This is the Axon city car. It’s a British project in its early stages of development, whose creators claim they’ll produce a 100mpg (70g/km CO2) urban vehicle by 2011. The orange prototype body shell has been developed by Axon with Warwick University and has been aerodynamically optimised in the wind tunnel to make it as slippery as possible. It’s made of a strong, moulded carbonfibre composite and has plastic door panels, so it weighs only 400kg. The Axon doesn’t use any trick future technology, just a 500cc, twin-cylinder engine that’s been developed by engineering consultancy Ptech Engines. Originally, the twin-cylinder was developed for a hybrid version of the Smart car before Mercedes took over the project. Based at Snetterton, Ptech says the engine will meet Euro 5 emissions standards and promises it will be hassle-free to maintain. The unit only produces around 40bhp, but Axon is convinced this will be enough to keep pace with city traffic while delivering 100mpg and tax-free emissions. The project’s part-funded with government money, but it’ll be at least two years before the Axon reaches any kind of production reality. The next step is to homologate the Axon to reach European crash standards, which its makers are convinced it can achieve.