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Author Archives: alistair

The Dyson Battery Electric Vehicle

We developed our car from the ground-up, and didn’t borrow parts from other manufacturers. It was designed as a platform, so we could design other body styles to sit on it. The first model was an SUV; at speed, it would drop itself down to be more aerodynamic and then it could be raised up to give it even more ground clearance.

More information here: The Dyson Battery Electric Vehicle

When I first drove our car, I felt exactly the same as when I first used our hairdryer prototype, or the vacuum cleaner – I enjoyed it, but I was not surprised, in fact we immediately looked for improvements! When you’re involved in designing and developing every little detail of a product it takes away the surprise of seeing or using it for the first time. The car is exactly five meters long, with big wheels and huge ground clearance which is helped by the fact it has a completely flat bottom. The wheels are actually one of the most interesting aspects; because of their size, you get lower rolling resistance and you can ride bumps and potholes more easily – it’s exactly the opposite of a Mini. The wheels are right in the corners and I don’t think you’ll find any other car with the rear wheels as far back as this. The placement and size of the wheels gave us some unexpected advantages in comfort and road holding. The most striking effect when you get inside is the feeling of space. This is because the wheels are placed at the extremities of the four corners and combined with the absence of the car engine and exhaust pipes, you have the internal space of a long wheelbase SUV without the disadvantage of the massive external body.

I hate the 1930s armchair look that car seats typically have and I haven’t yet found a car seat that has proper lumbar support. We wanted a more elegant, structural seat, with well-considered posture support. When you sit in this, it gives you that support in all the right areas. The car has three rows of seats, capable of seating seven adults in comfort.

We also used our own air filtration technology in the car to control the environment, not just in terms of temperature but also to clean the air. I also never wanted anyone to have to take their eyes off the road, so that was my starting point – so we have a heads-up display and all the controls are on the steering wheel.

Chasestead and the Slo Mo guys

One of Chasesteads recent projects has received over 8 million views on YouTube, The Slow Mo Channel Guys had a great time at The University of Edinburgh getting some great shots of the Wave spouts! Check out the Video here;

Chasestead produced the Pressing, Folding and Fabricating the stainless steel wave paddles and aluminium drive beams for wave test Tanks at The University of Edinburgh.

The University of Edinburgh Curved Wave Tank is a multidirectional wave facility, which is capable of producing digitally controlled pseudo random waves with definable spectral and directional statistics. It is equipped with force feedback absorbing wavemakers, which enhance the accuracy of marine environmental conditions through the minimisation of standing waves.

The tank is 30m in diameter with a working tank 25m in diameter and 2m working water depth, and is surrounded by a circle of 168 flap wavemakers and 28 flow propellers. There is a central floor section 15m in diameter that lifts above the water for the installation of experiments.

The circular design allows omnidirectional wave and current generation for model testing of renewable energy devices. It has been designed to be able to simulate any sea conditions around the British Isles

Chasestead are proud to have helped develop the latest Aston Martin The Rapide E

In the upcoming James Bond movie, Bond will swap out his V8 for the upcoming, limited-edition, all-electric Aston Martin Rapide E, according to a report in British tabloid The Sun.

The decision was apparently pushed for by the film’s new director, Cory Joji Fukunaga, who is apparently quite the “tree-hugger.”

So far, Aston Martin has only confirmed a production run of 155 units for the Rapide E, and first deliveries are scheduled to happen at the end of 2019.  This would beat the film to release – the film is currently scheduled for an April 2020 release, after being pushed back when previous director Danny Boyle left the project to be replaced by Fukunaga.

The Rapide E will have a top speed of 155mph, 0-60 in under 4 seconds, 50-70mph of 1.5 seconds, and have over 200 miles of WLTP range from a 65kWh battery.  Two rear motors will produce about 600 horsepower and 950Nm of torque.  It will be capable of a 100kW or higher charge rate using an 800V battery system, and will sell for around £250,000 ($331,000).

Electrek’s Take

Some may bemoan the break from tradition this represents.  After all, Bond has always driven not just modern British luxury cars, but classics as well.  In Spectre (2015), Bond drove a modern DB10 specially made for the film, but in Skyfall (2012), Bond drove a 1965 DB5.

But each of Bond’s cars has always been equipped with a spate of fantastical gizmos and gadgets.  So if Bond always drives the best and coolest car available, stocked with modern technology, why would he be stuck with a gas engine in this day and age?

All the hypercars out there are at least hybrids (LaFerrari, P1, Regera, 918), F1 cars are all hybrids, hybrids keep winning Le Mans, electric cars are dominating Pike’s Peak, and the fastest road car lap at Nurburgring was set by an EV.  Formula E is running strong in its fifth season, and the title of quickest production car in the world was recently claimed by a large electric sedan.

So giving Bond a stinky old ICE car just wouldn’t make any sense.  A spy could find great benefit in a car which is quieter, more nimble, and gives off less heat than an ICE car.  Of course Bond should be in an EV.  It’s about time

Gordon Murray awarded CBE in Queen’s New Year Honours

  • Legendary automotive designer and engineer, Gordon Murray, made Commander of the British Empire for ‘services to Motoring’
  • Gordon Murray crowns 50 years of automotive design with royal recognition
  • Career highlights include 20 years in Formula One; designing the McLaren F1; and introducing the revolutionary iStream vehicle manufacturing process

Automotive designer and engineer, Professor Gordon Murray has been awarded a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in the Queen’s New Year Honours 2019. The accolade is in recognition of his ‘services to Motoring’ after a lifetime of devising and delivering creative and ground-breaking projects in the motorsport and automotive sectors.

Gordon Murray said: “It is extremely humbling to receive a CBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours. I’ve spent more than 50 years doing what I love, working with a wealth of highly-talented and creative people around the world, but primarily in the UK. From the competing during the heyday of Formula One, to designing the world’s fastest supercar, I’ve loved every minute. I’d like to dedicate this honour to all those I’ve worked with over the years and I look forward to an exciting new future for the Gordon Murray Group.”

Having designed his first car in 1967, Murray moved to the UK to join the Brabham Formula One Team as Technical Director winning two world championships (1981 and 1983), and then moved to McLaren International as Technical Director in 1988 where the team won three consecutive championships – 1988, 1989 and 1990.

Having accrued 50 Grand Prix wins in Formula One, he went on to establish a new company – McLaren Cars Limited. The Company’s first project was the renowned McLaren F1 Road Car. A racing version won two world sports car championships and the Le Mans 24-hour race in 1995. Murray guided several other successful projects at McLaren Cars, culminating with the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren programme.

In 2005 Murray formed a new British company for the design, engineering, prototyping and development of vehicles – Gordon Murray Design Limited. The Surrey-based company has a global reputation as one of the finest automotive design teams in the world and is responsible for an innovative and disruptive manufacturing technology: iStream®.

A big thank you to all that helped at our friends and family day on Sunday it was great to see you all enjoying yourselves!

A big shout out to Norfolk Tank Museum for letting us show the work we did on the Guy Martin WW1 Tank, Weldability Sif for bringing along their weld training equipment, Aaron OvendenGareth Gladwell and Vince Rabjohns for demonstrating the high tech equipment throughout the day.

B and the Stingers for the great Tunes!

Ingle and Caves Butchers for the Hog Roast.

The British Legion for the wonderful support.

Steve’s balloons for keeping us all entertained. 

Lissette from “Design a Face” for sending all our kids home painted and happy!!

KBL Event hire for wearing the kids out with the massive bouncy castle.

“Get your booth on” for all of the Funny pictures from the photo booth.

Uwe for running the bar, Kevin and Sue Redden for keeping it all tidy.

And everyone else who helped with the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Guy Martin’s World War 1 Tank

The motor cycle racing legend and TV presenter Guy Martin, working with North One Television, has made a one off special documentary to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Cambrai and the first use of tanks in modern warfare.

Guy has been involved in the construction of a replica Mark IV World War One tank. He wants to ensure that the British engineering brilliance, which created the world’s first battle tank, is remembered along with the brave men who served and paid the ultimate price in the line of duty.

With only four months to complete the most ambitious build he had ever attempted Guy Martin engaged the services of Chasestead Limited and JCB for the engineering, the tank its self being assembled in the Norfolk Tank Museum.

Guy Martin worked on the manufacture of the complex track components at Chasestead Limited in Letchworth. He used the equipment usually involved in the manufacture of prototype vehicle chassis for companies such as Aston Martin and Jaguar. Using Chasesteads’ 800 tonne press he pressed the tank tracks which were then laser cut on a state of the art five axis laser. In total Chasestead Limited manufactured over 360 components for this vehicle, from gun mounts to periscopes. Some components were rapid prototyped using technology that the original manufactures could only dream of in 1917.

During the programme, Guy will provide a fascinating insight into the history of tanks that will include a visit to the Cambrai battlefield where he meets one of the only seven original Mark IV tanks still in existence. He will also join the Royal Tank Regiment on manoeuvres on Salisbury Plain and learn what it’s like to work in a modern Challenger 2 Tank.

This documentary will be shown again on 9th December at 7.00 PM on Channel 4



Draining the Bermuda Triangle

Using state-of-the-art instruments to map the sea floor of this notorious area of the Atlantic Ocean, scientists hope to discover why it has claimed so many lives and so many ships. What strange geological features will be revealed and will they shed light on any of the many mysterious occurrences?

See here: Draining the Bermuda Triangle

Gordon Murray Design celebrate
the first UK showing of their iSTREAM® carbon manufacturing technology in the new TVR
sports car at Goodwood

Gordon Murray Design are delighted to have been chosen as partners by TVR
the design and development of their new sports car and also to be a part
of the celebration of this great British brands 70th Anniversary.

The team at Gordon Murray Design have worked very closely with the TVR team to
deliver a vehicle which meets all the class-leading and exacting criteria set-down by
TVR which has resulted in a vehicle which sets new standards for weight and
torsional stiffness.TVR chose Gordon Murray Design’s iStream® carbon manufacturing system to help deliver these outstanding performance values. iStream® carbon is Gordon Murray
Design’s premium version of iStream® and it brings Formula One technology and
materials within reach of the everyday motorist. This technology has been the enabler
in producing a sports car some 300kg lighter than its class opposition alongside
delivering new levels of torsional rigidity.

The new car brings new standards of engineering and quality to TVR products and
the world-class design and prototyping team have worked very closely with the two
UK companies who both share Gordon Murray Design’s drive towards producing
engineering product to exacting standards. Chasestead engineering and Formaplex
have played a great role in the production of the sports car.The Goodwood Revival is therefore a double British celebration – the re-launch of iStream® carbon.

Professor Gordon Murray says “We at Gordon Murray Design are very proud to be
associated with a fantastic British product and so many excellent UK companies and
I would like to be the first to congratulate TVR on their 70th Anniversary and the
launch of this product.


Editors Notes


    1. Gordon Murray Design Limited is a British company operating from
      Shalford, Surrey. The Company is recognised as a world leader in
      automotive design and reverses the current industry trend for
      sub-contracting by having a complete in-house capability for design,
      prototyping and development. The Company is compact and focused
      and undertakes automotive and other engineering programmes in an
      efficient and innovative way.
    2. The iStream® assembly process is a complete rethink and redesign of
      the traditional automotive manufacturing process and could potentially
      be the biggest revolution in high volume manufacture since the Model T.
      Development of the process began over 15 years ago and it has already
      won the prestigious ‘Idea of the Year’ award from Autocar who were given
      privileged access in order to make their assessment.The simplified assembly process means that the manufacturing plant can
      be designed to be 20% of the size of a conventional factory. This could
      reduce capital investment in the assembly plant by approximately 80%.
      Yet the flexibility of this assembly process means that the same factory could
      be used to manufacture different variants. The iStream® design process is a
      complete re-think on high volume materials, as well as the manufacturing
      process and will lead to a significant reduction in full lifecycle CO2.
      For more information please visit www.istreamtechnology.co.uk
    3. For over 50 years Chasestead has been providing prototype engineering &
      low volume production sheet metal parts for the automotive industry using
      the latest technologies we offer the best prices and lead times to deliver your
      quality parts and assemblies. Visit chasestead.com for more information
    4. Formaplex are a leading manufacturer for tooling and lightweight component
      solutions within the automotive, autosport and aerospace industries. With a
      reputation for excellence built on

For more information, or to request an interview, please contact:
Sarah Smith, Communications Officer at Gordon Murray Design on +44 (0)1483 484700 or via email at sarah.smith@gordonmurraydesign.com


Nissan creates cutting edge titanium trike for three-time Paralympic gold medallist David Stone MBE

  • Nissan, in partnership with the English Institute of Sport (EIS), designed and built a trike for ParalympicsGB’s David Stone MBE
  • New  18 percent lighter titanium trike, pioneered by the Nissan Innovation Team at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE)
  • Nissan has also helped with other sporting projects, including assistance with wheelchair rollers, wheelchair rim grip and glove developments

LONDON – Nissan, as proud partner of British Paralympic Association (BPA), has used its automotive expertise to support some of the British athletes heading to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. In partnership with the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and British Cycling, the Nissan Innovation Team based at the Nissan Technical Center Europe (NTCE) has used its engineering and innovation prowess to develop a new trike for three-time Paralympic gold medallist David Stone MBE.

The Nissan Innovation Team began the project in 2014, following many of the same procedures involved in designing a car. Following a full 3D laser scan of David’s existing trike by Nissan Design Europe, a process usually reserved for styling clay models, the team established his new trike could be made lighter than his existing steel / carbon hybrid and his riding position lowered to significantly improve his speed and stability.

The team chose to design the new trike using Titanium Grade9, achieving weight savings of 18 percent. Their approach followed the same basic material and design philosophy that was applied to the lightweight titanium exhaust system on the Nissan GT-R NISMO. In the same way a Nissan GT-R driver would notice the reduced weight and improved acceleration, David will notice his new trike can now accelerate faster off the start line and out of slow corners.

Utilising titanium over steel also allowed Nissan to stiffen up the frame, which is key for transferring the power between rider and road. To measure the stiffness of David’s current trike, highly specialised modal analysis was conducted by Nissan engineers, where sensors were placed across the frame to measure its resonance. The Nissan GT-R NISMO was also tested and developed using the same method.

Nissan also discovered that David’s original trike was built up of a standard bike frame bonded to a heavy steel trike conversion kit, meaning it was over engineered and heavy. Using the 3D scanning tools the Nissan Innovation Team were able to develop a fully integrated trike design, incorporating a dual wheel drive system. This allows both wheels to be powered yet independently free wheeled, similar to the rear differential on a car.

Throughout the process Nissan also adopted various other techniques such as ‘coast down testing’ of the trike on a track – similar to that used to calculate the aerodynamic efficiency of cars – and allowed David to have access to their environmental chamber where he prepared in high temperature conditions as part of his training programme.

Alec Patterson, R&D Project Manager, who led the team of innovation experts at Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) explained: “Nissan initially discussed with the EIS the ways we could utilise our engineering development expertise for the benefit of Rio 2016 – bound Paralympic athletes. The David Stone trike project was chosen as it offered potential for significant improvement and could directly benefit from our in-depth experience of vehicle design and manufacture.

David Stone commented: “It’s been an extremely exciting couple of years working with Alec and the Nissan Innovation Team in Cranfield. I never imagined that I would have access to a team of engineering experts who would be able to create something so bespoke for me. I’m looking forward to riding the new trike in Rio and hopefully making everyone back in Britain proud.”

Tim Hollingsworth, CEO of the British Paralympic Association commented: “We’ve been delighted about working with Nissan on our road to Rio 2016, and have been excited about the innovative approach they have brought to the partnership. Having access to the expertise and knowledge within the Nissan Innovation Team to benefit some of our athletes is something truly special that they have and hopefully it will help assist the ParalympicsGB team in having a successful Games in Rio”.

In addition to the trike project, Nissan has also provided consultancy to the EIS on various other aspects of how the British Paralympic team’s equipment could be optimised ahead of Rio. This has included support on identifying a new type of wheelchair roller for athletes warming up ahead of races, feedback on materials for wheelchair athlete’s gloves and input on the best types of testing methods for grip testing wheelchair tyres in various weather conditions.

Nissan also offered support to ParalmypicsGB T54 sprint competitor, Richard Chiassaro, by providing him with a new wheelchair after his was vandalised in December 2015.

Notes to Editors

To find out how Nissan have supported athletes in the build up to Rio 2016 visit: https://www.nissan.co.uk/experience-nissan/partnerships/nissan-team-gb-and-paralympicsgb.html

The Nissan trike project is one of a number of other Nissan Rio related activities for the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games, including Nissan’s gold LEAF giveaway as launched by Sir Chris Hoy, Nissan’s Ultimate Sports Day, the Nissan Olympic fleet announcement, Usain Bolt vs Fire campaign.

About Nissan in the UK

  • Nissan Sunderland Plant produces the Nissan Qashqai, Note and Juke and the 100% electric Nissan LEAF
  • Production of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles began in 2012
  • Total plant volume since 1986 stands at more than seven million units with 80 per cent of production exported to 100 markets worldwide
  • Total investment made and announced since then is over £3.5 billion
  • 500,237 units were produced at Sunderland plant in 2014
  • In 2014, one in three cars built in the UK was a Nissan
  • Sunderland Plant currently employs more than 6,700 people
  • Nissan’s European Design Centre is located in Paddington, London and employs around 65 people
  • Nissan’s European Technical Centre is based in Cranfield, Bedfordshire and employs around 1,000 people
  • Nissan’s sales and marketing headquarters in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire employs around 190 people

About Nissan in Europe
Nissan has one of the most comprehensive European presences of any overseas manufacturer, employing more than 17,000 staff across locally-based design, research & development, manufacturing, logistics and sales & marketing operations. Last year Nissan plants in the UK, Spain and Russia produced more than 635,000 vehicles including award-winning crossovers, commercial vehicles and the Nissan LEAF, the world’s most popular electric vehicle. Pursuing a goal of zero emissions and zero fatalities on the road, Nissan recently announced its Intelligent Mobility vision. Designed to guide Nissan’s product and technology pipeline, this 360 degree approach to the future of mobility will anchor critical company decisions around how cars are powered, how cars are driven, and how cars integrate into society. Nissan is positioned to become the most desirable Asian brand in Europe.

Chassis and Design

The DB11 uses a completely new bonded aluminium platform. Lighter and stronger, it allows for wider door apertures and increased occupant space for the rear seats. The car is still a 2+2 and yes, there is more room in the back, but its not much. With a 1770kg dry weight the DB11 is actually only 15kg lighter than the DB9 it replaces.

Changes to the suspension setup are significant. At the front, you’ve got fully independent double wishbones, coil springs and three stage adaptive dampers. The rear is multi-link with adaptive dampers.

Those dampers can be controlled via a single button on the steering wheel and switched between GT, sport and sport+ mode. We spent time with Aston Martin handling setup guru Matt Becker prior to the DB11’s unveiling and he hinted at wanting to create a car with a broad dynamic character.

Aston claims this has been put into practise with the DB11, with the three stage adaptive damping varying significantly between each setting. The steering itself is a 13:1 electric power assisted speed-dependant tack and pinion setup which is 2.4 turns lock to lock.

The DB11 features both front and rear LED lights with the design drawing on that of the Vulcan and One-77 hyper car. Updated daytime running lights also feature, as does a single cut out for each light at the front in the huge single piece clamshell bonnet.

There are two significant new aerodynamic features introduced wit the DB11. The first is the “Curlicue” you see sat directly behind the two front wheels, First introduced on the Vulcan, it takes high pressure turbulent air from the wheel arch and sends it down the side of the vehicle as vortices, smoothing out airflow over the DB11.