Gordon Murray Design claims that new chassis frame technology cuts vehicle weight in half

“IStream Superlight” is the latest version of motorsport legend Gordon Murray’s automotive manufacturing system, and is claimed to be applicable to every vehicle segment from small city cars to heavy goods vehicles

Based around using a tubular metal frame to support body panels, the iStream system was developed by former Formula One and sports car designer Prof Gordon Murray as a method for reducing costs in automotive manufacturing, while also minimising vehicle weight.

Originally, the system used thin-wall, high-strength steel tubing, as this was the preferred material for many car manufacturers, but Murray’s company, Gordon Murray Design (GMD) has now unveiled an updated version of iStream using aluminium thin-wall tubing and honeycomb recycled carbon-composite panels in place of stamped metal.

This new version of the process is claimed to deliver a vehicle only half the weight of a standard metal vehicle of the same class and size, while achieving new levels of rigidity and durability and also maximising the flexibility of the production platform for manufacturers.

Istream Superlight
GMD’sd iStream Superlight design and production system offers several advantages over conventional stamped-steel systems

Along with IStream Superlight, GMD has also launched a lightweight seat, using the same materials, techniques and technologies as the IStream chassis. Incorporating glass or recycled carbon-fibre composite on a tubular frame, the IStream lightweight seat is claimed to be 30% lighter than a typical car seat, and can be designed to suit all types of passenger vehicles, including aerospace and rail.

Istream Superlight
The iStream seat is also suitable for trains and airliners

Among the advantages of IStream Superlight claimed by GMD are better corrosion resistant properties than coated steel and more efficient frame stiffness for the aluminium section through the use of the carbon panels, all at no extra cost for the body-in-white compared with conventional stamped steel construction.

“The new iStream Superlight approach to vehicle manufacturing is a paradigm-shifting innovation for the global automotive industry. It is a breakthrough that will deliver the lightest chassis technology for decades to come,” Prof Murray said.

iStream Superlight is a shortlisted finalist in The Engineer’s 2018 Collaborate To Innovate Awards. The winners of this annual competition will be unveiled on 6th November.