One of the highlights of the Tokyo Motor Show last month was the world debut of the TEEWAVE AR.1 Electric sports car. Commissioned by advanced materials manufacturer Toray and designed and built by Gordon Murray Design, my original story last October covered the design and Murray's iStream® manufacturing system, but at Tokyo I was able to see the AR.1 in fine detail (see image library).

Yesterday Murray and Toray announced a technological partnership in the use of carbon fibre and other advanced materials in volume production, the development of structural thermoplastics and advanced crash structures. The two leading edge companies believe that in working together, they can deliver significant benefits in the areas of light-weighting, efficiency, cost, safety and sustainability.

The aim is to work together on several key areas, covering; further development of Gordon Murray Design's iStream® manufacturing system, joint research and development of materials and processes and exploring further opportunities for TORAY's materials in the automotive sector.

TORAY specified that one of the targets for the partnership is to pursue the concept of a hybrid chassis structure, having light weight, advanced safety and high cost-efficiency characteristics, not only through the use of the iStream® architecture but also through other forms of hybrid structures."

Murray's iStream® assembly process is a complete rethink of the current automotive manufacturing process and is claimed by some to be potentially the biggest revolution in high volume manufacture since the Model T.

Development of the process began over 15 years ago and it has already won the prestigious 'Idea of the Year' award from Autocar which was given privileged access in order to make their assessment.

The simplified assembly process means that the manufacturing plant can be designed to be 20% of the size of a conventional factory. This could reduce capital investment in the assembly plant by approximately 80%. Yet the flexibility of this assembly process means that the same factory could be used to manufacture different variants.

The iStream® design process is a complete re-think on high volume materials, as well as the manufacturing process and will lead to a significant reduction in full lifecycle CO2.