Techrules to show 1,030-hp turbine hybrid supercar in Geneva
Beijing-based automotive R&D company Techrules is preparing to show a turbine hybrid supercar at the Geneva Motor Show.
Known as the Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV), the car uses a turbine range-extending generator to charge onboard batteries. The setup is claimed to be good for 1,030 horsepower and a range of over 1,240 miles.
The claims will certainly raise a few eyebrows, however the company is not the first to consider turbines as a power source for automobiles. General Motors, Chrysler and Toyota have worked on turbine-powered cars, though early examples all used the turbine to mechanically drive the wheels.
Turbines are not viewed as an ideal form of mechanical drive system, due to throttle lag and reduced efficiency when running at low rpm, however a hybrid setup allows the turbine to run at its most efficient speed.
British startup Bladon Jets has developed turbine-powered generators for telecommunications equipment, promoting the technology as lighter, smaller, more efficient, more power dense and cleaner than gasoline- or diesel-engine alternatives.
Bladon collaborated with Jaguar on the C-X75 Concept, powered by two micro turbines — each weighing 77 lbs and producing 94 horsepower at a constant 80,000 rpm. The turbines simply charge a battery pack, which then sends electricity to four electric motors capable of producing a combined output of 780 horsepower and 1,180 lb-ft of torque.
Jaguar never moved forward with production plans for the C-X75, however the project is said to have been killed by the recession rather than unsurmountable manufacturing difficulties. After resolving issues with producing a tiny bladed disk (blisk) and developing micro air-film bearings, Bladon is moving forward with production plans for standalone turbine generators. Despite the focus on cellphone towers, the company is part-owned by JLR parent Tata and still appears to be interested in the automotive market.
“Today, you see thousands of gas turbine engines produced at a cost of millions of pounds,” Bladon manufacturing director Philip Lelliott said last year. “Our vision is to turn that on its head and produce millions of gas turbine engines at a cost of thousands of pounds.”
Techrules could announce additional details of its TREV concept ahead of the Geneva show.