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The Aston Martin Cygnet, the British luxury brand’s take on the Toyota iQ, is almost ready to go on sale, and the ultra-lux city car will start £30,995, or about $50,000 USD.
Using the 1.3L Toyota engine and a 6-speed manual or CVT gearbox, the iQ’s 11 second 0-60 sprint is decidedly not Aston-like in its performance, but the city car represents a new market for Aston, as well as a way to get around average fuel economy regulations such as America’s CAFE standards.
Gordon Murray’s most famous project so far has been the McLaren F1. But if the legendary South African designer has his way, his next project will be the one that forms the basis of his legacy, and the T.27 electric city car may just make it after passing a European market crash test with flying colors.
The T.27 showed no cabin intrusion during the 40mph frontal crash test, thanks to its Formula 1 inspired monocoque chassis, which is designer to withstand incredible impacts while being lightweight and rigid. Murray expects to have running prototypes in the Spring, with the eventual goal being the licensing of the technology, as well as Murray’s proprietary manufacturing process, to other car makers.
Not one to let its long-time rival capitalize on every niche, Mercedes-Benz is apparently working on a small city car to rival BMW’s MegaCity project.
Although only sketches and clay models exist, a possible synergy with the Smart brand could exist, especially in light of the brand’s recent foray into electric vehicles. The vehicle’s styling work is being carried out at Mercedes-Benz’s studio in Yokohama, Japan, under the direction of Holger Hutzenlaub.
“We been looking outside the automotive industry, including the trend towards mini city houses, to generate new ideas on space utilization and packaging,” said Hutzenlaub. With Japan’s lack of space and love for minicars, the metropolis of Yokohama is an ideal center for development, and will likely influence the project in a unique way. But with so little work done at this point, don’t expect a finish product for a number of years.
The Honda Brio was apparently inspired by the Citroen 2CV, as evidenced by its codename during development. Of course, the Brio is based on a much more conventional layout, but the ultra-compact dimensions, measuring 142 inches in length and 66 inches wide. For comparison, a Smart ForTwo is 106.1 inches long but 61.4 inches wide, making the Brio a sort of four-door equivalent.
The Brio was designed for the Thai and Indian markets, and the primary concern was navigating their tight urban areas. Priced at around $13,000 USD, the Brio will likely never make it to our shores, but as the demand for small vehicles grows, perhaps an Americanized version may one day show up.
Mitsubishi recently reached a milestone with the completion of their 5000th i-MiEV electric car, which rolled off the line at its Mizushima plant this week.
After starting production in June of 2009, the i-MiEV has been a hit in Japan, and will make its debut in America in late 2011 after being unveiled at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show. The i-MiEV will also hit Europe next year, in advance of the car’s North American launch.
[Source: Left Lane News]
Aston Martin‘s Cygnet minicar will come to the United States sometime in 2012 according to Automotive News. The Cygnet will reportedly cost $35,000 despite minimal changes from the Toyota iQ it’s based on.
The Cygnet is a risky move for Aston Martin; a product like this is conceivably a good idea in places like London, where a congestion charge applies to most vehicles driving in the downtown core, or in traffic-ridden locales like Manhattan, Miami or Los Angeles. Outside of these small niches, it’s hard to imagine who would buy a Cygnet for any reason at all.
[Source: Automotive News]
Despite previously denying reports that an electric car based off their small A1 platform would be produced, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler confirmed that Audi would produce a small electric city car, without confirming any design or technical details.
“Almost certainly, yes, we will have a small electric car. It is being investigated,” Stadler told Britain’s What Car? The first electric vehicle from Audi is slated to be a variation of Audi’s e-tron electric supercar. The e-tron is set to bow in 2012 as a limited production, high-priced halo car.
Stadler told reporters that an electric city car will only be feasible in “three to five years” when the market for such a product matures. “What we then need are customers willing to pay a premium these vehicles demand,” said Stadler, referring to the high premiums caused by the cost of engineering an electric vehicle.
BMW‘s new joint venture with SGL Group on a carbon fiber plant in Washington state got underway, as the two companies broke ground on the factory.
While vehicle assembly will take place in Germany, the carbon fiber material production will take place in the state, due to the large presence of aerospace expertise in the area. An estimated 80 full-time jobs will come out of the joint venture, called SGL Automotive Carbon Fibers.
BMW’s Megacity Electric Vehicle will be the first car to utilize a full carbon fiber structure when it debuts in 2013.
After designing the legendary McLaren F1, Gordon Murray decided to try his hand at something completely different. Murray revealed his latest creation, the T.25 City Car, at an event in Oxford, England, and to say that it’s a 180 from the McLaren F1 is an understatement.
The T.25 weighs in at a truly featherweight 1,212 pounds and is less than eight feet long. Power comes from a 51-horsepower inline 3-cylinder engine, and 0-60mph can be measured in geological epochs (the official number is 16.2 seconds). Of course, the T.25 really has nothing to do with performance, as its focus is on city driving. The T.25 will get 61.9 mpg in the city, while being small enough to park perpendicular to the curb, fitting three T.25s into a single space.
Since this is a Murray design, the T.25 will share a design cue with the F1. The cockpit is laid out similar to the F1, with the driving sitting in the center, flanked by two passengers. To facilitate easy entry, the front of the car swings open like a clamshell.
Hit the jump for the official press release
Gallery: T.25 City Car
[Source: Gordon Murray Design]
Gordon Murray is eager to stress that his firm, Gordon Murray Design, is not in the business of producing cars, especially not his new T25 city car. “We’re not a car company; our business is selling intellectual property for the production process,” Murray told Auto Express.
Murray’s proclamation comes on the heels of his announcement that he has already sold the design of the T25 to an unnamed European company and a Japanese design firm, but Murray won’t reveal their identities. With the T25, and his new iStream manufacturing process, Murray is pursuing a new business model, whereby a design is licensed to several different companies who produce their own version of the car.
After he finishes the electric version of the T25, dubbed the T27, Murray said that he will build a superlight Mazda MX5 rival as well as a supercar to compete with the McLaren MP4-12C.
A new 400-horsepower sports car is in the works at BMW, but if you ask executives at the German car company, they’ll tell you that the most promising new product is at the other end of the spectrum.
Speaking at a meeting in London, Ian Robertson a BMW board member told Inside Line that they haven’t ruled out a competitor to Mercedes-Benz’s SL and the Audi R8, similar to the Vision Efficient Dynamics concept unvield at the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show. The Vision concept is a 400 horsepower low slug sports car that uses a hybrid system that can also hit 60 mph in 4 seconds or less and return 62.6 mpg. BMW intends to build a running, driving prototype to demonstrate the viability of the project.
Robertson was also enthusiastic about the Megacity, a car he called a “wholesale change” in the design and manufacturing process of an automobile. With a carbon fiber bodyshell and an electric powertrain, the Megacity is set to be a total departure from traditional road cars. BMW insists the Megacity will be a premium product, but will be branding the car with a slightly different naming system, in order to seperate it from their traditional, performance-oriented cars.
[Source: Inside Line]
Not long after Gordon Murray’s McLaren F1 was feted at the company’s headquarters, new details have emerged about Murray’s all-new T27 city car, being developed by the South African-born engineer independently of McLaren.
Essentially an electric version of the T25 city car, the T27 uses a lithium-ion battery and a small electric motor to hit 60 mph in under 15 seconds. The time might seem agonizingly slow for many car enthusiasts, but in urban driving, the 8.2 foot length and 4.3 foot width, along with a range of 80-100 miles will matter far more, allowing the T27 to deliver an acceptable driving range and fit into the tightest of parking spaces.
A running prototype is expected to be completed by April of next year, and judging by Murray’s past creations, as well as the leaked info about the T25, both city cars should be game changers.
[Source: World Car Fans]