Nissan has used its automotive expertise to support some of the British athletes heading to the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
The Nissan Innovation Team based at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE) has developed a new trike for three time Paralympic gold medallist David Stone MBE.
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%. 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.
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.
Alec Patterson, R&D Project Manager, who led the team at the Nissan Technical Centre Europe (NTCE), explained: “Nissan initially discussed the ways we could utilise our engineering development expertise for the benefit of Rio 2016 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.”