Future Cars

Gordon Murray's ultra-efficient Shell Concept Car does 89 mpg

89 miles per gallon from a car big enough to comfortably seat three? That's the idea behind the Shell Concept Car.

The future may be electric, but ace designer Gordon Murray is showing there's still life in the 'ol internal combustion engine yet. Shell has unveiled a redesigned version of Murray's T.25 City Car, made even more efficient than before, now capable of averaging a whopping 89 miles per gallon. That's a roughly 20 percent boost over the previous car, thanks to some boutique lubricants from Shell and some heavy retooling of the drivetrain.

The tiny car seats three comfortably, driver situated front and center, with two passengers behind and to either side. This is a seating arrangement shared with another Gordon Murray masterpiece, the McLaren F1, but put to use in a somewhat more economical package this time.

The three-cylinder engine makes just 43 horsepower, which isn't much, despite the fact that this car weighs just 1,200 pounds. Resulting performance is far from brisk, with a 0-62 mph time of 15.8 seconds.

Alas, it's just a concept, so don't try to buy one!

Shell

So acceleration isn't the Shell Concept Car's forte, but economy is. Beyond that stellar fuel consumption, the car has other efficiency advantages, including producing some 34 percent fewer emissions than other tiny city cars. It's also made largely of recycled carbon fiber, which is cheaper and stronger than steel, and can be entirely recycled itself.

While its predecessor, the T.25, did go into limited production, at this point the Concept Car is just that and there are no plans to manufacture the thing. Shame, as it looks like a fun little ride.