One of our favorite cars from the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show was the CMT-380 supercar concept from Capstone Turbine.
To show off potential automotive uses for its C30 micro-turbine, it built an extended-range electric car using the turbine to add up to 500 miles to the 80-mile range of its lithium-ion battery pack by powering an onboard generator.
Velozzi Solo electric crossover, to be fitted with Capstone C30 microturbine, Feb 2010
Team Velozzi building EV vehicle for Automotive X-Prize
Two turbine EVs to come
Well, Roberto Velozzi, CEO of a Los Angeles-based car designer and manufacturer bearing his name, clearly liked it too. Velozzi has announced that it will use Capstone micro-turbines in two different vehicles, a supercar and an electric crossover.
The firm says the first, known just as the Velozzi Supercar, will go on sale late this year, including a 65-kilowatt (86-horsepower) Capstone C65 turbine with more than twice the output of the one in the show concept.
The Supercar will be powered by a 770-horsepower electric motor and, says the company, will to 0 to 60 mph in 3 seconds, with a top speed of more than 200 mph.
From Auto X Prize to production
Almost three years ago, what was then billed as a "research firm" called Team Velozzi said it would enter the Automotive X Prize contest for fuel efficient vehicles that get more than 100 mpg, using the same supercar, including the micro-turbine range extender.
The second vehicle, the Velozzi Solo crossover, will use the smaller 30-kilowatt (40-horsepower) C30 turbine to charge its batteries and supercapacitors. Velozzi says that car will go on sale during 2011.
No prices were given for either vehicle.
Same concept as the Volt
The extended-range electric vehicle powertrain works on the same principles as the one in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.
The powertrain uses the same extended-range electric car concept as the 2011 Chevrolet Volt. Technically not hybrids, such cars use their range extenders (a 1.4-liter gasoline engine in the Volt, turbines in the Velozzi vehicles) to turn a generator that provides power to the battery pack. The turbines never power the wheels mechanically.
Dedicated engine designs for range extenders are expected to come from many sources, including Lotus. Turning a generator is possible with any power source that produces torque, and that list expands well beyond gasoline combustion engines.
No oil, no antifreeze, just diesel
Capstone's microturbines run on standard diesel fuel, or biodiesel. The attached generator is mounted right on its output shaft and supported by air bearings, so no lubrication is required. There's also no liquid cooling, so no radiator is needed either.
Capstone syas its turbines run so clean that their exhaust needs no aftertreatment to comply with emissions regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, or the even tougher limits of the California Air Resources Board.