By Drew Johnson
Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 @ 9:56 am
 
Gordon Murray - the ex-Formula One designer best known for creating the McLaren F1 super car - says he has formulated a revolutionary production method that will allow automakers to produce small cars more profitably. Murray discovered the new production process while developing his T.25 city car.

Producing small cars profitably has long been a trouble spot for the world's automakers, with the actual cost of building a city car not far off from producing higher-end vehicles. However, Murray says he has discovered a new production method that could drastically reduce the costs associated with building small cars like his $11,000 T.25.

"Essentially, we've been making motorcars the same way since the Model T, and that model is breaking down," Murray told Bloomberg. "I want to bring Formula One technology to the everyday motorist, with all its advantages."

Dubbed iStream, the designer's system builds city cars in a two-step process rather than the five-step industry norm. Thanks to the use of composites and body panels made from recycled plastic bottles, the iStream system does not require steel stamping, welding or rustproofing.

As the result of nixing those three steps, Murray says an iStream plant capable of producing 100,000 cars per year can be build for 85 percent less than a conventional factory. Moreover, the smaller footprint of the iStream plant means that annual energy consumption would be slashed by 60 percent.

Murray notes that the iStream system reduces the cost of entry to build a small car to the point where companies like Wal-Mart and Apple could simply jump into the car building business.

No word if any companies are actually interested in Murray's iStream production process, but the proposed cost savings are likely attracting a few eyes.