When you think of “turbines,” what comes to mind? Jets. Exactly. Now think of jet engines on a car and what do you think of? Right, that urban legend about the guy who straps a rocket to his Buick/Chevy/insertoldcarnamehere.
Well, never fear, you can have your jet turbine and really damn cool car and not worry about your tires melting (too much), your brakes failing, and your car embedding itself into the side of a cliff with you still in it. Well, you might slam into a cliff, but you won’t actually get embedded in it and you’ll have enough vehicular control with this jet-powered car to avoid the accident. Plus, GEICO will probably insure this car, unlike your Buick with a rocket engine strapped on.
The CMT-380 microturbine hybrid supercar is from Capstone Turbine. It’s a range-extended hybrid with the electric motor doing most of the work and the microturbine acting as a generator. The CMT-380 debuted at the LA Auto Show last December and has recently re-entered the news with information on it’s new speed times and ranges. See also this great Auto Blog Green post for some awesome photos from the LA Show.
So here’s some specs: the CMT-380 is 240 horsepower, ahs a 0-60 of 3.9 seconds, a top speed of 150mph, an 80-mile electric-only range, and a total range of 500 miles. The microturbine is Capstone’s C30 (30kW) gas-burning engine. Microturbines are becoming one of the best options for a lot of power generation applications, as they are extremely fuel efficient compared to standard piston engines.
Capstone’s turbines can run on LPG/CNG, diesel, propane, kerosene, butanol, biogases, and more. They’re pretty awesome. The turbine inside the unit in the CMT-380 spins at up to 96,000 rpms. No, that’s not a typo. It burns about every scrap of fuel fed into it and puts out continuous electricity while doing so. This gets a combined 75mpg (50/50 highway/city) or 210mpg using SAE J1711 calculations.