A Gordon Murray Design-led consortium, which includes the likes of Delta Motorsport and itMoves, unveiled a new single-seater autonomous pod car at last week’s MOVE 2020 event in London where the future of mobility was on show for all to see.
Part-funded by the UK Government
The Motiv vehicle, which has been developed for adaptation to driverless use with any form of autonomous technology – the first of its kind to offer this high of a level of integration simplicity – is believed to have the potential to have a lasting impact on the world of personal transportation. It is also said to have “significant cost savings and improved refinement” over similar concepts, thanks to Murray’s patented iStream Superlight construction process.
The Motiv vehicle was part-funded through the UK Government’s ‘IDP14’ programme, an initiative with the mission of accelerating the transition to zero-emission vehicles. To date, £2,533,666 in government funding has been provided, making up a majority chunk of the £3,993,806 total project spend.
The MOTIV autonomous vehicle was partly sponsored by the UK government’s IDP14 programme, Gordon Murray Design and partners, Delta Motorsport and itMoves. Image Credit: Gordon Murray Design.
The iStream Superlight Construction Process
Based on Gordon Murray Design’s iStream Superlight technology, the Motiv pod is made from ultra-lightweight high strength extruded aluminium in the chassis, composite panels, and door. This helps keep the vehicle’s total weight below 450kg not including the weight of any batteries, allowing it official quadricycle status. The vehicle’s compact dimensions measure in at 1.6 metres in height, 2.5 metres in length, and 1.3 metres in width. It is also fully compliant with passenger car crash safety requirements.
According to Gordon Murray Design, iStream is a “radical cradle-to-grave rethink on the automotive manufacturing process that uses known technologies.” Some of iStream’s benefits include cost-effective flexibility which enables a single production line to assemble, automatic compliance with Euro NCAP regulations, and guaranteed delivery of at least a 40% reduction in carbon emissions over its entire lifecycle.
The construction process also reduces the reliance on raw materials when compared to conventional automotive manufacturing, allowing vehicles like the Motiv to use smaller battery packs and making them more efficient at every step of the design process and beyond.
Delta Motorsport and itMoves Project Involvement
The project could not have succeeded if it were not for other members of the consortium. Silverstone-based Delta Motorsport was responsible for developing the powertrain, which incorporates a 20kW electric motor and a 17.3kWh liquid-cooled battery pack for a range of about 62 miles, a 0-39mph acceleration time of 7.5sec and a top speed of 40mph.
On a full charge, the battery offers 2.5 hours of continuous running time and can be charged in around 40 minutes from 20–80% capacity. Delta Motorsport’s ‘drive-by-wire’ dedicated vehicle control architecture is used to operate the steering, propulsion, and braking.
As for itMoves, they were responsible for the Motiv’s vision – the concept, design, strategy, usability, and visible image.
The MOTIV vehicle was engineered for passengers in crowded urban environments who typically choose to travel in combustion-engined vehicles that contribute to carbon emissions. Image Credit: Gordon Murray Design.
The Future of Mobility is Lightweight
The Motiv concept is certainly interesting, and Gordon Murray Design believes that it will lead to the inception of the future of mobility – lightweight vehicles that are more sustainable and cost-effective by using fewer parts. Safety is not compromised either; the architecture and packaging options deliver compliance with current stringent regulations like Euro NCAP.
“In developing the MOTIV, we’ve demonstrated that the future of mobility is lightweight, battery-powered and private. The control systems integrated into the platform prove that electrified vehicles need not be heavy and cumbersome but can be... lightweight and energy saving. MOTIV’s ‘plug-and-play’ high-voltage system makes it a truly viable solution to the world of autonomous driving” said Delta’s Engineering Director Nick Carpenter.
Gordon Murray, chairman of Gordon Murray Design, said, “MOTIV has the potential to transform future mobility. The best way to make any vehicle commercially viable and cost-effective, while delivering first-class efficiency, is to make it as light as it can be while retaining the highest levels of safety. With MOTIV we have used our iStream technologies to create an ultra-lightweight body structure that delivers a vehicle that is compact, refined, safe and versatile, while remaining capable of significant range.”
The Gordon Murray Design-led consortium is presently looking to kick off pilot studies with autonomous technology providers.