When it comes to designing cars, Gordon Murray has few peers.
The 65-year-old South African is a legendary Formula One racing engineer, who spent 20 years creating championship-winning cars for several teams. He topped that feat by going on to design one of the fastest—and loveliest—super sports cars ever made, the McLaren F1. Next, Murray designed the Mercedes SLR McLaren, another super sports car renowned for its beauty and power. The common challenge linking them all was devising ways to reduce their weight to increase their performance.
But as tough as those challenges were, Murray now says that none was as difficult as finding a way to bring weight-reduction Formula 1, or F1, technologies to everyday motoring at an affordable cost.
Nevertheless, Murray, now chief executive officer of his five-year-old startup, Gordon Murray Design, located in a leafy suburb just west of London, claims he has cracked that quandary. He's developed—and is hoping to license—a radical new way to mass-manufacture cars, including electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids, that reduces production emissions by 60 percent. Murray's iStream technology, based on lightweight composites, would shrink the size of a standard, high-volume auto plant by 80 percent and reduce the amount of needed capital investment by a like amount. "This is very disruptive technology," Murray says.