iStream in flow

A de­sign revo­lu­tion gath­ers pace and plau­dits, writes Neil Dowl­ing

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

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.

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