• The Motiv

McLaren F1 Designer's Latest is an Autonomous Single-Seat Electric Pod

The Motiv has the potential to transform future mobility.

Evan Williams By: Evan Williams February 10, 2020

Former Formula 1 car and hypercar designer Gordon Murray’s Gordon Murray Design has just revealed a design for a new autonomous city car. The Motiv is a single-seater pod that the company says could reduce congestion and emissions in city centres.

The Motiv will appear at the Move 2020 show in London this week, and it’s a design that’s been partly funded by the UK government and its efforts to accelerate the market transition to zero-emissions vehicles. So how does it reduce congestion and emissions? By being tiny and electrically powered.

Since it needs to seat just one, and doesn’t have to hold an internal combustion engine, the Motiv is small. Just 1,310 mm wide and 2,537 mm long, it’s a little narrower and a little longer than the original Smart ForTwo. If you’re thinking that there are already single-seater gas cars smaller than this one, like the Peel P50, there’s a reason this one won’t fit in a building elevator: It was designed to meet real car crash safety requirements.

Using GMD’s iStream Superlight technology, it’s expected to tip the scales at less than 450 kg, or 1,000 lbs, not counting the batteries. That’s thanks to an aluminum chassis, composite panels, and an aluminum suspension. The tiny curb weight means that it can be registered as a quadricycle, though it does meet car safety regs.

The Motiv

The Motiv

A 20kW (27 hp) electric motor and a 17.3 kWh battery are enough for a 100 km range, the company says, with a top speed of 65 km/h. The gull-wing door helps allow for tighter parking and easier access, but it also allows for maximum cargo space use. GMD says that while it’s designed as a single-seater, the flexible platform can hold up to 1,100 L of cargo volume, support wheelchair use, or hold more passengers. It’s also meant for easy conversion to Mobility as a Service, adding autonomous drive technology to make it truly a transportation pod. The interior offers easy access, comfort, and a place to use your laptop.

“Motiv has the potential to transform future mobility. The best way to make any vehicle commercially viable and cost-effective, while delivering first-class efficiency, is to make it as light as it can be while retaining the highest levels of safety,” said Murray. “With Motiv we have used our iStream technologies to create an ultra-lightweight body structure that delivers a vehicle that is compact, refined, safe and versatile, while remaining capable of significant range.”

Gordon Murray Design says that the car could be ready for mass production “within two to five years” of the end of its autonomous vehicle final development stage. The company says it aims to partner with multiple AV tech providers for that stage.