For decades, various automakers have had visions of a turbine powered car. The turbine, widely used in the aircrafts we see everyday are extremely powerful, very efficient, and reliable. They seem ideally suited for use in cars. Perhaps their associated costs have kept them from being commonplace in automobiles. Many automakers have toyed with the idea of placing a turbine engine in a road going vehicle, but no real attempt has succeeded.
Now an Israeli based group is looking to change that. The Israeli start up company ETV Motors hopes to utilize a small microturbine engine in a plug-in extended range hybrid vehicle.
The vehicle is currently in the prototype stages. The company has raised around $12 million to go towards the project which at this point is more a concept than a reality. The microturbine system power an electric motor within the vehicle. For now, the prototype power train is contained within a converted Toyota Prius. This converted Prius was shown to Reuters news service just months ago.
According to ETV Motors, the power train is still a year or more from the production stages. The system utilizes new technology lithium manganese nickel oxide battery cells. These new high density cells can store about 4.7 volts per cell versus just 3.2 volts per cell for current lithium-ion batteries.
The entire powertain is ground breaking in many ways. From advanced batteries, to its microturbine engine, this package is years ahead of many competitors. The range of the prototype vehicle comes in around 35 to 50 miles before the batteries are discharged and the microturbine range extender kicks in.
ETV Motors will likely seek buyers for in power train package. It's unlikely that they will sell a vehicle themselves as the funds do not exist to accomplish such a task at this time. However, the power train setup appears promising and if they can deliver as promised then automakers will surely be intrigued.