to show what can be achieved when its products are integrated into the design, right from the start.
“Since working with Gordon Murray Design team on the T25 car in 2010, we have given further thought on how 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. Shell is excited to be working with such top calibre partners and invite others to join us for the remaining part of this exciting journey,” says Selda Gunsel – Vice President Lubricants Technology.
The three parties last collaborated in 1988 on Ayrton Senna’s and Alain Prost’s HondaTM-powered, Shell- fuelled race cars that won all but one Grands Prix that season, a record that still stands. Shell and Professor Gordon Murray go back way further; Shell sponsored the first car and engine Professor Gordon Murray ever built, in South Africa, when he was just 19.
Project M is being launched at the Americas round of Shell Eco Marathon, a global series which challenges student teams to design, build and test ultra-energy-efficient vehicles. The Americas Shell Eco Marathon is in Detroit, USA on 9-12 April 2015.