Pioneer F1 car designer reveals plan for electric pivot

By Sayujya S, Desk Reporter
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Gordon Murray is of the opinion that "electric is what we've been missing and that's where the future is."

UK-based supercar maker the Gordon Murray Group said it plans a $420 million expansion over the next 5 years, which includes developing electric SUVs and delivery vehicles for carmakers as it shifts towards an all-electric supercar by 2030.

Gordon Murray, who founded the company, gave the world the McLaren F1 in the 1990s, and multiple race-winning Formula One race cars before that. His automotive company designed the model T. 50, a three-seat supercar, which is often referred to as the spiritual successor to the F1. He recently sold his F1, along with all of its original engineering drawings.

Electric shift

“Electric is what we’ve been missing and that’s where the future is,” the Formula One design great said.

The company will produce its first supercar, the T50, with a powerful V12 engine, in 2022. The carmaker will make 100 of them next year, selling for around 2.4 million million each. They are already sold out.

The company will launch one more fossil-fuel supercar after the T50, followed by a hybrid model around 2026 and then a fully-electric supercar in 2029 or 2030.

The challenge for premium car firms like McLaren and Lotus, part-owned by Chinese company Geely, is that batteries are very heavy, making it hard to develop sports cars or supercars that perform like their fossil-fuel equivalents.

Mr. Murray described the supercar as a “brand building” product at the upper end of his business “while at the customer-facing end we’ll focus on light weighting and electric cars.”

More than just an carmaker

The company does not just see itself as a carmaker, but as an auto supplier. It has been working on designs for a lightweight SUV and a delivery van, which it aims to sell to traditional manufacturers or startups.

Over the next two and a half years the carmaker will develop a small test fleet of these vehicles to international standards. “We’re hoping to pick up a customer or two along the way,” Mr. Murray said. “And it doesn’t have to be a carmaker, it can be a post office, or a company like Amazon.”

Related: Mercedes-Benz gives a sneak peak into its sleek new electric van