The Royal Automobile Club (RAC) is proud to announce the recipients of the Dewar Trophy and Simms Medal for 2016 are Gordon Murray Design and Riversimple.
Arguably among the most prestigious honours in recognition of home grown British automotive engineering talent, the Dewar Trophy and Simms Medal are only awarded in years when the Royal Automobile Club’s Dewar Technical Committee deems there have been contenders of sufficient merit. This is one such year.
The Dewar Trophy was presented to Gordon Murray Design founder, Gordon Murray, for his team’s development and application of the innovative iStream chassis concept, including its use in the Global Vehicle Trust OX all-terrain vehicle. The OX tackles crucial transport challenges in the developing world, by offering a cheap, versatile and durable flat-pack truck to some of the globe’s poorest areas.
An iStream-constructed chassis is at the heart of the OX, featuring steel tubes bonded together by plates. In more expensive vehicles, the plates would be carbon fibre but here they are ‘engineered plywood’, an incredibly strong and cheap material that helps contribute to the OX’s 1,900kg payload capacity.
The iStream process keeps costs as low as possible, too, requiring no steel pressing or expensive robot assembly; only simple jigs. Overall investment in factory and vehicle set-up is about five per cent of a conventional vehicle.
Awarding the 2016 trophy to Gordon Murray Design was a unanimous decision for experts on the Royal Automobile Club’s Dewar Technical Committee, chaired by John Wood MBE. Previous winners of the Dewar Trophy, which has a lineage dating back to 1906, include Rolls-Royce in 1907 for its 40.5hp engine; the British Motor Corporation and Alec Issigonis for the original Mini in 1959; McLaren in 2013 for the P1 hybrid supercar, and GKN Hybrid Power for their Gyrodrive flywheel technology.
John Wood MBE, Chairman of the Dewar Technical Committee, said:
Gordon Murray Design’s iStream technique presents a completely new way of thinking about vehicle construction and manufacture. In developing the OX all-terrain vehicle, the versatility of the iStream process is clearly demonstrated, resulting in a strong, durable and extremely affordable structure. It’s a genuine innovation that could positively affect the lives of people in some of the world’s poorest areas.
Receiving the Dewar Trophy, Gordon Murray, founder of Gordon Murray Design, said:
It’s a great honour to receive such a prestigious award on behalf of our company. I am extremely proud of what our team has achieved in industrialising iStream. Our mission has been to develop Formula One technology to a point where it is accessible to the everyday motorist and to enable affordable lightweighting and to introduce new levels of automotive durability and safety.
Receiving the Simms Medal on behalf of Riversimple was the company’s founder, Hugo Spowers. Riversimple becomes only the ninth recipient of the Simms Medal, with previous winners including Richard Parry-Jones CBE in 2007 in recognition of his immense contribution to the UK and worldwide automotive industry; Ben Bowlby in 2012 for his ground-breaking DeltaWing racing car, and Lord Paul Drayson in 2013 for incredible and world record breaking achievements with the Drayson B12/69 LMP-type EV racing car.
Riversimple has developed the Rasa from the ground up as an affordable, usable and forward-thinking hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. The list of innovations and materials is impressive in itself: an ultra-lightweight carbon fibre monocoque, four in-wheel electric motors, a bank of super-capacitors and regenerative braking that captures more than 50% of kinetic energy.
Riversimple’s production prototype delivers on its promise of efficiency and sustainability, with a range of 300 miles from just 1.5kg of hydrogen. Weighing only 580kg and with a carefully honed aerodynamic body, the Riversimple Rasa returns the equivalent of 250mpg, zero tailpipe emissions and c.40g/km CO2 well-to-wheel.
John Wood MBE said:
The Riversimple Rasa perfectly represents the ‘spirit of technical endeavour’ that the Simms Medal is awarded for. The car in itself is highly innovative, and has clearly demonstrated to the whole motoring community what is possible with a hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicle when you start with a clean sheet of paper. As well as its technical originality, Riversimple also has radical ideas about the way people own and run its cars.
Riversimple founder, Hugo Spowers, added:
The Riversimple team are delighted and honoured that their efforts to produce a car that is truly a breakthrough have been recognised. The Rasa has been designed specifically for hydrogen use with a completely different architecture to conventional or battery electric cars. We are confident that the Rasa can bring a momentous change in the way mobility is delivered and in the longer-term will have a global impact on the sustainability of personal transport.