Another attempt at a microturbine-powered hybrid car has surfaced at Geneva; the Chinese Techrules TREV. Vaguely similar to Jaguar’s ill-fated CX-75 concept, which was dusted off for the latest Bond film, Techrules is promising a whopping 2000km of range.
Six electric motors form part of the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) system, along with a 20kWh lithium-manganese oxide battery pack. Recharging comes via a power outlet, or an on-board microturbine engine which can burn any fuel. The company expanded on the latter, saying:
“Air drawn into the micro turbine is passed through a heat exchanger where heat from the exhaust air is transferred to the cold intake air after it has been compressed. Ignition of the compressed and heated fuel-air mixture generates enormous energy which is channeled at very high speeds to turn the turbine vanes. As this hot exhaust gas is expelled, it passes through the heat exchanger to ensure the heat energy is recuperated and transferred to cold intake air.”
Two electric motors handle front wheel duties, while the remaining four are split between the rear hoops. All up, it’s good for 768kW and a truly ridiculous total of 8640Nm. Techrules claims a 0-100km/h time of 2.5 seconds, a 350km/h top speed, and an average fuel consumption of 0.18L/100km.
Excitingly, production is planned over the next few years in low volume, but it could spell “higher volume city cars” with similar powertrains. On the off chance that it’s successful, it could see microturbines become a new combatant in the future of the internal combustion engine, before it cedes to hydrogen fuel cells, electric and possibly solar power.