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Gordon Murray ‘does a Tesla’ with Teewave AR.1

Time for T: The GMD-developed Teewave AR.1 electric sportscar takes 11.4 seconds to reach 100km/h from rest.

Carbon-fibre electric sportscar weighs just 850kg – but iMiEV motor no Tesla-beater

26 Sep 2011

GORDON Murray Design (GMD) has produced a fully functional ultra-light two-seater electric sportscar prototype on commission from Japanese chemical firm and carbon-fibre specialist Toray.

Remarkably, the 3975mm long, 1765mm wide Teewave AR.1 roadster’s 850kg weight includes a 240kg, 16kWh lithium-ion battery pack that can be fully charged in six hours and provides a claimed 186km range.

The one-off Teewave is some 400kg lighter than the conceptually similar Tesla Roadster, but it is no firecracker, completing the sprint from rest to 100km/h in a comparatively leisurely 11.4 seconds on the way to a 147km/h maximum speed.

Its mid-mounted 47kW electric motor – seemingly borrowed from a Mitsubishi iMiEV but with bespoke “architecture and control units” – provides the rear wheels with maximum torque of 180Nm from zero revs.

The result is what GMD quotes as “lively” 0-50km/h acceleration in 4.4 seconds, although that is still half a second more than the Tesla takes to reach twice that speed.

However, the Teewave’s CO2 emissions are a low 31.4 grams per kilometre when measured using the Japan energy mix cycle.

Ex-Formula One and McLaren supercar designer Gordon Murray – who has recently been signed up by Lotus as an adviser – said the Teewave project “proves that performance through light weight is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to achieve power-to-weight targets”.

110 center imageThe car, which was exhibited at the Toray Advanced Materials Exhibition in Tokyo this month, is designed to incorporate Toray’s carbon-fibre component system, which has a claimed process time of less than 10 minutes.

Based around a carbon-fibre monocoque construction that GMD says can be adapted to other vehicle types, the Teewave has a front crash structure that is claimed to have performed well in computer simulations based on genuine Euro NCAP tests.

Ride and handling are said to be “excellent”, thanks to the low weight and centre of gravity plus all-round double-wishbone, coil-sprung suspension.

As would be expected from a design company led by Gordon Murray, the Teewave has an aerodynamic package including full-length undertray and ground effect diffuser.

GMD, which worked closely with Toray on the design, claims to have taken the project from “concept discussions to running vehicle” in just nine months, having met time and cost targets with a build quality to match GMD’s “exacting standards”.

In addition to the carbon-fibre used in the Teewave’s construction, Toray provided materials for interior surfaces such as the floor and luggage mats, seat and door trim fabric, and soft-touch coverings for the dashboard, instrument panel and door trim caps.

GMD also has a three-seat micro-car in development, which is far smaller than even a Smart ForTwo at 2500mm long, 1300mm wide and 1600mm high.

Two versions have been revealed, the 575kg three-cylinder petrol-powered T.25 and the 680kg all-electric T.27, the latter being hailed as the world’s most efficient electric car.

Both share an “immensely strong” F1-inspired tubular steel and composite floor chassis frame design with front and rear crash structures.

GMD’s unique ‘iStream’ manufacturing process, claimed to be the biggest revolution in high-volume vehicle manufacture since the Ford Model T, is said to be more energy-efficient, requires only 20 per cent of the space and reduces capital investment by 80 per cent compared with traditional assembly plants.

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