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Hybrid Supercar Uses Microturbines

Mon, 12/07/2009 - 7:52am

Capstone Turbine CMT-380(Gizmag) - Capstone Turbine Corporation has shown off its high performance hybrid electric car, the CMT-380, at the LA Auto Show. The car features a 30kW microturbine that extends the range of its traditional EV batteries, and which the company likens to having an ultra-clean and quiet jet engine under the hood. Capstone adds that the supercar, still in its test phase, reaches 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds, has a top speed of 150mph, and a range of up to 500 miles on a single tank of fuel - all with ultra-low exhaust emissions that rival any hybrid on the market today.

Housed inside a very cool-looking Factory Five Racing GTM body, the Capstone C30 (30kW) microturbine runs on diesel or biodiesel, and already meets the stringent clean air requirements of the California Air Resources Board or EPA 2010.

The CMT-380’s lithium-polymer battery cells can be charged at home or at a public recharging station and, according to Capstone, the sports car can operate on 100 percent battery power in zero emissions mode for a range of up to 80 miles. When the batteries reach a predetermined state of discharge, the Capstone C30 microturbine kicks in to run the motor and also recharges the batteries on the fly to extend the driving range up to a total of around 500 miles. It’s claimed by the manufacturers that the diesel-fueled C30 microturbine requires less maintenance than traditional combustion engines and produces ultra-low exhaust emissions.

Capstone Turbine's CMT-380's 30kW microturbine features an electric generator and turbine components mounted on a single shaft, which is supported by air bearings - so there are no liquids to lubricate or cool the microturbine. It uses a patented combustion system to achieve extremely low exhaust emissions that do not require expensive exhaust “after treatments”.

The concept for the high performance hybrid electric microturbine vehicle was developed by Richard Hilleman, Chief Creative Director of video game publisher Electronic Arts, with support from Capstone Turbine.

"Not only does this car look great and is fun to drive, but its low-maintenance, high-efficiency turbine engine makes it a stress-free, no compromise hybrid," said Hilleman. "The CMT-380 is perfect for people who want it all. These kinds of customers value a high level of driving performance but also are concerned about social issues such as reducing greenhouse emissions and limiting our country's dependence on foreign oil," he said.

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