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Rethinking Car Design

08 March 2018

Over the years there have been many innovative designs for automobiles, some of which were made of wood and powered by electricity, like French inventor Gustave TrouvĂ© wooden electric powered tricycle.  Following Karl Benz’s revolutionary design for a gasoline engine, the industry widely adopted combustion engines. Most recently, with the advent of new technology and materials, coupled with the scarcity of certain commodities, automotive designers have been forced to become more innovative with their designs and production methods.

The design engineering team at GX has been part of a Welsh team involved with the design and manufacture of a revolutionary electric commuter vehicle. This innovative, three-wheel car is unusually made of wood, Welsh Western Red Cedar which was sourced locally.

The most critical aspects of the design and assembly was undertaken by local Welsh companies. GX became involved with the project two years ago, following a request from engineering company Deregallera to help with the design and implementation of this ground-breaking project. Deregallera, who are specialists in designing electric motors and energy storage systems, wanted to partner with a design engineering company with previous experience of automotive design.

Their idea was to rethink vehicular tradition with a view to producing a more efficient and environmentally friendly car. The ‘Yr Glanaf’ demonstrator uses sustainable wood, which is as light and durable as aluminium, but only uses a fraction of the energy compared to traditional car manufacturing to be produced. Rather than have four wheels, the team opted for three wheels to achieve cost and internal space advantages. The car has central a joy stick instead of a steering wheel, thereby negating the need to produce a left hand or right-hand drive version. For the ultimate efficiency the car is powered by battery, which can be recharged by electricity or even solar power. Unlike traditional fuel driven engines, an electric motor is more efficient, requiring less servicing since there is little to wear out.

“This has been an exciting project to work on,” commented GX’s managing director, Mark Helmich, “one that has involved nearly everyone at GX. Our design engineers were instrumental in developing the overall look of the vehicle, whilst our engineers provided the expertise to deliver the finished chassis.

It was a proud moment to see the finished product driving round, knowing that we helped turn this innovative idea into a real car.”