Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Istream Auto Design

Another auto design effort. We certainly are at a point in which it may be possible to build a vehicle that is weighing in at around 500 kilos and able to carry a 300 to 500 kilo payload efficiently while retaining required handling and robustness.

Robustness has been the problem.  It is not possible to cut weight and sacrifice strength in an automobile.  In fact it is necessary to go the other way.

Here the use of the monocoque alleviates that issue.

The other lesson here is that auto manufacturing is now facing a sharp drop in capital costs for manufacturing runs opening the door to even more competition and designs.

These types of designs are well suited for China and India and massive production runs will make these cars very inexpensive.  The Tata turns out to be a forerunner.

More important, this design package as well as the GM – Sedgeway designs I commented on last month are ideal for early conversion EV configuration were urban range is normally short.

It is completely plausible for a family to own a conventional touring car and as many of these as are actually needed for urban work.  The fact that they can be parked at least two to a parking space makes it all practical.

The weight payload ratio goes from a typical 15/1 to at least 5/1 and with passengers down to 2/1.  It can get better than that because the touring car can be diverted solely to distance travel which is its optimal use.  In that case its typical annual mileage would drop to say 5000 from a typical 15000 extending the life of that vehicle.  It may turn out that such a combination will provide a long term capital saving as well as a major cash flow improvement.

Also watch the videos to understand the Istream concept.

SEPTEMBER 20, 2010

Its compact size will allow ‘2’ T.25’s to travel in one UK motorway lane. Trebling the capacity and reducing congestion. 

‘3’ T.25’s can easily fit into ‘1’ standard UK parallel parking space, trebling much needed urban parking, reducing pressures for inner cities as well as the disruption to traffic flow. 

* ultra lightweight by design (approximately 550kg)

* Will still achieve the highest safety standards (at least 4* Euro NCAP).

* has a top speed of almost 100mph and is expected to cost about £6,000 ($9,000).

* there is a T27 electric car with a similar form factor.

* The 30 staff members are secretly developing a number of different vehicles based on the T.25 manufacturing principles. A five-seater, an eight-seater, a bus, or a two-seater. 

IStream Factory

Prof Murray has come up with a way of producing cars that does away with the most polluting parts used in conventional factories - such as large stamping presses to make steel body parts, welding robots or paint shops.

"We dig very little steel out of the ground. We use a tiny bit - about 35 euros ($45; £29) worth per car - of low energy mild steel, which is a very low energy process. It's about 60kg of steel in a T.25. That's it." The manufacturing method, called iStream, is incredibly flexible. Modifying the size of the frame or the shape and colour of the body panels can be done simply by rewriting the software, so on the same production line you can have "any body you like, on the same day", he explains.

And by simply changing the shape of the monocoque, a manufacturer can slot in pretty much any engine, whether a conventional one using petrol or diesel or an electric motor powered by batteries or hydrogen fuel cells.

Replacing metal presses with machines for bending, welding and the simplified assembly process means that the manufacturing plant can be designed to be 20% the size of a conventional factory. This could reduce capital investment in the assembly plant by approximately 80%.

* Associated energy savings will significantly reduce operating expense. Simultaneous reductions in greenhouse gas emissions will make compliance with existing and future environmental regulations much easier e.g. reduced requirement to offset emissions via trading schemes and potentially even the sale of surplus credits.

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