13 January 2006
13 January 2006
The first model available in Connaught’s Type-D range, the GT Syracuse, uses a glass/polypropylene composite tub to contribute to the stiffness of the main chassis structure.
The brainchild of two ex-Jaguar consultant engineers, Tim Bishop and Tony Martindale, the Connaught Type-D has to date received almost half a million pounds worth of funding from the Energy Saving Trust and has no less than 17 patents pending on its ground-breaking technology.
Connaught is a virtual car company. It designs the car and manages the project, but out-sources the manufacturing to Derby-based partners EPM Technology, thereby ensuring relatively low start-up investment costs.
The ultra-lightweight construction helps to realise the ambitious fuel efficiency targets while the mid-front north-south mounted engine and rear-wheel drive configuration guarantees maximum driving pleasure without compromising rear space..
""Our aim has been to build a car for the future while keeping the design and technology relatively simple,"" explains Tim Bishop, vehicle engineering director, ""and to establish close links with our technology partners EPM Technology for the assembly and Coventry University on the styling side. We have met all our own development targets and are confident to gain five-star EuroNCAP crash test results and maximum score for pedestrian safety.""
A target weight of just 750kg is achieved mainly from laser-cut, flat steel and tubular sections, many of them with numerous large holes to save weight. The completed structure has a bonded-on glass/polypropylene Twintex inner tub which contributes to the chassis stiffness, and the material also gives the advantages of recyclability, no resin smell, and good sound absorption.
Toho Tenax is introducing a high-tensile, highly shock-resistant prepreg that incorporates carbon fibre developed for aerospace applications and carbon nanotubes (CNTs).
NTPT is collaborating with the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne - Swiss Centre of Technology (EPFL) and other partners to research discontinuous fibre composite tubes for high performance applications.
The £50 million McLaren Composites Technology Centre (MCTC) nearing completion near Sheffield, UK, was inaugurated on 16 January.