Yamaha Motiv city car conceptEnlarge Photo
Yamaha has announced it is the first company to adopt McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray's innovative iStream production process--said to slash the cost of producing cars.
The Japanese motorcycle manufacturer--and soon-to-be automaker--revealed its Motiv city car at the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show today, a two-seat vehicle constructed entirely using iStream. While it looks very different from the city car concepts Murray himself has revealed in the past, such as the T25, Motiv was also designed in conjunction with Gordon Murray Design.
Only a concept at this stage, Yamaha says the car features many of the attributes you'd expect from a company that specializes in fun vehicles--a lightweight chassis and body, high rigidity and thorough engineering--including a rear-mounted drivetrain and independent suspension on all four wheels. While the concept is electric-powered, the company also suggests a gasoline version would be possible, since the iStream process allows easy adaption for different powertrains and layouts.
The car, while not yet production ready, would be the first true competitor for Daimler's Smart Fortwo since that car first emerged in 1998. Motiv is around two inches lower, over two inches wider and similar in length to the Fortwo, but weighs 220 pounds less thanks to light but strong tubular construction, composite panels for strength, and a non load-bearing skin.
Murray told Autocar that "forming a partnership with Yamaha is a dream for us". The McLaren F1 designer also revealed that talks had been ongoing with the Japanese company since 2008--but plans were frozen that year when the global financial crisis hit, and only reopened in 2011.
Murray has previously revealed that the first iStream built car would launch in 2016.
For more from the 2013 Tokyo Motor Show, click here.