A new Chinese car company #Techrules is claiming to be able to produce an electric
Or is it? Put it under close scrutiny and take away the hype and spin the immediate prospects for the existence of TREV car are not quite a hopeful as the marketing people would have you believe! Building such as car is a pretty tall order, yes state of the art motors, batteries and electric vehicle (EV) components exist but when it comes to the micro gas turbine (#microturbine) things start to get a little tricky. Building a microturbine is a big deal and using gas turbines of any kind in automotive applications is a big deal too. Mass producing a durable, efficient micro gas turbine for use as a range extender is a big technical challenge with many engineering obstacles!(see Page: Microturbines and Micro Gas Turbines ) Integrating a gas turbine in to a practical vehicle also presents many challenges.
The history of the gas turbine car so far has been a chequored one, beginning in the 1950’s the car companies Rover and Chrysler experimented with turbine power plants directly driving the wheels. They were almost successful and may have been close to limited production, but difficulties in producing recuperator matrixes (essential for sensible fuel consumption) and the fuel crisis killed them off. Actually automotive gas turbine development didn’t stop there, research went on and companies such as Toyota and Volvo kept on trying. Chrysler came back to it with the Patriot sports car.
And small gas turbine development didn’t stop either-
Capstone was founded by a couple of ex-
The 30kw unit has now been around for some 15 years, it’s design seemingly unchanged.
Capstone produce what is called the Hybrid Electric Vehicle model (HEV) that is
able to run on liquid fuels such as kerosene or diesel. The HEV unit produces DC
current suitable for charging batteries, the stationary CHP type units produce AC
current suitable for connection to the power grid. It is a remarkable piece of turbo-
So over the last decade a number of attempts have been made to integrate the Capstone C30 in to various vehicles. To date it is the only suitable production micro gas turbine that is able to be adapted for vehicle use. So it’s no surprise when niche vehicle and technology companies claim to be attempting to use it.
Microturbines and Super-
An amazing vehicle but in 10 years nothing has appeared since, an unsuccessful technology demonstrator?
More Langford LPE
The LPE Eco-
Sponsored by Capstone themselves the CMT380 super car. Built a view years ago now, an electric sports coupe. A tightly integrated installation but one with vulnerabilities, the Power Controller Electronics (DPC) are mounted right at the rear. In wet weather the delicate electronics (identical to the stationary CHP model) could be exposed water with catastrophic results. Inside the DPC voltages as high as 700V DC exist! Another technology demonstrator so why hasn’t it caught on? Do they sell them?
The Capstone CMT380 Micro turbine Sports Car
Municipal bus public transport service. The C30 microturbine could be described as the world’s cleanest burning diesel engine. A diesel engine without the fumes! It is possible to sniff the exhaust gases, it doesn’t even smell of diesel. For this reason in congested city centres micro turbine propelled public transport is a great way to improve air quality (something London is struggling with due to the multitude of diesel powered cars and buses).
A company Advanced Vehicle Systems AVS was contracted to build hybrid electric buses.
Using the C30 microturbine as a re-
Around 2010 a super-
A proposed TREV super-
Another attempt at a hybrid bus from Design Line Buses. A New Zealand based company
produced buses for use in New York. A number of configurations were tried but ultimately
they lacked the robustness and durability for the rigours of public transport life
and they were removed from service. A real shame -
Design Line Microturbine Hybrid Bus
Wright Speed a US company has built a turbine powered garbage truck. Short start-
Wright Speed manufacture electric transmissions, they also appear to be developing their own microturbine the Fulcrum turbine. A sophisticated unit with two stage compressor, axial flow turbines and a recuperator but it looks complex and therefore expensive to manufacture. And it will have to be proven in service. Service life and manufacturing costs are two significant obstacles to be overcome when building microturbines.
A familiar Capstone C30 hiding almost out of frame in a Wright-
The new Techrules REN Microturbine Recharged Super-
And Now Techrules-
First shown at the Geneva motorshow in 2016 the car will have over 1000hp available from motors and batteries, technology all proven in many other “hyper cars” . But as a continuous source of power only 30Kw is available, so we might see one or two of these cars in the slow lane of the freeway? It could take 20kw to cruise at 80 MPH and just 10kw left to recharge those batteries. You can’t cheat the laws of physics the energy has to come from somewhere!
Techrules claim they are working in partnership with China Aerospace and they will
be offering a lower efficiency 80Kw as well as the higher efficiency 30Kw unit.
It will be fascinating to see what is eventually offered for real? An aero-
The familiar 15 year old model the Capstone C30 Microturbine fitted to a Chinese
DIY (Do IT Yourself) Capstone Microturbine Installation -
Frustrated at the lack of real progress in the turbine car world? Well why not do it yourself? A California based engineer did just that! A Capstone C30 is towed behind a conventional electric car and is used to extend the range by recharging the battery when the car is parked. An interesting spectacle to see and hear a microturbine singing away to itself whist left in a Mall car park! This particular installation clearly benefiting from the bone dry blue sky California weather!