The Dewar Trophy, one of the most prestigious honours in the UK automotive industry, has been awarded to Gordon Murray Design for its development of iStream technology – a new process for the high volume manufacture of lightweight vehicles.
The trophy was presented to the company’s founder, Prof Gordon Murray, for his team’s development and application of the innovative chassis concept, including its use in the Global Vehicle Trust OX all-terrain vehicle – a cheap and durable flat-pack truck designed for the developing world. Prof Murray will be talking about the process later this month at The Engineer’s Collaborate To Innovate conference
An iStream-constructed chassis is at the heart of the OX, featuring steel tubes bonded together by plates. In more expensive vehicles, the plates would be carbon fibre but here they are ‘engineered plywood’, an incredibly strong and cheap material that helps contribute to the OX’s 1,900kg payload capacity.
The iStream process keeps costs as low as possible, too, requiring no steel pressing or expensive robot assembly; only simple jigs. Overall investment in factory and vehicle set-up is about five per cent of a conventional vehicle.
John Wood MBE, Chairman of the Dewar Technical Committee, said: “Gordon Murray Design’s iStream technique presents a completely new way of thinking about vehicle construction and manufacture. In developing the OX all-terrain vehicle, the versatility of the iStream process is clearly demonstrated, resulting in a strong, durable and extremely affordable structure. It’s a genuine innovation that could positively affect the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest areas.”
Receiving the Dewar Trophy, Gordon Murray, founder of Gordon Murray Design, said: “It’s a great honour to receive such a prestigious award on behalf of our company. I am extremely proud of what our team has achieved in industrialising iStream. Our mission has been to develop Formula One technology to a point where it is accessible to the everyday motorist and to enable affordable lightweighting and to introduce new levels of automotive durability and safety.”
Meanwhile, Riversimple’s Rasa hydrogen fuel cell vehicle was awarded the Simms medal, a prize established to recognise a genuine contribution to motoring innovation by individuals or small companies.
Riversimple’s production prototype delivers on its promise of efficiency and sustainability, with a range of 300 miles from just 1.5kg of hydrogen. Weighing only 580kg and with a carefully honed aerodynamic body, the vehicle returns the equivalent of 250mpg, zero tailpipe emissions and c.40g/km CO2 well-to-wheel.
The Dewar Trophy and Simms Medal are only awarded in years when the Royal Automobile Club’s Dewar Technical Committee deems there have been contenders of sufficient merit. Previous winners of the Dewar Trophy, which has a lineage dating back to 1906, include Rolls-Royce in 1907 for its 40.5hp engine; the British Motor Corporation and Alec Issigonis for the original Mini in 1959; McLaren in 2013 for the P1 hybrid supercar, and GKN Hybrid Power for their Gyrodrive flywheel technology.
Prof Gordon Murray will be presenting the iStream process at The Engineer’s Collaborate To Innovate conference, which will be held on November 17th at Coventry’s Manufacturing Technology centre.