Microturbine hydrid-electric car debuts at Los Angeles auto show

by Antonio Pasolini on November 30, 2009

Capstone Turbine CMT-380

Capstone Turbine CMT-380

A prototype hybrid-electric car model with microturbine technology will debut at the LA Auto Show between December 2 – 13.

Capstone’s sleek designed CMT-380 is bound to appeal to the green Batmen out there. Described as a “high-performance, hybrid-electric supercar powered by traditional batteries and an untraditional, ultra-low emission, range-extending microturbine”, the hybrid car model is the result of a partnership between Capstone, a leading producer of microturbines, and Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director Richard Hilleman, creator of popular video games.

Capstone and Hilleman’s microturbine hybrid car features a Capstone C30 (30-kilowatt) microturbine that runs on diesel or biodiesel, which is housed inside a Factory Five Racing GTM body. The Capstone C30 microturbine does not require any exhaust after treatment to meet clean air requirements of the California Air Resources Board or EPA 2010.

CMT-380’s design performance specs really are quite impressive: 0- 60 mph in 3.9 seconds, 150 mph top speed and a driving range of up to 500 miles on a single tank of fuel. It features lithium-polymer battery cells that can be charged at home or at a public recharging station. While driving, 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 pre-determined state of discharge, the Capstone C30 microturbine quietly fires up and recharges the batteries on the fly to extend the driving range up to 500 miles.

“Capstone’s CMT-380 is in the final conceptual design and first article-testing stage,” said Darren Jamison, Capstone President and CEO. “Soon we plan to finalize a limited production plan, in part, based on interest from the LA Auto Show. We anticipate customers will be a select group of individuals who appreciate its many innovative high-performance and high-technology driving characteristics, long driving range and ultra-low emissions.”

Capstone’s 30-kilowatt microturbines are installed in hybrid electric buses, trolleys and transit shuttles around the world. They can run on a variety of fuels, including natural gas, waste methane from landfills, biodiesel, diesel, kerosene and propane.

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