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Formula One design vet creating eco-smart city car

Planned city car from Gordon Murray Design will be small enough so that three vehicles can be parked headlong into a single space.

The styles from Europe this year are decidedly green and small.

Designer Gordon Murray, best known for his work on Formula One racing cars, detailed on Monday a new city car design called the T.25 that is aimed at reducing congestion and lowering pollution.

The planned T.25 in green compared with (going left to right) a VW Golf, a Fiat 500, a Smart Car, and a Mini Cooper. Gordon Murray Design

Compared even with existing compact cars, the T.25 will be small: it can be parked headlong against the curb, allowing three cars to fit in one parking space.

Gordon Murray Design is about halfway through its two-year planning process and plans to have a prototype on the road early next year.

To lower the car's carbon footprint, the company has rethought the cradle-to-grave lifecycle of the car. For example, many of the parts, including the capacity and body, can be recycled and the manufacturing process is being set up with a minimal number of parts to reduce energy use during fabrication.

The first versions of the car will run on either gas or diesel and get about 60 miles per gallon, the company told Greentech Media.

No more driving around the block to wait for a space. Three T.25's fit in the space for one car. Gordon Murray Design

The company intends to work with outside manufacturers to lower the cost and sell the car to city dwellers in Asia and Europe for between $10,000 and $11,000, it told Greentech Media.

Overall, the car should have low or zero emissions, the company says.

Compact cars are already more popular in Europe and Asia than in the U.S. Automakers have helped create demand for SUVs and trucks as passenger cars. But with rising fuel prices and growing environmental awareness, city cars appear to be staging a comeback.

The Smart Car is already cruising European and American streets. And Think Global from Norway intends to market its all-electric city car, called the Think City, in Europe and the United States next year.