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An innovative, three-wheel car made from wood


The Challenge

GX was asked to be part of a Welsh team involved with designing and manufacturing a revolutionary electric commuter vehicle. The team wanted to prove it was possible to rethink vehicular tradition showing how by using sustainable materials they could build an efficient and environmentally friendly car.

The request to become involved with the project came from engineering company Deregallera. Whilst specialists in designing electric motors and energy storage systems, Deregallera, wanted to partner with a design engineering company with previous experience of automotive design and alternative energy generation techniques.

The Solution

The design engineers at GX were instrumental in developing the overall look of the vehicle, unusually opting for three wheels to achieve cost and internal space advantages. Their design used Welsh Western Red Cedar which was sourced locally. Wood is as light and durable as aluminium and only requires a fraction of the energy to be produced, compared to traditional car manufacturing methods.

GX were involved in the design, procurement and manufacture of many of the various parts including the wooden body shell, the vehicle interior, the lights and the windows. Only the windscreen is made of glass.

Other unusual and innovative features incorporated into the design of the car by GX’s designers included a central joy stick and controls instead of a steering wheel and two electric motors that use ground breaking patented technology. By opting for a joy stick meant the team did not have to produce a left hand or right-hand drive version. Whilst for ultimate efficiency the car was powered by batteries. Unlike traditional fuel driven engines, an electric motor is more efficient, requiring less servicing since there is little to wear out, better torque and power delivery plus batteries can be recharged by electricity or even solar power.

The Result

A finished and working demonstrator - the ‘Yr Glanaf’ was completed and exhibited at the Swansea’s National Waterfront Museum at their ‘Wales on Wheels’ festival in May 2017. The team captured footage of the car in action.

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