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Shell says its gasoline and diesel energy solutions will continue to play a key role in vehicle propulsion for "a very long time," with a rapidly increasing global population driving ever-more efficient ways of mobility.

The world's energy needs are predicted to double by 2050 – a statistic which has led Shell to collaborate with Gordon Murray Design and engine specialists Geo Technology on their 'Project M' to produce a concept city car aimed at slashing fuel consumption.

"There will be wide range of [energy solutions], of which the internal combustion engine will be a part, whether it is fuel cells or plug-in hybrids [for example]," Shell Lubricants Innovation Technology manager, Bob Mainwaring told just-auto at its technology centre in Hamburg.

"Gasoline and diesel fuels will be part of the energy mix for a very long time. [Electric cars] can reduce the energy you use, but that does not come for free. Society cannot ignore the implications of it."

Shell says it is investing more into innovation than any other energy company worldwide, while the lubricants chief was also keen to stress the collaborative nature of Project M with its partners, with its relationship with Gordon Murray for example having started in 2010.

"What I hope shines out is collaboration," added Mainwaring. "Our mission here is to design a vehicle that is exceptionally fuel efficient and reduce the amount of energy needed to transport people around cities.

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By GlobalData

"Lubricant is an important part of the overall design. What would happen if you linked lubricant, transmission, engines and vehicle design and considered it as one lump?”

The fruit of Project M – a concept car known as T25S and itself a derivative of the T25 model – will be a double digit drag reduction aimed at meeting the huge demands being placed on energy consumption with a massively increasing global population.

Global population growth is expected to see 9bn people living on the planet by 2050 – up from the current 7bn and with the majority of these – 6bn – migrating to cities it is clear energy providers and carmakers need to urgently address efficiency.

“With a high standard of living goes increased energy demand,” added Mainwaring. “Energy demand seems set to double by 2050 [while it is] harder and harder to extract [oil/gas] and CO2 constraints.

“Every individual in their lives requires about 125kw of energy per day to run their lives. In the Western world around 35% of our our personal energy usage is linked to transport.

“With a vehicle, there is a need to reduce energy demand and improve efficiency of engine delivery. If you couple those two things together, you minimise the use of energy in transport. That is behind Project M.

The Project uses the iStream concept to include lightweighting to allow powertrain and component downsizing, reduce emissions, improve chassis rigidity and employ advanced materials.