iStream in flow
A design revolution gathers pace and plaudits, writes Neil Dowling
SLAMMING an electric microcar into a wall could end in more than bruises and tears. But Gordon Murray Design’s T.27 future city car did the 40 per cent offset barrier test at 64km/h and reported no cab intrusion.
It was the first crash test of a vehicle built with GMD’s innovative iStream manufacturing technology.
The iStream composite monocoque — applied in the T.27’s three-seat central driver layout — uses lightweight Formula One technology for better energy absorption rates than conventional cars.
GMD engineering director Frank Coppuck says: ‘‘It clearly demonstrates that cars built using iStream technology can achieve low weight, cost and significant reductions in energy usage during manufacturing without compromising safety.’’
The development of the T.27, by GMD and Zytek Automotive Ltd, has been made possible through an $ 8 million investment from the British Government-backed Technology Strategy Board.
The consortium expects to have running prototypes by the middle of this year.
The total cost of the project is about $15 million.
Gordon Murray Design Ltd is based in Surrey, England, and aims to be the world leader in automotive design.
It has a complete in-house capability for design, prototyping and development.
Its simplified iStream assembly process is dubbed by the company as potentially the biggest revolution in high volume manufacture since the Model T Ford.
It allows the manufacturing plant to be about 20 per cent of the size and up to 80 per cent cheaper in capital costs compared with a conventional factory.
Yet the flexibility of the assembly process mean that the same factory can be used to make variants.
iStream won the Idea of the Year award from Autocar 2008 and the first Innovation Award from UK trade association SMMT.
The T.25 also won Most Economic Small Passenger ICE Vehicle and Most Economic and Environment Friendly Small Passenger ICE Vehicle in last year’s Brighton to London Future Car Challenge.
Integrity intact: The first crash test of Gordon Murray Design’s T.27 is passed with flying colours.