Theodore and Associates has unveiled the Uni-Chassis, a lightweight, frameless body-on-chassis design at the 2011 SAE World Congress in Detroit, MI. The Uni-Chassis is claimed to be a low-cost alternative to both the traditional body-on-frame and unibody designs.

Chris Theodore, president of Theodore and Associates, says that the Uni-Chassis consists of three elements: a front structure that takes suspension loads; a rear structure that incorporates the transaxle as a structural component and a tubular backbone that connects the front and rear structures. Theodore sees the Uni-Chassis design as ideal for low-volume specialty cars and plug-in vehicles.

To keep weight at a minimum, the Uni-Chassis is made from aluminum extrusions and its tubular backbone can even be made from carbon fiber. Despite the use of lightweight materials, Theodore claims that the Uni-Chassis design also offers world-class torsional and structural rigidity, stating:
Using Finite Element Analysis, we optimized the backbone design to achieve more than 13,000 foot-pounds per degree torsional stiffness and 47,000 pounds per inch bending stiffness. That's better than most supercars.
Theodore aims to have a running Uni-Chassis-based vehicle, built with Ford GT parts and a Shelby Cobra 427 body, ready for testing this fall. We'll have more on the Uni-Chassis and Theodore from the show floor later.

[Source: Green Car Congress]

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