It remains to be seen whether turbines will take the automotive market by storm or not, but there are definitely some people interested in getting behind turbine-electric vehicles. This year alone, we've seen a turbine-electric Mack truck, an even more high-tech iteration of a turbine big rig, and two full-blown Chinese micro-turbine supercars. We can add the MiTRE to that list. This micro-turbine range-extender from British engineering solutions company Delta Motorsport is the latest product promising a solution to EV range anxiety that's lighter and more versatile than a piston engine hybrid drive.
With support from Innovate UK, Delta Motorsport is developing the MiTRE as a range-extending solution for electric vehicles. The idea is to use the system to develop the electricity needed to give electric vehicles driving ranges in line with traditional gas and diesel vehicles without relying on a piston engine like the typical hybrid.
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Unlike the run-of-the-mill piston engine, turbines can operate on a variety of fuels, giving owners more flexibility and potential for cleaner driving. Delta also estimates that a 35-kW (47-hp) MiTRE will be 50 percent lighter and 40 percent smaller than an equivalent piston engine, running with low emissions at between 30 and 35 percent thermal efficiency.
"One of the main issues seemingly holding electric cars back is the lack of range, but this technology changes that," says Delta managing director Simon Dowson. "We demonstrated proof of concept when we fitted one of the prototypes to our E4 Coupe electric sports car, and our projections show the cost of the system is low enough to be attractive to the automotive market, so we have a really potent solution to advance the take-up of electric vehicles."
British auto companies Ariel and Morgan have teamed up with Delta to further develop 17-kW and 35-kW versions of the MiTRE. That's interesting not only because of the unique cars they build, but because those small, lightweight cars are a much different potential landing place for turbine-electric technology than the tractor trailers and flagship supercars we've seen that tech concentrated around in the past.
So perhaps we'll see a turbine-backed Morgan EV3 or Ariel Aero-P (EV) concept in the future. For now, though, we'll leave you with a photo of Delta's E4 Coupe, which we looked at briefly a few years ago.
Source: Delta MotorsportView gallery - 2 images