Shell unveils interesting new concept car

Cars in Australia have reached an admirable level of fuel efficiency. The industry has figured out how to make cars incredibly fuel efficient, so what's next? According to Shell, the next level is "ultra energy efficiency".

In an interesting turn of events, the global oil company seems to want you to spend less on running your car. Even more interesting is the design of the vehicle.

The three-seater may not go into production, so will be one of only a few cars you won't be able to get through a novated lease. However, it's proof that an automotive design method called co-engineering, whereby an oil manufacturer can play a part in streamlined car creation, could be a game-changer.

How do they do it?

Gordon Murray Designs worked with Shell on the project, after similar prototyping with the T.25 city car back in 2010. Similar to the previous project, the Shell Concept Car is micro-sized, in the same vein as the popular Smart car, which is in full production.

By dropping weight, car buyers who wish to be particularly frugal about fuel can sacrifice the car's size in return for substantial savings at the pumps. Gordon Murray Designs says that by working with Shell, the team was able to ensure "vehicle body, engine design and lubricants are all created together".

How fuel efficient is it?

"The Shell Concept Car would use around half the energy required to build and run than a typical small family car available … and 69 per cent less than that of a typical sports utility vehicle available," Gordon Murray Designs explained.

"The new car is the result of a co-engineering collaboration between world-leading vehicle, engine and lubricant designers, with each of the three elements of the vehicle tailored to work optimally with each other."

The car company also put a figure on exactly how efficient the Shell Concept Car is – 2.64 litres per 100 kilometres. To put that into context, the impressive-looking and reasonably fuel-efficient 2017 Subaru Impreza is expected to run at an applaudable 6.4 litres per 100 kilometres.

Meanwhile, the brilliant Audi A4 goes through around 6 litres for every 100 kilometres.

What are the drawbacks?

Well, if you like the extremely compact and bold design, not a lot. Apart from the fact that the car is unlikely to go on sale, there are similar micro cars on the market should one tickle your fancy. Not only can you spend less on fuel, you can bundle your costs with a novated lease, making them more affordable.

Ultimately, the Shell Concept Car might merely be a glimpse into the future of fuel-efficient driving – and it looks… interesting to say the least.