Shell's city car concept seats 3 people, is environmentally friendly and has an unusual, forward hinging, door.
Project M production and use consumes minimal energy
Shell Project M is a concept car that minimises its environmental impact via a holistic approach to the bodywork, engine and lubricants, the manufacturer explained. This city car, therefore, returns 107mpg at 45mph. New European Driving Cycle tests showed it also produces 28% less CO2 than a typical, petrol-powered, city car.
Shell claimed that its concept vehicle would deliver a 34% reduction in “primary energy use” over its life cycle if mass produced, when compared to a typical city car in the UK. It would also use about 50% of the energy required to build and run a typical small family car, and 69% less than a sports utility model.
Project M physical characteristics
Project M has a central driving position flanked, to the rear, by seating for 2. The interior is basic yet has a futuristic vibe. Access comes via a single, large, door that hinges forwards and incorporates the windscreen, side windows and the front of the roof. This set-up is somewhat reminiscent of the BMW Isetta (1955).
Bodywork, engine, lubrication and smartphone app
Lightweight construction contributes towards the vehicle's environmental efficiency. It weighs 550kg, in fact – whereas a Ford Ka Studio 1.2 69PS from 2016 tips the scales at 1,320kg. The body is built from light, recycled, carbon fibre that can be assembled at a quarter the price of a conventional steel vehicle, Shell said.
Project M's petrol engine is optimised too. This 660cc power plant – that is teamed with automatic transmission – incorporates components that minimise friction. On this basis, a higher percentage of the energy produced by burning fuel powers the wheels; rather than overcoming the friction between the components.
The engine's lubrication performs a similar role. It is based on Shell Helix Ultra with PurePlus Technology that is easily available. New European Driving Cycle experiments showed that this oil cuts carbon emissions by 5% on the combined cycle (when compared to “standard lubricants” available in the United Kingdom).
Motorists too have a significant impact on environmental efficiency. On this basis, a smartphone application provides real-time, graphical, feedback to ensure Project M meets its potential.
Project M has “potential”, Shell concludes
Dr. Andrew Hepher, Vice President of Shell’s Lubricant Research Team said: “Our car may be small, but it’s packed with potential.”
“We want to accelerate the conversation about how we make road vehicles more energy efficient and less carbon intensive. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to sharing our research insights from this project with engine designers, car manufacturers, academics and other experts across the automotive sector.”