Toray Industries, a Japanese chemical company, commissioned Gordon Murray Designs to use its carbon fiber technology to build an electric car. The concept Teewave AR.1 was completed in just nine months.
Wayne CunninghamManaging Editor / Roadshow
Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET's Roadshow. Prior to the automotive beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine.
Creating a new car can take years of development, but Gordon Murray Design put together a running prototype electric sports car in just nine months. The Teewave AR.1 was commissioned by Toray Industries to show off its carbon fiber production.
Toray says that its process can make carbon fiber components in just 10 minutes. The Teewave AR.1 uses Toray carbon fiber for its chassis, crash structures, body, and interior. Other Toray materials make up interior surfaces and components of the car.
Those light carbon fiber elements make the overall weight of the Teewave AR.1 just 1,874 pounds. The lithium ion battery pack for the car makes up 530 pounds of that weight.
Gordon Murray Design did not specify the supplier of the electric power train, but its specifications are fairly standard for new electric cars hitting the market. Range is listed as 116 miles using the New European Driving Cycle test procedure, and charging time is 6 hours.
The Teewave AR.1 does not push the boundaries of electric car performance. Its electric motor, driving the rear wheels, only produces 63 horsepower and 132 pound-feet of torque. That means acceleration of 11.4 seconds to 62 mph.
You won't be able to buy a Teewave AR.1 anytime soon. The car will be used by Toray to demonstrate its carbon fiber capabilities. But Toray says its carbon fiber components will scale from a car as small as the Teewave AR.1 to any other size of vehicle.
What this concept also demonstrates is how quickly a new car can, from sketches to a working prototype, can be built. Components such as the electric drive train and suspension are modular, while the carbon fiber can be formed from molds rather than the more time-consuming stamping process for steel, which involves more tooling.