Our T.27 programme has now been completed up to the running prototype stage and I must say that the little car is great fun to drive, it has all of the T.25's characteristics such as the all round visibility and the agility in traffic but much more instantaneous torque - in fact it is a little too quick away from the lights!
It has been a very rewarding experience to work with the Technology Strategy Board on this programme and to deliver the car on time and on budget. The next phase for T.27 (and T.25) is to sell the programmes to a manufacturing partner. We are currently talking to 3 potential buyers and the good news is that one of them is in the UK so watch this space!
Another exciting programme we finished in September was the design and build of an electric sports car for the Japanese materials giant 'Toray'. The T.32 is a roadster with a carbon monocoque chassis, body and crash structures. The project definition and concept was left largely up to our company as Toray's objective was to showcase their automotive materials. The car had to be fully engineered for production and FEA work conducted on the carbon crash structures backed up by live crash testing. This would typically be an 18 month programme so our team did a phenomenal job in completing the car in just 9 months. We enjoyed doing the interior and exterior styling, and we were please to hit our weight target of 850kg.
The last few months have been milestone months for our iStream manufacturing process. We have successfully completed both frontal and side impact tests with the T.27 city car. Both results showing zero intrusion into the occupant space - truly Formula One technology for the everyday motorist! The other test we have just completed is a durability test on the T.27 chassis (over stressing the chassis in torsion). We then tested a conventional spot welded steel car which failed on 2% of the cycles of our iStream chassis, indicating that the bonded structure may well live forever! After all the ultimate recycling is not to recycle but to re-use.
T.34 for example is a 'Flat Pack' iStream vehicle for rural areas in developing countries which has off-road capability and could make a huge difference to many peoples' lives through supplying mobility for rural communities.
Another project that I enjoyed was designing the Batmobile for the Batman Live Show. It was great fun letting the imagination run wild and coming up with the concept for the LED virtual wheels and the afterburner! The show itself was spectacular and pure entertainment - a must for all batman fans.
On a more serious note we are working with the TSB and ACAL on a new type of fuel cell and should the power unit be successful, we would love to get it into a running prototype.
We’re very excited to have entered the T.27, recently unveiled as The Worlds Most Efficient Electric Car, into the RAC Future Challenge on Saturday 5th November 2011. It’s the second year that the event has taken place and is the world’s leading low-energy driving challenge for Electric, Hybrid and Low-Emission ICE vehicles to use the lowest energy on a 60 mile route from Madeira Drive, Brighton to Pall Mall, Regent Street, London. In 2010 the T.25 won Most Economic Small Passenger ICE Vehicle and Most Economic and Environment Friendly Small Passenger ICE Vehicle and we hope to achieve more this year!
Finally, just to clear things up I am not leaving GMD for Lotus. I have accepted a position on their Advisory Council to help with future strategy. I have always been a Colin Chapman and Lotus fan and if I can, in some small way help with their future I feel I have closed a loop as Colin offered me a job several times in my Formula One years.
When I look at what the team here has achieved in only 4 years, I am immensely proud of our capabilities and what we are doing with iStream is certainly the most challenging and exciting thing I have done so far - including Formula One, Le Mans and The McLaren F1.