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Capstone CMT-380 electric hybrid supercar with microturbines

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December 3, 2009

The Capstone Turbine Corporation's CMT-380 features a 30kW microturbine under the hood

The Capstone Turbine Corporation's CMT-380 features a 30kW microturbine under the hood

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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.

Capstone's 30kW microturbines have been installed in hybrid electric buses, trolleys and transit shuttles around the world, including hybrid buses operating today in U.S. cities like New York, Baltimore and Charlotte, and internationally in London, Tokyo, Paris, Rome and Auckland.

"The vehicle market is not a new market for Capstone," said Darren Jamison, Capstone President and CEO. "In fact hybrid electric vehicle applications have always been part of Capstone's vision since the company was founded back in 1988. The first microturbines Capstone designed and built were integrated into automotive applications. But like all new technologies, timing is everything and our initial hybrid design for cars was ahead of its time and the company turned to the more mature stationary power markets. Now, more than two decades later, hybrid electric vehicles are gaining interest in the market and people are taking another look at microturbines as electric vehicle battery chargers and for public charging stations."

"The Capstone CMT-380 is a fun hybrid car with tremendous performance. Although it is not in Capstone's business plan to start manufacturing complete cars, the limited production CMT-380 and Langford Whisper hybrid demonstration vehicle are intended to showcase the technology and demonstrate value proposition of microturbines as electric vehicle range extenders," added Jamison. "Both Capstone and Langford have been in discussions with automotive industry companies, and these concept and demonstration vehicles help showcase the technology and generate public awareness of the benefits of microturbine technology."

Capstone is now finishing up the conceptual design and first article testing stage of the CMT-380 and plans to finalize a limited production plan, based in part on interest received at the LA Auto Show, very soon.

10 Comments

Notice they didn't give a mileage or fuel tank capacity figure. Far better would be a 1-3 cyl gasoline motor at far less cost.

Also 30kw is not going to go over 100mph on it's own and will take a long time to get there with low batteries.

But with a gas motor/generator of say 20hp or 15kw, this could be an excellent car to own with over 100mpg after the battery range is done.

jerryd
4th December, 2009 @ 04:31 am PST

500 miles on a tankfull Jerry,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

rob yates
4th December, 2009 @ 08:21 am PST

Did you read the article? All those concerns were addressed. I have seen the busses that hese turbines are installed in and let me tell you, they aren't hurting for power. They can get up and go.

Jonathan Hatfield
4th December, 2009 @ 10:07 am PST

However Rob, you are not told how large the tank is, therefore i can say my diesel rain rover does 450miles per tank (90 litres or for the US inclined 23.7 Gal)

But i really like the idea of a jet engine in a car.

Neon
4th December, 2009 @ 11:44 am PST

They post a PR about a modified Ford S-Max with a turbine in it to recharge on demand the batteries... http://www.capstoneturbine.com/news/story.asp?id=512 and have a link to a video of the little car running about http://www.capstoneturbine.com/news/video/whisper.asp ... or a youtube version .. .. of video..

Since the Langford mentions gearing, the CMT-380 must be doing the same yes?

I can't wait to see how this thing does as they keep working on it!

Justin Mead
4th December, 2009 @ 12:11 pm PST

jerryd-

If you got off your dirty butt and went to the show you would find that you are sadly misinformed!

Mestengo
6th December, 2009 @ 07:00 pm PST

Jerryd

Clearly you need a lesson in comprehension. The article states "CMT-380's 30kW microturbine features an electric generator and turbine components mounted on a single shaft".

They aren't saying that the 30kw powers the car, it is used to regenerate the batteries.

I think this article clearly shows that many manufacturers are embracing the idea of using fuel engines to recharge batteries in cars finally.

Trains etc have been doing this for years.

cheers

Glenn

Glenn
6th December, 2009 @ 08:12 pm PST

Awesome idea, and a very cool looking car.

Not really a huge breakthrough for the environment without a bit more development though. 500 miles or (800km) on a tank of diesel is not brilliant unless the tank is very small. Most modern compact european diesels will do that kind of mileage on 40 litres (approx 9 gal) or less.

Rangi
7th December, 2009 @ 11:03 pm PST

THE FACTORY FIVE GTM SUPER CAR HAS AN 18 GALLON TANK. THE 500 MILE RANGE GIVES THE CAR 27.7 MPG. NOT BAD FOR A CAR THAT DOES 0-60 IN 3.9. AND YES THE TURBINE POWERS THE CAR BY WAY OF ELECTRIC MOTORS, EXACTLY HOW IT IS DONE IN LOCOMOTIVES (TRAINS) FOR OVER 80 YEARS. THAT'S RIGHT HYBRID LOCOMOTIVES REPLACED STEAM ENGINE TRAINS IN THE EARLY 1900'S.

brent k
5th October, 2011 @ 08:09 pm PDT

I would like to retrofit my RV (Recreational Vehicle) with Electric Motors, batteries, and generator so I can use less fuel. This is My Dream, but I need assistance.

I purchased a RV, 2014 Thor Motor Coach 23 footer sitting on a Ford E Series Chassis with a Triton V-10 gasoline engine. I drove my family to Arcata, CA from Roseville, CA, to move my daughter to Humboldt State University. The RV got eight miles to the gallon. I found this very painful at the pump and very bad environmentally.

The Technology is here now to retrofit vehicles with Electric drive motors and a generator set to create a Series Hybrid. Along with Controllers (computers and software), Batteries (Liquid cooled Lithium Ion) and other electronics that are currently available, the gas mileage would be improved, thus, using less fuel. An EV (electric vehicle) is OK, but the range would be only for ‘commuters’, not for long trips.

I have looked at and e-mailed Wrightspeed.com, but they communicated back, they ONLY deal with Fleet Operators. WOW, that is a bad attitude to me. The US needs to save the planet, use less fossil fuel, become more energy independent: the technology is here now to use less fuel.

The Capstone Microturbine is very efficient. I have read about buses being converted. Why Not a RV.

tapps57
12th September, 2013 @ 09:58 am PDT
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