With green vehicles becoming quite the rage these days and Los Angeles being at the epicenter of trend setting environmentally friendly car consumers the 2009 L.A. Auto Show is the perfect place for the Capstone Turbine Corporation to unveil the CMT-380 which is a high performance hybrid electric super car powered in the more traditional sense by batteries that work in conjunction with an ultra low emission range extending micro turbine.

If the shape of the CMT-380 looks familiar, that is because it is. Based around a Factory Five Ford GT replica, the futuristic super car packages the very unconventional automotive power train in a classic American sports car chassis and is able to accelerate from 0 to 60 MPH in just 3.9 seconds, reach a top speed of 150 MPH all with an unprecedented 500 mile range. The Capstone C30 micro turbine runs on either diesel or biodiesel and requires no exhaust treatments in order to meet the stringent CARB approval. The CMT-380 is able to run for up to 80 miles as a zero emission vehicle thanks to the lithium polymer battery cells before the 30 Kw turbine kicks in to recharge the batteries and give the CMT its incredible range. Just like traditional BEVs, the lithium ion units can be recharged at home or any public station.

Press release after the jump.

Press release

Capstone Turbine Corp.(www.capstoneturbine.com) (Nasdaq: CPST) is pushing traditional hybrid-electric vehicle barriers with the introduction of the CMT-380, a high-performance, hybrid-electric supercar powered by traditional batteries and an untraditional, ultra-low emission, range-extending microturbine.

The Capstone microturbine is essentially an ultra-clean and quiet jet engine under the hood.

The prototype hybrid-electric supercar with microturbine technology will debut at the LA Auto Show Dec. 2-13.

"The sleek-looking, high-performance supercar car definitely raises hybrid’s cool factor several levels," said Jim Crouse, Capstone’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing. "The CMT-380’s design performance numbers speak for themselves: 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds, 150 mph top speed and an unheard of driving range of up to 500 miles on a single tank of fuel, all with ultra-low exhaust emissions that rival any hybrid on the market today."

Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director Richard Hilleman, creator of popular video games, developed the concept for the high-performance hybrid-electric microturbine vehicle with support from Capstone Turbine, the world’s leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems.

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

The CMT-380 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.

The diesel-fueled C30 microturbine requires less maintenance than traditional combustion engines and produces ultra-low exhaust emissions.

"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."

"Not only does this car look great and is fun to drive, but its low-maintenance, high-efficiency turbine engine makes it a stress-free, no-compromise hybrid," said Richard Hilleman, CMT-380 co-creator. "The CMT-380 is perfect for people who want it all. These kinds of customers value a high level of driving performance, but also are concerned about social issues such as reducing greenhouse emissions and limiting our country’s dependence on foreign oil."

Hybrid Electric Cars One of Many Applications of Microturbine Technology Worldwide

Capstone Turbine is the world’s leading producer of clean-and-green, highly efficient and reliable microturbines. Capstone’s 30-kilowatt microturbines are installed in hybrid electric buses, trolleys and transit shuttles around the world.

Hybrid buses with microturbines operate in such U.S. cities as New York, Baltimore and Charlotte, and internationally in London, Tokyo, Paris, Rome and Auckland. The microturbines reduce bus greenhouse-gas emissions and extend the range of these state-of-the-art hybrid-electrical vehicles.

"The vehicle market is not a new market for Capstone," Jamison said. "In fact hybrid-electric vehicle applications always have been part of Capstone’s vision since the company was founded in 1988."

He continued, "The first microturbines Capstone designed and built were integrated into automotive applications. But like all new technologies, timing is everything and our initial hybrid design for cars was ahead of its time, so the company turned to the more mature stationary power markets. Now, more than two decades later, hybrid-electric vehicles are gaining interest in the market and people are taking another look at microturbines as electric-vehicle battery chargers and for public charging stations."

Earlier this year, a C30 liquid-fueled microturbine was successfully integrated into a Ford S-Max people carrier in the United Kingdom by Langford Performance Engineering Ltd. View more information about the Langford Whisper hybrid-electric microturbine vehicle at http://www.capstoneturbine.com/news/story.asp?id=512.

"The Capstone CMT-380 is a fun hybrid car with tremendous performance, but it’s not in Capstone’s business plan to start manufacturing complete cars," Jamison said. "However, the limited production CMT-380 and Langford Whisper hybrid-demonstration vehicle are intended to showcase the technology and demonstrate the value proposition of microturbines as electric-vehicle range extenders.

"Both Capstone and Langford have been in discussions with automotive-industry companies and these concept and demonstration vehicles help showcase the technology and generate public awareness of the benefits of microturbine technology," Jamison added.

Capstone has shipped over 5,000 microturbines worldwide, which produce energy ranging from 30-kilowatts up to 5 megawatts and are supplying power at sites around the world, including office buildings, hospitals, hotels, universities, oil-and-gas applications, landfills, wastewater treatment plants, farm digesters, industrial manufacturing operations and others.

Capstone microturbines can run on a variety of fuels, including natural gas, waste methane from landfills, biodiesel, diesel, kerosene and propane.

Microturbine efficiency increases when used in Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and Combined Cooling, Heat and Power (CCHP) applications. These applications use waste heat energy produced by the microturbines to recapture and heat water or buildings, or to run through an absorption chiller to create air conditioning.

What is a Microturbine?

The CMT-380’s 30-kilowatt microturbine features an electric generator and turbine components mounted on a single shaft that are supported by air bearings — so there are no liquids to lubricate or cool the microturbine.

It uses a patented combustion system to achieve extremely low exhaust emissions that do not require expensive exhaust after-treatment to meet stringent California Air Resources Board and EPA 2010 requirements.

Even more efficiency comes from the microturbine’s patented recuperator (or air-to-air heat exchanger), which extracts energy from the exhaust stream and recycles it to preheat air coming into the combustion chamber, thus greatly increasing efficiency. Capstone microturbines are well-known for several reasons:

  • Air bearings support the entire rotating assembly. No oil or other lubricants are needed, so maintenance is extremely low and the need to dispose of hazardous materials is eliminated.
  • Capstone microturbines operate at extremely high speeds, up to 96,000 rpm, which results in a very high power-to-weight ratio.
  • Microturbines have a smaller footprint and lighter weight compared to traditional combustion engines.
  • Continuous combustion and lean premix operation allows for extremely low exhaust emissions.
What do you think?
Show Comments


  (534) posted on 01.17.2010

It deserves to worship coz’ it’s an electric car that runs on that speed and has a good gear shifting time so I may say I can include it to the exotic cars but on the level of supercars, this car didn’t reach the 200 MPH level so we can’t categorize it on that level.

  (780) posted on 12.18.2009

Well the sports car seems to be cool to drive. The CMT-380 acceleration is good and I’m confident to say that it’s a low maintenance car but will see. I don’t want to expect on that note because I know how painful to throw up money by means of the maintenance.

  (815) posted on 12.7.2009

Damn right. This deserves to be called a Supercar because it exerts an effort to go green. It should be the trend to all leading car industry nowadays. There is nothing wrong if a a highly and expertly designed car is using diesel or zero emission batteries.

  (780) posted on 12.2.2009

This is a great innovation for luxury cars. That should be the trend of car making these days. Capstone C30 is run by either diesel or biodiesel. Environment-friendly vehicles, luxury or not, will sustain the earth, moreover, the car industry.

  (50) posted on 11.30.2009

Beautiful. Amazing. Fantastic. Finally a gorgeous (diesel)hybrid that is not "eco-for-show" petrol-electric so that the dim-witted can sleep better thinking they’ve made a difference.

One can only hope that more americans will embrace and seek out diesel as an alternative for useless petrol hybrids and, in doing so, inspire more automakers to go diesel-electric instead of petrol-electric for true range and environmental friendliness.

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