The last time he started with a blank sheet of paper, Gordon Murray created the McLaren F1, so you might be expecting (or hoping) that the phrase ‘Gordon Murray designed sportscar’ would preface a clever new challenger to Ferrari’s 458 Italia. Unfortunately not, but don’t lose hope just yet, for this new Teewave AR.1 sportscar is certainly designed to be fun.
Designed together with Toray Industries Inc, the AR.1 is the result of a commission from Toray for Gordon Murray Design to design, tool and build a fully functioning prototype vehicle which utilises many of Toray’s advanced automotive materials.
The 2-seater sports car is designed to use the Toray carbon fibre component system with a process time of less than 10 minutes. A carbon monocoque, one of the key technologies of Teewave, can be applied to any type of vehicle and not just 2-seater sports cars.
The entire programme from concept discussions to running vehicle took just 9 months and uses the powertrain from an existing commercial electric vehicle (thought to be Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV), whilst the unique electrical architecture and control units used in the AR.1 were developed from scratch by Gordon Murray Design.
As you would expect of Murray, a great deal of attention has been given to achieving low weight, with a low centre of gravity and suspension geometry providing an excellent ride and handling balance. The AR.1 weighs just 850kg (including the 240kg battery) putting the car firmly in Lotus Elise territory and some 400kg lighter than a Tesla.
Ultimate performance is limited by an output figure of 63bhp (47kw) but a torque of 133lb-ft (180 Nm) available from a standstill is said to provide lively acceleration.
Murray said, “It has been a pleasure to work with Toray Industries’ team on this challenging project. The resultant vehicle weight of just 850Kg achieved using Toray’s carbon fibre once again proves that performance through light weight is the most efficient and environmentally friendly way to achieve power to weight targets.”
All the performance targets for the project were met by the team, but they’re unlikely to generate much praise at the moment whilst such a modest powerplant is used. Let’s hope it eventually receives the kind of power to embarrass a Tesla in more than just its performance on the scales.
|0 – 31 mph||4.4 seconds|
|0-62 mph:||11.4 seconds|
|Top speed:||92 mph|
|Range (NEDC Cycle)||116 miles|
|Charging Time||6 hours|
|Emissions NEDC Cycle||31.4 gms per Km (on Japan energy mix)|