New micro-turbine hybrid car

Capstone turbine unveils a little Ford powered with their turbine plus electric:


I’ve invested in CPST for a few years. It paid off today.

For once, at last, a different idea that looks like it has promise.

Can I safely assume that the microturbine is driving a generator? Regular turbines are only efficient once they’re spooled up. Does this microturbine have rotating low mass and does it spool up rapidly? Or is it kept spinning?

The bug-a-boo with most gas turbines is the wasted heat energy. They just are not very efficient…

A quick check of the Capstone C30 genset shows it weighs 900 pounds and produces 310,000 BTU/Hr in exhaust heat. No mention of how much they cost…

900 pounds must be for a stationary C30 in a heavy duty case. Turbines are generally small and light for their power output. That’s how they revolutionized airplanes and helicopters.

Even if the weight is cut in half, it will just equal a Corvette LS engine. I hope the C30 is more like 200#, but I doubt it.


I know a bit about turbine theory, and have a practical experience with Pratt/Whitney products, and always thought of them as polluting kerosene burners, as well as inefficient–especially at reduced power settings. (The positives are good power/weight ratio and virtually bulletproof.)

So, it seems positive if this company really has turbines that improve on the 4-stroke’s efficiency. Hopefully they can drive down the price until they’re competetive with piston powerplants in cars and (wish, wish) general aviation.

My understanding is that it’s a hybrid electric. That suggests that it’s electric with a microturbine providing either power to generate electricity to operate the motor and/or keep the cells charged, and perhaps as a power supplement as well.

I was unclear from the article what the setup was. But I am intrigued.

“inefficient–especially at reduced power settings”

If it only serves to charge the batteries it can run at optimum power, then shut off.

I wonder how they keep these turbines from becoming clogged by ice and snow. What if they get wet and freeze at night? For these to be a real solution, they have to be usable in ALL driving conditions.

How about an electric case (block?) heater?

Once it’s running it’s easy to preheat the intake air, just like with ICE engine.