The ultimate city car

The car's body is made with recycled carbon fibre. This helps to reduce its overall weight to 550 kilogrammes on an empty tank, while cutting the energy used in manufacturing by as much 45% compared to similar-sized models.

Formula One fans will recognise the tiny digital cameras that replace wing mirrors, relaying a view of the road to small screens on the dashboard. By removing the mirrors the project team has made the car more streamlined, reducing drag and improving its energy efficiency.

The most significant innovation may also be the least visible: the small 660cc engine in the back. Geo Technology applied an innovative coating to engine components - made with diamond-like carbon - and Shell created a bespoke engine oil, based on technology used in Shell's Helix Ultra with PurePlus lubricant, which was designed to keep it running as smoothly as possible.

"The lower weight and the aerodynamic improvement has been a significant factor in increasing the efficiency. But the engine lubricant collaboration between Shell and Geo Technologies has too," said Matt Brewerton, the lead project design engineer at GMD.

The little car has a top speed of 110 kilometres per hour (km/h) - more than enough for a day trip away from the city -and performs best at 50-70km/h. Sample test results include a steady state consumption of 107 miles per gallon [2.64Litres per 100km] [38km/Litres] [89.1 miles per gallon US] at 70kmph/45mph and an improvement of 4.67g CO2/km on the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) from the use of bespoke lubricants, equivalent to a 5% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to standard lubricants available in the UK.

For now, this ultra-light concept car is a unique example of what a combustion engine and manufacturing technology can achieve.

"Our car may be small, but it's packed with potential," Dr. Andrew Hepher, Vice President of Shell's lubricant research team, noted. "We want to accelerate the conversation about how we make road vehicles more energy efficient and less carbon-intensive. In the coming weeks and months, we look forward to sharing our research insights from this project with engine designers, car manufacturers, academics and other experts across the automotive sector."

* Read all about the creation of the Shell concept car