Automotive

1,030-hp Chinese supercar concept with turbine range extender to go the distance in Geneva

1,030-hp Chinese supercar conc...
Techrules will pull the sheet off a 1,030-bhp turbine-electric supercar in Geneva
Techrules will pull the sheet off a 1,030-bhp turbine-electric supercar in Geneva
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Techrules will pull the sheet off a 1,030-bhp turbine-electric supercar in Geneva
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Techrules will pull the sheet off a 1,030-bhp turbine-electric supercar in Geneva
Jaguar's C-X75 concept debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show
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Jaguar's C-X75 concept debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show
The twin micro-turbines are visible through the rear glass of the Jaguar C-X75
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The twin micro-turbines are visible through the rear glass of the Jaguar C-X75

It's been a few years since turbine-equipped electric supercars were in vogue, but they're making a semi-comeback at the Geneva Motor Show. Beijing-based Techrules will reveal a 1,030-bhp (768 kW) electric supercar concept that uses a range-extending turbine to roll its tires for more than 1,200 miles per fill-up. We're taking those numbers with a shaker of salt, but the company's turbine tech should definitely make for an interesting topic at the show.

About six years ago, microturbines seemed like they were going to make some waves in the auto market, specifically the exotic sports car market. Capstone hooked a range-extending microturbine up to the electric powertrain of its sporty 2009 CMT-380 and said the car would travel around 500 miles (805 km) before needing fuel. Months later, Jaguar revealed the more famous 2010 C-X75 concept, which used two microturbines from Bladon Jets to pencil an estimated 560-mile (900-km) range onto a supercar-level spec sheet.

Jaguar's C-X75 concept debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show
Jaguar's C-X75 concept debuted at the 2010 Paris Motor Show

There were a few other microturbine car projects in the years before and after the Capstone and Jaguar, but we haven't heard about any lately. Turbines have found their way to fleet vehicle powertrains developed by Wrightspeed, but the microturbine-assisted electric sports car hype has faded.

That will all change in a couple weeks, when Techrules shines a spotlight on the idea of the range-extending turbine once again. It isn't divulging much information, outside of saying that its Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system "incorporates several technological innovations that deliver unprecedented advances in both whole-life environmental efficiencies and dynamic performance."

One of those advantages must be the claimed 1,243-mile (2,000-km) range that it estimates for the 1,030-bhp concept car. Turbine-backed EV range estimates always seem very rosy, but that one just seems crazy-high compared not only to other turbine concepts, but to every other car we can think of. We are looking forward to the explanation that Techrules gives to justify such an estimate, though.

We'll bring you all the details on Techrules' turbine technology and ultra-powerful concept car after its March 1 press conference.

16 comments
Mirmillion
Technically this range is possible, but not at the upper range of performance, obviously. A group from Canada and Denmark were developing a recuperated micro-turbine with high-speed AC generator on the intake side of the turbine. Said to have an operating noise level of only 64dB at 6 feet from the car (an Exige) the thing output sufficient power to charge the batteries four times from one mfg-standard tank of fuel (one of five possible fuels - Jet, diesel, gas, ethanol or, with nozzle change and composite tank, compressed hydrogen). There were some other tweaks such as harvesting power from turbine heat and shock absorbers as well as deceleration. I'll be interested to see what this Chinese group has come up with and whether their turbine is both quiet and reliable. The rest is pretty standard stuff at this point - unless they have made the leap to shaped lithium polymer and massive capacitance storage.
Michael Wilson
vaporware at this point, but I'd love to see it and actually see someone go for a 1000 mile test-drive.
Mzungu_Mkubwa
I am at a loss to understand why microturbine use as a range extender/generator for hybrid vehicles has not absolutely become the gold standard. All their advantages in terms of simplicity, reliability, durability and performance would seem to make them shine! In addition to allowing owners to boast turbine-engine bragging rights in da 'hood! Someone enlighten me?
windykites
There is a finite amount of energy in fuel. Even if you had 100% efficiency, I do not see how this vehicles could travel so far on a tank full (unless the tank is enormous!) Presumably the turbine is charging the battery, so there is efficiency loss there. There is another efficiency loss in the waste heat of the exhaust gases. How does this extra mileage get produced? Imagine if the car only ran on a turbine, without the efficiency loss of converting energy from the turbine to the battery, and then to the wheels.Would it get very far? I don't think so. Rover Cars produced a gas turbine engine in the 1950s. It was not successful.
Buellrider
I'm a retired engineer and I always got quite tired of other engineers saying something was tried before and didn't work so don't even try. I became quite successful proving the naysayers wrong. Something that didn't work in the 1950's doesn't prove anything other than they maybe gave up too early or other supporting technologies were not yet up to snuff. Also could be that the engineers that failed just were not good enough or committed to the project. By the way, just look at the Prius. The 4th generation of this car is way better than the 1st generation Prius. Only goes to show that improvement takes time so long as improvement is the goal.
Stephen N Russell
Id drive this, awesome, produce for sales & rentals see driveclutch.com
wanderkip
@windykites: In 1917, Eric Tigerstedt filed a patent for what he described as a "pocket-size folding telephone with a very thin carbon microphone". He could not make it happen at the time though and people called him a crazy dreamer. Could you just imagine anyone owning a pocket telephone?
Bob Flint
Why not just a 200 horsepower vehicle with a 3-4,000 kilometer range. Are the bragging rights to the next stop light so important?
Fast Eddie
This baby has the best claims of the last two decades! We should wait, of course, for "proof of life" on this one....but, generally, turbine engines do not scale down that well. Perhaps a breakthrough??
Bruce H. Anderson
Jetliners do quite well with turbines, which are excellent at constant load situations, like...say...running an alternator/generator. The stated range is interesting, and certainly longer that one person can drive in a day without taking little white pills, so maybe range anxiety is no longer an issue. Scale this back to a more plebeian ride and it could be a game-changer.