Yamaha has been hinting at a move into car manufacturing in recent years, with the firm recently teaming up with McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray to develop a city car concept called the Motiv. Now Yamaha is back with a new sports car concept unveiled today at the 2015 Tokyo Motor Show, and like the Motiv it has also been developed with Murray.
Specifically, the two concepts were developed in line with Murray’s iStream principles, which enable a much more simplified assembly process compared to current means of production. Murray boasts that cars built using iSteam require a factory just 20 percent the size of a conventional car assembly plant. The process relies on pre-formed parts made from composite materials and easily interchangeable between vehicles.
Yamaha’s new concept is called the Sports Ride, and it’s the first to ride on Murray’s more advanced iStream Carbon chassis technology. iStream Carbon is described as the world's first affordable high-volume carbon fiber chassis structure, allowing for lightweight yet sturdy cars that you don’t need to be a supercar buyer to afford.
Gordon Murray Design iStream CarbonEnlarge Photo
The Yamaha Sports Ride, for example, weighs just 1,653 pounds all up. A powertrain hasn’t been mentioned but Yamaha has previously shown off a three-cylinder engine as well as an electric drive system in its iStream-based Motiv, and it’s possible one of these has been used for the Sports Ride.
The key difference between iStream and iStream Carbon is the replacement of fiberglass with sturdier carbon fiber. Using Formula One-style technologies, iStream Carbon relies on two carbon skins sandwiching a honeycomb core, which is in contrast to many expensive handmade supercars which employ monolithic (single skin carbon) panels. And unlike any other carbon fiber chassis technology, iStream Carbon is said to be a fully mechanized system with a cycle time of just 100 seconds.
At present, there are seven vehicle projects set to utilize the iStream process. Two that we know of are the aforementioned Yamaha Motiv as well as TVR’s new sports car.
For more from the Tokyo Motor Show, head to our dedicated hub.