Smaller Than Smart Car, Coming in 2011

A British design house has unveiled a minicar that is about one-third smaller than the diminutive Daimler Smart ForTwo. This week, the Gordon Murray Design T.25 was unveiled—well, at least the equivalent of a napkin sketch of the car was. Hybridcars.com was told that the details were deliberately thin—lacking actual dimensions, powertrain information or seating/door locations—but the company presenting the concept has the credentials to deliver the product. That product’s goal is to deliver up to 75 mile-per-gallon fuel economy along with the capability of obtaining 80 miles per hour on a freeway. Of course the lack of details didn’t stop some media from speculating about the car’s specifications.

Gordon Murray Design’s plan is to deliver a prototype of this mini-minicar that could then be produced by a major automaker. Gordon Murray Design has a track record of producing high-end racecars and limited edition street machines, but this latest venture takes them into the realm of Smarts, Mini Coopers and Tata Nanos. The company has been working on the car’s design for the past year and promises a running prototype that will meet worldwide safety and emissions standards in 2009.

Plans from Gordon Murray Design are being shopped around to auto companies in hopes of finding a company willing to license and build the car—according Mohr Davidow Ventures, the Silicon Valley venture capital company providing the key financial backing. They estimate that the initial car—and other variations in the works—could be in production as early as 2011 or 12.

Gordon Murray Design also has plans for a manufacturing facility that would have one-fifth the footprint of its current one, yet produce the same number of vehicles. It would not have a stamping plant, traditionally a large portion of a car plant, since the T.25 does not have stamped steel body panels. The company’s focus on cradle-to-grave environmental impact led them to rethink the entire manufacturing process incorporating concepts such as multi-functional component design and vehicle body and chassis that can be re-used at the end of the vehicle’s life.

The car will offer a measure of fun, along with a low environmental footprint.  Weighing 440 pounds less than a Smart ForTwo, the T.25 will have a better power-to-weight ratio than  even a typical luxury sedan. It will be able to travel two-abreast in a single lane and park head-in three to the traditional single parking space. Initial markets for the car, which the company hopes to see priced at around $10,800 retail, are expected to be Europe and Asia. One report said that the dimensions of the U.S. version of the car would be somewhat larger than the size indicated in the initial sketch in order to meet safety specifications.


  • Bryce

    That is definetly very small. I am not sure any automaker is going to pick this up since most of them are already coming out with their own minicars. Maybe Chrysler, which is without a small car at all really. They have been open to partnerships lately given that one with Nissan for a small car/ big truck development trade. I have to say though, that there is a fine line between automobile and motorbike with side panels………and this may cross it.

  • Bryce

    o, and first post : )

  • mdensch

    I wouldn’t hold my breath. The Smart car took years to reach the market, some of which were spent just trying to find an automaker willing to take on the project.

    2011?? . . . ya right . . .

  • Badger in heat

    I have put my name down for 2, one sports and one comuter,,, Im pritty sure Gordon would do a sports version :)

  • anonymoustaffa

    OK, so now everyone is trying to one-up each other by offering less than anyone else. I’m just not convinced that this is the best path to higher mileage cars. It’s little more than a 4 wheel Segway scooter. Reminds me of when Bic first introduced their disposable lighters.

  • Need2Change

    I would seriously consider buying this for my third car, and I would use it to commute to work.

    It also would significiantly help auto manufacturers meet the CAFE mileage standards.

    I think we’ll see more cars like this.

  • Hal Howell

    Are we really THAT desperate for high mileage??? We need real solutions. not more clown cars.

  • JerryU

    I rather buy a moped scooter or a golf cart if I was that deperate!

  • kfly

    I would like to see them improve the mileage of the smart car instead. It gets suprisingly bad mileage considering how small it is.

  • Circlecube

    By 2011 we might be either off of gasoline or out of gasoline???

  • Giant

    anonymoustaffa, Hal Howell, and JerryU

    On smaller cars: Better learn to like them. And they are only going to be transitionary towards mass transportation.

  • Bryce

    Mass transit……in the U.S………only in major cities buddy. This isn’t Germany where 80 million people are compacted into an area the size of Iowa, this is the continental United States where u have places like the midwest with towns so small and so far apart that individual transportation is pretty much the only way to go. Tooling around the city in a commuter train is fine, but for the other 75% of people, individual transportation is a must. So, in no way, shape, or form are smaller cars “simply transitionary.”

  • Giant

    Bryce-omatic

    Read the following books and then let’s talk:
    1) The Party’s Over
    2) 6 Degrees

    Before reading those books I would have agreed with you. Not anymore.

  • Bryce

    I know I know, anthropogenic cuases and what not, I get enough of that in my environmental science class at UC Berkeley. I am on summer vacation, so give me a break. Small town USA, even if the north pole melted over the summer, would never jump on board for public transit, and thats assuming that anyone would be willing to shell out the money to pay for transit stops at every damn little town. Those people need cars. Urban environments are perfectly suited for public transit, which is why, when I am school in Berkeley, I ride around on the BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit…….it’s a train) but when I am home in southern California, I drive around in my car cuz I live way out in the inland empire (which is about an hour inland from L.A.) and public transit is pretty much unheard of. Imagine those poor people even farther out in the boonies than me. THere is no hope of any public transportation reaching them this century. Mass transit for all would be dandy, but it just isn’t logistically/economically possible right now. WHich is why I would simply say, get a fuel efficient car and put in some halogen light bulbs instead of tungsten ones and call it a day. Maybe write your congressman and tell him to support incentives for renewable energy resources. You, as a consumer can’t do much, but vote with your pocketbook.

    P.S. On a completely unrelated note that has nothing to do with this conversation whatsoever, I would recommend the book Guns, Germs, and Steal by Jared Diamond. Terribly interesting analysis of the development of human societies and how our world essentially came to be as it is today, without any sort of racial or cultural inferiority argument. Just thought I would recommend it since I was reading it for fun right now……..while we are all recommending books. : )

  • Bryce

    I also really enjoyed the Bryce-omatic nickname. It put a smile on my face.

  • anonymoustash

    I want a safe, mid-sized high mileage car at a reasonable price. I refuse to accept that it cannot be done, and done profitably. PC’s started out as big as your house, and now they do way more and can fit in your shirt pocket. Men have walked on the moon. Enough excuses already. Car technology needs to catch up. Get these ridiculous clownmobiles outta my face.

  • Bryce

    indeed, with time, the price will come down. But the time span from those room sized computers to pocket sized ones took about 70 years. : ( I don’t really like that example anymore.

  • anon

    Another car I’d never buy because its too small, looks like crap, and will get you killed in the event of a collision.

  • Earl

    Well, if you refuse to accept that a mid-sized efficient and comfortable automobile can not be produced inexpensively, here’s a pencil and some paper. I’m sure with your doctorate in mechanical engineering, you will have something by the end of the week that you too are shopping around to manufacturers for production.

  • New World Man

    People. The micro-car, Corn fuel, solar power, hydrogen fuel powered cars, wind mill power, etc, etc, is ALL INTRESTING, BUT STUPIT. These are only passing fads and toys of intrest. The future will be 100% electric. As to how we generate it, will vary from place to place on the globe. There is only 4 consistant natural energy sources abounding on Earth. 1. Oceanic wave, 2. Gravity, 3. Geo-Thermo, 4. Nueclear. Solar will not be consistant untill mankind gets into space with industry and commerce. The hole idea of pocket-cars is only because the world still uses oil/coal based fuels. The resource IS running out. The clock IS ticking on fossil fuels. Corn will NOT save the appitite of both the human stomic and the auto fuel tanks together, not even with hydroponics. Hydrogen fuel is TOO dangerous for the common layman out there to use. Hydrogen is NOT propane or Natrual gas. To many smokers out there. So, you might ask, whats taking so long to get an affordable production electric car? Like Anonymoustash has said, basicly, look what mankind can/has do/done. Why can’t the auto makers make a mid sized reasonable car at a reasonable price? Why?, Because. THERE IS NO WAY TO KEEP THE PUBLIC FROM MAKING THERE OWN CHARGER SO THE GOVERMENT AND CORPORATE AMERICA CAN MAKE A CAPITOL KILLING OFF OF THE PEOPLE IN THE PUBLIC. Thats why. Other forms of fuel/power is too hard and complicated for the common person to make them self at home. E-85/moonshine is Illeagal to make at home. Electric is re-generate-able/re-cycleable. Just not as controlable as gas’es are.
    So, the matchbox cars are only untill the can figure out how to control and regulate electric for electric cars so the government and corporate America can make there millions and billions off of you and me.

  • Bryce

    hmm……u seem to be very pessimistic about private industry…..the founding fathers would be dissapointed in u, but not particularly surprised that people like that exist.

    Anyways, as far as ethanol goes, cellulosic and sugar based gasahols would have returns 8:1, so there is really no need to worry about that.

    Sadly, whenever someone says fossil fuels only have X ammount of years left, they are pretty much wrong, cuz before $150 a barrle gas, Saudi Arabia had the largest petroleum reserves. now though, Canada has the largest oil reserves because extracting from the oil sands is now economical……..so poof, oil has been added to the pot and now the ammount of oil available to the world has doubled. Coupled with inflation and advancing technology, there will pretty much be oil…..o man….forever. That is sad, but economics and technology could be hurting the earth more than helping it. WHICH IS WHY, ethanol being made economical and/or electric cars would be the best solution to beat out oil.

    Finally, those big bad companies provide to you cheap goods for your consumption. Without them, U would have what u could make yourself and trade with the person within 5 miles of u. It is called specialization and u are doing it every time u go to work and the store. I specialize in something while someone else specializes in something that u they are good at and u are payed with money, which u then trade for there’s and other’s goods at big markets…..like Wal-Mart or Target or what have u. In other words…..welcome to globalization. : )

  • Pitapie

    Why all the small cars? The US people have proven that they love big so why can’t the auto makers just produce a vehicle that is hybrid and gets more miles to the gallon? The cars that are coming out small still get bad gas milage………does good gas milage mean a tiny car????

  • Bryce

    Toyota highlander, ford escape, and the future 2 mode saturn vue 2 mode will meet those criteria of a strong big fuel efficient vehicle. I hope that satisfies your craving. If u are looking for something bigger, there is always the tahoe hybrid.

  • carLover

    But you need to market this one and introduce this one that hard and will really affect buyers. It’s really cute but can you think of some purpose and advantages of having this mini car compared to a bulky one or just a simple sedan? I’ve seen this smart cars in some VW blog, they have some comparisons and their disadvantages. If you just want to collect some of these, maybe that’s the only time you can have one for you.

  • neo

    did we forget about the geo metro 50 mpg hwy why do we need to rethink it?
    12

  • reginab

    I heard that in Ford News too. I like small cars. Easy to drive. Here’s hoping it arrives faster than the hype.

  • Rayes

    I suppose that we will be seeing MONKEYS on the road?

  • mki

    “Anyways, as far as ethanol goes, cellulosic and sugar based gasahols would have returns 8:1, so there is really no need to worry about that.”

    That true if the gasoline will cost $0.50. You forgetting that ethanol is heavily subsidize by government. That might be true in Brazil, not in US.. and we are not Brazil.
    That not mistake that just build refineries for ethanol closing up because of price of corn and production cost is higher then the profit.
    All the fertilizer that they used to improve harvest is base on natural gas or oil.
    If you thinking about cellulose base, that only cream on the pie.
    With continuous exploration of the land on that scale (you cutting everything and just living the roots) the land will be eroded in not time and then what?
    It is already proven that there is not enough land on the world to produce fuel.
    And what about food for the people. We already seeing very serious spike in food prices, and what about the 800 million people that face right now starvation in the world.
    Do not think the this country is immune to hard ship or even starvation, because you driving SUV and you have good job that pay well right now.
    Just let me remind you that grate depression was not just bad dream.
    In Europe they preparing for high gas prices for at list 15-20 years that why they do not see such a shock with gas prices at $8-10.
    In this country we see $4.5 and we feel like it is end of the world. So what will happen at $7?
    People have to understand the faster they adjust the better chance to survival. The adjustment that you have to do not only apply to the car you drive, but also to the home that you own and live (is the home energy efficient), and how far you live from your job.
    We also have to reconsider if we really need to buy every three years new car for $30000. My be it will be better if we spend that money to buy solar collectors and wind turbine, so our annual cost for hatting, cooling and in general electricity will go down, even if it pay off in 20 years. You have to remember that 3 years old car loosing like 50% of the value. So what we gaining on that?
    Investing in home renewal energy source might also prepare your house for re fueling your future electric car. Just an idea.

    The cost for energy going higher and higher every year and do not expect any changes in that trend. Here in NYC the electricity cost is more then $0.3 per kw (including all costs) . In this year they “conveniently” split the used electricity and delivery and rise the prices for both. Same thing happen with natural gas few years back.

    As a renewal liquid fuel the only possibility is alga.
    It look good , but nobody is really certain if the promises are real – we will see in 2-5 years.
    Then there is electric power. We are still behind with that, however there is so much new development in that area that I tend to believe we will start some real revolution in that matter around 2010.
    The problem right now is price per KW (right now is like $4000/KW). I believe that it should sharply go down in next two years.
    Lithium batteries and other type look more and more promising.
    All of that might not be nothing if we not have any force from government. Statement that the market will solve the problem is ridiculous. It will solve in 50 years, do we have 50 years?
    As some body said that we need the scale of development that was in WWII in order to get us out from that hole. This country is in mortal danger (not from imaging terrorist) and require wore time approach.
    I just hope that we will have smart enough president in January (not the idiot that we have right now) that will go for it.

  • Bryce

    I don’t mean to be critical….or cruel at all……but it is really hard to understand your post. Maybe you were typing to fast. Don’t mean to insult you, just saying…..there are some words in there that made no sense.

  • mki

    Yes there are few typos in there, sorry for that.

  • Bryce

    np…..I am sorry for being the jerk to point it out. : (

  • KAMREN

    omg…. the piont of this car is to help protect the earths natural resorces and life as we know… this car is awesome and at least i can see that… haha… :) and btw…. it takes up less space than the car u prolly have…

  • Anonymous

    suck dick

  • mica

    you can die in a 1 ton pickup also

  • marlene

    is to small, i don’t know how will use this type of car. the smart car is already small, how small can be the new model? they will have Cold Air Intake? it is a important function for a car!