Shell has unveiled a concept city car which, if it was ever to go into production, it says 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 three-seater car has been developed through a process of 'co-engineering' whereby vehicle body, engine design and lubricants are all created together.
Independent testing and a lifecycle study show that Shell’s 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
The car is a total rethink of the Gordon Murray Design T.25 city car produced in 2010 for which Shell produced a prototype oil to improve the vehicle’s energy efficiency.
It takes a holistic view on energy reduction focusing on design material selection; reduced energy demand via aggressive downsizing, and streamlining while enhancing the efficiency of energy delivery through innovative engine design and lubricant formulation to minimise the impact in terms of overall energy lifecycle use.
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.
"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.”
ample test results include a steady state consumption of 107 miles per gallon at 45mph and an improvement of 4.67g/km of CO2 on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) from the use of bespoke lubricants, equivalent to a 5% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to standard lubricants available in the UK.
Built around Gordon Murray Design’s patented iStreamâ platform, the Shell concept car represents a radical rethink on the way in which cars are designed, developed and produced.
It combines cutting-edge lightweight technology – the car weighs just 550kg – and is built using carefully chosen materials which have a low energy and CO2 footprint.
A number of the car’s components were created using 3D printing to accelerate the construction of this prototype vehicle.
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.