Currently reading: Murray T27 nears production
Backing for T27 means work can begin on radical new manufacturing plant

A consortium to bring Gordon Murray’s T27 electric city car to production has begun forming in the UK — and by the end of this year it could be ready to start building the super-efficient iStream manufacturing plant that will produce them.

The T27, so closely related in size and design to Murray’s petrol-powered T25 that both electric and internal combustion models could be produced in the same factory, eliminates conventional steel pressings from its ultra-safe chassis structure, reducing manufacturing time, space and investment.

The T27 project is the first fruit of a £4.5 million grant from the government-backed Technology Strategy Board.

Murray’s partner in the T27 is Lichfield technology firm Zytec, which has received a matching £4.5m grant and is designing and manufacturing an ultra-compact motor and gearbox to go under the three-seat T27’s boot floor.

It has announced plans for a ‘turn-key package’ that is up to 45 per cent lighter than regular units in its air-cooled specification.

Murray believes the T27 will be one of the first ‘proper’ electric cars to demonstrate the value of purpose design. “The last thing you want for an efficient electric car is conventional construction or a sports car character,” he said.

“Weight or the need for lots of acceleration means your battery has to be too heavy. We can keep the T27’s weight under 700kg, which will make it one of the world’s lightest electric cars.”

The iStream manufacturing process, also designed by Murray, is essential to T25 and T27 production because its efficiency, investment and space savings will allow cars to be sold for much less than existing or proposed city cars.

Although he’s enthusiastic about the T27’s sales prospects, Murray believes initial figures may be patchy.

"Our research shows predictions of early demand varying by as much as 80 per cent,” he said. “It may prove sensible to make both the T25 and T27 in the first plant — they have been engineered to co-exist — to protect the health of both.”

The petrol-powered T25, now fully engineered, will take just 22 months to reach showrooms. It will deliver a genuine 80mpg and emit less than 100g/km of CO2 but will have “lively performance”.

Murray recently revealed that in June 2008, a few weeks before the global recession struck, a “huge UK group” agreed to buy the T25 design and build both passenger and van versions in the first iStream factory. When markets collapsed they backed out, but they have retained interest in the project.


Steve Cropley

Steve Cropley Autocar
Title: Editor-in-chief

Steve Cropley is the oldest of Autocar’s editorial team, or the most experienced if you want to be polite about it. He joined over 30 years ago, and has driven many cars and interviewed many people in half a century in the business. 

Cropley, who regards himself as the magazine’s “long stop”, has seen many changes since Autocar was a print-only affair, but claims that in such a fast moving environment he has little appetite for looking back. 

He has been surprised and delighted by the generous reception afforded the My Week In Cars podcast he makes with long suffering colleague Matt Prior, and calls it the most enjoyable part of his working week.

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Old Toad 22 May 2010

Re: Murray T27 nears production

Ok so I am a luddite . It may well revolutionise production techniques . But ask yourselves the same questions as Mr Fat Wallet the investor/ banker.

Will people want to buy it ? Will it be profitable . After all the Smart makes a huge loss . Simple questions that many engineers in their brilliance forget to ask.

Sorry but at the end of the day it may be brilliant as an engineering concept but I am still not convinced people will be clamouring to buy it as I think it has too many major flaws . Driver sits in the middle so cant see to overtake and a dodgy means of access and egress. Oh and arent our children getting bigger and us lardier so cars with less space dont really match our future sizing needs do they.

Radical it may be but so is the Nano that will no doubt be much cheaper if you are after something really compact .

I shall soon call it the boomerang for the number of times it keeps coming back to Auto car

Oh and for those who want to say I dont like British engineering brilliance then look to the new London Double decker which is fantastic .

Old Toad 22 May 2010

Re: Murray T27 nears production

Talksteer 22 May 2010

Re: Murray T27 nears production

Scottish Scrutineer wrote:
I think that many who appear to be against this project are just too set in their ways and are not willing to accept the idea of change. I wonder how Alex Issigonnis would have been criticised when he started to unveil his plans for the Mini? Or Henry Ford with the Model T?

I can see your sentiment but the examples are terrible, Issigonnis was a forceful personality and hero worshipped within his own company. The requirement for the vehicle was handed down from the top level without analysis of a customer need. More analysis of the concept and oversight of the design should have been conducted.

The mini was a flawed concept, it was unnecessarily small and expensive to produce. The clever engineering wasn't solving a problem real people had. It was out sold by the Ford Cortina which cost less and was larger.

I would wait for the reviews and the price of the vehicle before yielding judgement but I would be keen to see what problem this vehicle is solving. If its not solving somebody's problem then it is just an engineering curiosity like the smart car, IQ and to a lesser extent the mini.