Gordon Murray Design has unveiled the iStream Superlight® automotive body-in-white (BIW) structure, which combines a high-strength aluminum frame with advanced carbon fibre composite panels. The design aims to bring Formula One-derived construction and technologies to mainstream car production. The lightweight structure delivers up to 50% weight reduction compared with a standard stamped-metal body and offers greater safety, lower emissions, improved handling, and enhanced durability.
The Superlight employs a simple high-strength, lightweight aluminum thin-wall tubular frame, which provides a high degree of flexibility in optimizing section shapes to ensure structural efficiency. The frame, which uses high recycled content aluminum alloys, carried all the hard points (i.e., suspension, steering etc.). The use of aluminum in frame is said to deliver a cost neutral BIW when compared to stamped steel
The structure utlizes cold metal transfer welding to reduce distortion and manufacturing time. By combining the aluminum frame with honeycomb recycled carbon-composite chassis panels, the BIW is able to achieve more efficient frame stiffness and to exceed the corrosion resistant properties of coated steel. It also provides new levels of platform flexibility, due to the modular nature of the iStream Superlight chassis. The core platform can be adapted to suit every segment of vehicle from sports cars and ultra-efficient electric city cars to SUVs and light commercial vehicles. This adaptable formula ensures cost-effectiveness for manufacturers by avoiding the need for high capital investment and individual chassis designs for each model variant.
“The new iStream Superlight approach to vehicle manufacturing is a paradigm-shifting innovation for the global automotive industry,” said Prof. Gordon Murray, “It is a breakthrough that will deliver the lightest chassis technology for decades to come. The Gordon Murray Design team has created a unique, adaptable and cost-effective way for manufacturers around the world to dramatically improve vehicle performance and efficiency.”
The new Superlight structure is the output of a collaborative research project part-funded by the Innovate UK framework. Led by Gordon Murray Design, the consortium includes Bentley Motor Company, Brunel University London, Constellium, and Innoval Technology.
Gordon Murray Automotive (GMA), a sister company to Gordon Murray Design, was launched in November 2017. The company will produce low-volume cars based on a version of Gordon Murray Design’s iStream production system. In addition, GMA will license iStream technology and other automotive platforms, such as the T.43 sports car. Using the iStream Superlight structure, the T.43 car will be an everyday usable coupe with exceptional performance capabilities, lightweight, torsional stiffness, and durability.