Toray used Gordon Murray Design Ltd. of the U.K. (CEO: Gordon Murray, former F1 designer) for the vehicle's body and structural design as well as manufacture, and its specifications enable it to be registered for running on public roads.
Development of the concept vehicle is precisely a step towards realizing the fundamental strategy of the medium-term management program. Toray is determined to continue pursuing dynamic expansion of the advanced materials business on growing markets in an effort to achieve its management philosophy of "Contributing to society through the creation of new value with innovative ideas, technologies and products".
TEEWAVE's goal is to offer concepts that are enabled by Toray's advanced materials and technologies and attractive to one and all. More specifically, it embodies (1) “an environment-friendly light-weight electric vehicle with low CO2 emissions from an life cycle assessment (LCA) perspective” for the global environment, (2) “a compact car with high crash safety features that is also economical from the life cycle cost (LCC) perspective” for the user, and (3) “a high productivity vehicle through the use of thermoplastics resin, integral parts and alternative painting technologies” for the automobile industry. For the concept vehicle, Toray optimized the parts so as to maximize the features of the various materials. For the vehicle's basic structure, it adopted resin transfer molding (RTM) monocoque made of thermosetting CFRP and CFRP shock absorbers to achieve superior stiffness as well as crash safety.
At the same time, it adopted thermoplastic CFRP, which can be high-cycle molded in about one minute, for the bonnet hatch and roof. Toray also incorporated cutting-edge materials and technologies for the interior, including Ultrasuede*, an artificial fabric made using recycled polyester fibers, various biomass fibers, and foam, as well as alternative painting technologies such as Picasus*, a metallic-luster film and film decorating techniques.
Furthermore, by using CFRP monocoques, Toray was able to achieve lightweight, high stiffness body and superior crash safety even for a two-seater open car, and the basic design provides the added benefit of easy migration to other models. To test the ability of the concept vehicle, the TEEWAVE team calculated the performance of a four-seater vehicle based on the two-seater open car model developed this time and compared that against a commercially available electric vehicle made of existing materials and structure. The result revealed that, when mileage per charge of the both vehicles is set at a certain distance, the newly developed concept vehicle achieves weight saving of about one thirds from 1,520 kg to 975 kg compared with the existing electric vehicle and CO2 emissions were reduced by about 9% to 13.6 t from 14.9 t.
In addition, the CFRP energy absorber absorbs about 2.5 times the energy, giving the vehicle significantly high crash safety. Moving forward, Toray shall further deepen the knowledge acquired in the process of developing TEEWAVE to accelerate the technological development related to materials, molding and designing in the automotive field and firmly drive forward joint development projects with automobile manufacturers and parts manufacturers.