Searching for an alternative to the go-fast status quo

No doubt about it – the world of high-performance automobiles is in a state of flux. At the center of the evolution is the car’s beating heart – its engine. You hear the question all the time: what will power our fun four-wheeled machines when internal combustion falls by the wayside? Everyone is placing their bets, including all the major automakers, which are currently exploring a variety of answers in the hopes of getting the jump on the future. However, Techrules, an automotive research and development firm based in China, says it has the solution – turbine-recharging electric vehicles, or TREV’s for short.

According to a recent report from Car Buzz, Techrules says its unique turbine system is “lighter, more compact and easier to package than a conventional internal combustion engine.” Not only that, but the system can apparently find application “in any kind of vehicle,” including motorcycles.

The system works by using gas-powered turbines to generate electricity. The juice is then routed to a battery pack, which in turn motivates the electric motors that move the wheels. The whole system sounds vaguely similar to a series hybrid vehicle, but with a turbine engine replacing the reciprocating pistons of a traditional ICE.

That means you get lots of the benefits you’d normally associate with hybrid vehicles, including highly efficient gas usage and no recharge times at an outlet. You can still plug-in if you want to make sure your battery is topped off, but as long as you have fuel, you’ve got go.

Make that a lot of go. Techrules claims this set-up allows for blistering acceleration and speed, as evidenced by the AT96 TREV Concept in attendance at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. Apparently, the turbine-equipped hybrid produces 1,030 horsepower and 6,300 pound-feet of torque, blessing it with a 0-to-62 mph time of 2.5 seconds and a top speed of 217 mph. That’s on top of 31 miles of all-electric range and 50 mpg, by the way.

Continue reading for the full story.

I’ll be honest with you – this all smells a lot like vaporware, to me. I mean over 6,000 pound-feet of torque? Seems a bit absurd, no? I’ll buy it when I see some proof, but for now, it’s just wishful thinking.

That said, I think Techrules is on the right path, at least as far as the hybrid set-up is concerned. Lots of makes are doubling down on all-electric powertrains, while others are ramping up investments into hydrogen. Both offer their own unique benefits, but both are also plagued with hurdles to widespread adoption.

For example, all-electrics create no local emissions and can offer impressive performance, but they take a long time to recharge and have limited range. By comparison, hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also clean, and take just minutes to top off a tank, but the infrastructure to support them is nearly non-existent and it’s not easy to produce H2 fuel.

Hybrids are the perfect stopgap. Getting more bang for your gasoline buck is exactly what’s needed while the next big energy source is sorted out, and in that sense, the Techrules turbine system is on target.

Now, about that torque figure…

Read our full review on the AT96 TREV here.

Source: Car Buzz

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