At the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, Yamaha revealed its new Sports Ride Concept, which features Gordon Murray Design’s iStream® Carbon chassis. Murray says it is the world’s first affordable high volume carbon fiber chassis. Some automotive news outlets, such as egmCarTech, believe the iStream could revolutionize the way automakers make cars.
According to the company, iStream Carbon has been in development for the past two years and it is similar to its current manufacturing process but it replaces glass fiber with carbon fiber. Unlike other manufacturing processes, the iStream Carbon is a fully mechanized procedure with a cycle time of just 100 seconds. Gordon Murray’s technique utilizes a honeycomb structure sandwiched between two carbon fiber sheets – a procedure that’s fast and cheap, but just as efficient as the more expensive ones. This process allows sub-premium models to be made efficiency at volumes ranging from 1,000 to 350,000 units per year.
Most CFRP chassis constructions in the automotive market are reserved for high-end vehicles and exotic cars, so Gordon Murray’s new design could represent a major breakthrough for the mainstream market.
In a press release from the company, it says the new chassis system offers manufacturers a variety of benefits, including:
- A lightweight chassis system without the cost increases associated with all current light weighting technologies.
- A large reduction in capital investment.
- A significant reduction in manufacturing energy.
- New levels of product flexibility from a single platform.
- New levels of chassis rigidity and durability and corrosion resistance.
- New levels of safety.
“Light weighting is the final frontier in the automotive industry fight to lower emissions,” said Murray. “A step change in vehicle weight to enable downsizing of powertrain and components is all we have left in the armory. Light weighting is important for internal combustion engined cars, but even more important for hybrids and electric vehicles.”