Gordon Murray starts development of T27 city car
5 November 2009

British design entrepreneur Gordon Murray has won a £4.5 million grant from the government-backed Technology Strategy board to build a three-seater electric city car, based on his recently revealed T25 petrol prototype.

The deal was announced today by transport minister Lord Drayson, who also took a drive in an early T25 prototype. The car, dubbed T27, will be the product of a partnership between Murray’s company and British-based technology company Zytek, who will build the powertrain. The project is the upshot of a meeting between Murray and and business secretary, Lord Mandelson, last March.

The deal is worth £9 million in all, with the remaining £4.5 million of non-government funding provided equally by Murray and Zytek, who will provide. The partners will build four prototypes over the next 16 months, one running car and three “laboratory” cars to test properties like crash structure and electrical architecture.

The first running prototype should be ready about halfway through the project, but the styling won’t be firmed up for at least six months. “We prefer to get the important bits right first,” says Murray. Murray believes the T27’s amazingly low weight of 750kg (150kg more than T25, including a bank of new-tech lithium-ion batteries big enough to deliver a 60-70 mile range) will be a big factor in making it “the most efficient EV in the world”. He calculates that its whole-life emissions will be 27 per cent lower than its nearest rival. Other advantages will be the T27’s compact dimensions, the fact that it is an all-new design and its use of Murray’s own super efficient iStream manufacturing process that eliminates the need for inflexible and expensive stamping processes.

The T27’s overall proportions and three-seat, mid-engined layout will draw many carry-over parts from T25, Murray says, but the car will need a new motor, gearbox, battery mounting system and inverter. Its controls and instrumentation will also have to change. “We have a good start,” says Murray, “but it’s really a matter of doing the T25 all over again.” Zytek’s Bill Gibson and Gordon Murray have previously met briefly through motorsport, but have never co-operated before on a project. However, Murray says he’s deeply impressed by Zytek’s achievements, and believes the T27 project is going to be “a great partnership”.

He also believes it will provide a realistic opportunity to keep the first application of the iStream process in Britain, one of Murray’s long-held objectives. “This project is jaw-droppingly imaginative,” says David Bott, director of innovation platforms at the TSB. “If we get this right it can change the world.”

Twitter - follow autocar.co.uk

Join the debate


5 November 2009

The T27 electric car sounds very interesting. But when are we going to see the T25? It has the potential to be a small, eco-friendly car that I could actually lust after.

5 November 2009

While I welcome the government funding for the T27 EV, I think it is sad the government is only prepared to invest in EVs. The efficient petrol engined T25 is just as deserving of government investment.

I hope that the T25 benefits from some common chassis development work with the T27.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mini Countryman Cooper S
    First Drive
    18 January 2017
    All-new bigger Mini continues to make a curious, flawed crossover hatchback, though it’s more compelling to drive than some and more practical than it used to be
  • Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Plug-in petrol-electric Panamera makes a better case than ever to supplant the diesel best seller, but it still appeals more to the head than the heart
  • MX-5 RF 2.0 160
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    The distinctive 'retractable fastback' roadster promises typical MX-5 dynamics coupled with better refinement. It achieves the former, but the latter isn't quite there yet
  • Hyundai i30 1.4 T-GDi Premium
    First Drive
    17 January 2017
    Facing increasingly formidable opposition, the Hyundai i30 has been overhauled for 2017. The result is a recognisably mixed bag
  • 2016 Infiniti Q50 Country Road
    First Drive
    12 January 2017
    Infiniti’s premium mid-sized saloon packs a serious punch, but lacks the dynamic prowess of European rivals