When the subject of small cars comes up, conversation invariably turns to safety at some point. On roads full of 5000-pound trucks and SUVs, many people can understandably feel a little intimidated driving anything smaller than a midsize sedan.
Gordon Murray Design has now conducted a crash test on the minute T.27 micro-car, constructed using Gordon Murray's revolutionary iStream manufacturing technology. The T.27 is under 100 inches long and weighs 1500 pounds. It'd take a lot of convincing to reassure people that a car that small can still be safe.
It's an attitude that fellow small-car company Smart have been trying hard to turn around. At 8 feet 10 inches and 1800 pounds, many people expect the tiny ForTwo to disintegrate in an accident. In reality, its special design and 'Tridion' safety cell are designed to utilise the crash structure of other cars and send impacts around the driver.
The aim of iStream is to reduce the cost and weight of producing a vehicle yet offer increases in safety. The T.27 was crash tested using the European Economic Community (EEC)'s mandatory 40 percent offset crash into a deformable metal barrier. The car suffered zero cabin intrusion thanks to "Formula One style" unibody construction technology.
Director of Engineering at Gordon Murray Design, Frank Coppuck, said: "This crash test... clearly demonstrates that cars build using iStream technology can achieve low weight, cost and significant reductions in energy usage during manufacturing without compromising safety."
Gordon Murray Design will be licencing the iStream technology along with several different city car designs to consortiums around the world. Customers as diverse as Apple, Virgin and Sony have been suggested as potential T.25 and T.27 producers.
The T.27 itself is an electric version of the T.25, with a drivetrain developed in conjunction with Zytek, who also helped develop the Smart Electric Drive. Range is expected to be around 100 miles, and like the T.25, features a central driving position, inspired by Murray's better-known work, the 1992 McLaren F1 supercar.
Would you drive something so small? Tell us in the comments section below.