Legendary supercar designer Gordon Murray goes electric


Electrification is now considered inevitable at Gordon Murray Automotive, even though the latest supercar projects from the star engineer – who designed the McLaren F1 – feature high-revving V12 petrol engines.

Despite debuting a V12 engine capable of 12,100rpm in its new T.50 supercar, legendary supercar designer Gordon Murray’s engineering company in the UK is increasingly focused on a future electric.

Murray designed cars that won five Formula 1 world championships with the Brabham and McLaren teams, before designing the famous McLaren F1 road car – also winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car race – and then start his own automotive consultancy with a focus on manufacturing low-cost, low-volume cars.

Gordon Murray Automotive has already unveiled two million dollar supercars (the T.50 and T.33), announced plans for its first two SUV projects, as reported Conduct in June – and the company has now confirmed a broader focus on future propulsion choices.

He studies hybrids, electric vehicles and hydrogen fuel cell packs to generate electricity on board.

“Eventually we will all go electric,” Gordon Murray Group CEO Phillip Lee said in an interview with Top of the line review in the UK.

“I think that will be the end point and the reason for that is that the legislation will dictate where we all go.

“We have R&D [research and development] within Gordon Murray Technologies to explore different types of powertrains, up to hybridization, electrification, hydrogen, alternative fuels… we look at everything to see where the roadmap is.

Even so, Lee said the company is also working to ensure the thrill of driving isn’t lost in the transition to electric power.

“The philosophy of our brand and what we do is that we want people conduct our cars. We want to see them out and we want people to enjoy them. These are not museum pieces to sit there,” he said.

“We get a lot of customers asking ‘Where will the emotion come from, how am I going to feel it resonating through the car?’, which is absolutely true.

Lee said the company is already working on electrification and trying to “stay ahead” with any future power possibilities.

“There are ways to use the V12, to go hybrid or to use cleaner fuels, but the problem [with electrified powertrains] that’s if it’s a grand tourer [GT], and I want to jump in and just drive, where can I fill up? Lee said.

When announcing his electric SUV program, Gordon Murray confirmed that he would personally take control of vehicle development.

“People will reconsider what electric vehicles are capable of and I look forward to personally overseeing these fascinating projects,” Murray said.

Paul Governor

Paul Gover has been an automotive journalist for over 40 years, working for newspapers, magazines, websites, radio and television. A skilled generalist and sports journalist, his passion for cars has taken him to Wheels, Motor, Car Australia, Which Car and Auto Action magazines. He is a champion racing driver as well as a judge for World Car of the Year.

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