A high-tech hybrid with a microturbine diesel powertrain

Techrules is a somewhat fresh face in the supercar segment, but it’s quickly making a name for itself thanks to the cutting-edge innovations and top-shelf speed of its first model, the Ren. Based out of China, we’ve seen a slew of concepts out of the company in the past, including the AT96 and GT96 TREVs. Those last four-letters stand for “turbine-recharging electric vehicle,” which is Techrule’s innovative hybrid powertrain technology, and while it’s weird and sci-fi at first glance, we’ve now got it in a production-ready, lightweight, hyper-aggressive, track-only racing form with the Ren RS, following a debut at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2018 Techrules Ren RS.

  • 2018 Techrules Ren RS
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    1287
  • Torque @ RPM:
    1725
  • 0-60 time:
    3 sec.
  • Top Speed:
    205 mph
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:
  • Overall:
    7.7/10

2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior

  • Unique looks
  • Triangular features front and back
  • Single cockpit design
  • Developed by Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro
  • Racing spec by L.M Gianetti
  • Should make a lot of downforce
  • Configurable rear wing
2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772677
Compared to the standard Techrules Ren, the RS version is a bit different, with upgrades added to improve the downforce and cooling capabilities.

As far as exterior styling is concerned, the Techrules Ren RS gets a very aggressive and racey aesthetic. The design was developed by Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro, and was inspired by aerospace (clearly).

Compared to the standard Techrules Ren, the RS version is a bit different, with upgrades added to improve the downforce and cooling capabilities. L.M Gianetti of Turin was also tapped to develop the exterior even further for racing purposes following extensive aerodynamic analysis.

Techrules says the Ren RS uses a “form follows function” philosophy for the design, which makes sense given the previously mentioned the aerospace influences. Indeed, the center of the machine gets an almost fighter jet-like cockpit, with the canopy rising upwards directly from the center of the car for ingress and egress purposes.

In front, the RS gets larger air intakes, which helps enhance the cooling air flowing to the radiators. Techrules also decreased the wheel well gap as much as possible to make the front profile more sleek and aerodynamic. When viewed from the side, we find the lower aero indents topped by turbine air intakes and exhaust pipes.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
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The RS gets a large rear wing that’s configurable to your chosen specs for variable downforce levels.

Moving over to the rear of the machine, we find a square tail with more of the same triangular design elements from the nose. The RS also gets a large single-foil rear wing with a swan neck design, which is configurable to the driver’s chosen specs for variable downforce levels. The wing was once again developed by Gianetti for racing purposes. All told, the car offers an aerodynamic efficiency of 3.36 with loads of downforce, plus a coefficient of drag rated at 0.43.

Finally, don’t forget the “Turbo Jet” bades, which give a nod to what lies in waiting under the long skinny pedal in the cockpit.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Interior

  • Single-seat interior
  • Stripped down for competition
  • Steel roll cage for safety
  • Carbon seats
  • Safety Canopy Ejection system
  • Air Jack system for pit stops
2018 Techrules Ren RS Interior
- image 772688
The RS also gets a pretty cool Safety Canopy Ejection system, much like you might find on a fighter jet.

Stepping into the cabin of the 2018 Techrules Ren RS, we find a single-seat layout, which is a break from the original Ren concept. The non-RS Ren used an odd three-seater design with three separate cockpit bubbles, but as previously mentioned, the RS was simplified for racing purposes.

To that end, the RS comes equipped with a steel roll cage to keep it safe. Techrules says it went with a traditional roll cage over an enclosed carbon monocoque in order “to allow the upper structure to be specified for different race series if required.”

Further race-ready modifications were installed to help it pass tech, such as an 80-liter (21-gallon) FIA-certified “safety fuel bladder” mounted centrally and under the floor. The carbon fiber racing seats were made by OMP and carry an FIA approval, and there’s a fire extinguisher system and six-point harness as well.

The RS also gets a pretty cool Safety Canopy Ejection system, much like you might find on a fighter jet. The system uses six electric actuators to lift the cockpit bubble up and out in the event of an impact, allowing easier access to the cabin. The system can also be manually activated by the driver or race marshals if required.

Finally, an Air Jack system is used for quick pit stops, utilizing two jacks in front and two jacks in the rear.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Drivetrain

  • Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle powertrain
  • Four to six electric motors
  • 28.4-kWh battery pack
  • Top trim makes 1,287 hp and 1,725 lb-ft of torque
  • 0 to 62 mph in 3 seconds
  • Top speed of 205 mph
  • Range of 727 miles
2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772676
The Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle system manages to combine very high levels of power with a surprising level of efficiency.

Without a doubt, the most interesting facet of the 2018 Techrules Ren RS has to be its novel Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle system, which manages to combine very high levels of power with a surprising level of efficiency as well. We first got a glimpse at Techrules’ TREV technology at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show with the GT96 and AT96 concepts, and now it’s looking like the tech is ready for prime time. Techrules even mentions that TREV technology could see applications beyond the automotive sector, such as in rail and busses.

“The series hybrid powertrain technology combines extensive experience of aerospace and electric vehicle technologies with several proprietary technical innovations to deliver unprecedented levels of efficiency and performance, with an ultra-low environmental impact,” the company says.

Essentially, the powertrain uses diesel turbines as range extenders, while the electric motors and battery pack make the machine actually move. There’s no direct electrical connection between the turbine and electric motors, and the turbines only kick in after the battery is all out of electricity.

This is how it works. After the system first takes in the air, it’s sent through a heat exchanger before it then heads to the cold air intake. Afterwards, the air is compressed and fuel is added before the mix is finally ignited. This obviously creates energy, just like it would in a jet engine. That energy is then used to spin turbine vanes before the exhaust gas is sent out into the atmosphere. Before it goes, the spent gasses are run through the heat exchanger to extract any leftover, unused energy for even greater efficiency.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772680
The Techrules Ren RS offers multiple drivetrain configurations to choose from, including either four or six liquid-cooled electric motors for motivation.

The Techrules Ren RS offers multiple drivetrain configurations to choose from, including either four or six liquid-cooled electric motors for motivation. The four-motor set-up uses one motor per wheel, while the range-topping six-motor set-up uses one motor per front wheel and two motors for each of the rear wheels.

Buyers can get theirs with either a single 30-kW turbine or two 80-kW turbines. The 28.4-kWh battery pack is mounted in twin lateral pods and comes with an integrated battery management system.

The four-motor set-up produces as much as 858 horsepower and 1,150 pound-feet of torque, while the six-motor set-up offers up a head-turning 1,287 hp and 1,725 lb-ft of torque.

Put your foot down, and the 2018 Techrules Ren RS will go from 0 to 62 mph in 3 seconds, topping out at a maximum of 330 kph (205 mph). Range is rated at 1,170 km (727 miles) thanks to 80 liters of onboard diesel juice.

Finally, thermal management includes three water cooling circuits are for the motors, battery, and inverter.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Handling And Chassis

  • Carbon fiber tub with steel and aluminum
  • L.M Gianetti tuned the suspension
  • Custom in-board adjustable KW coilovers
  • Pushrod layout
  • Lightweight carbon ceramic brake discs
  • High-tech traction control and torque vectoring
  • Multiple drive modes
2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772682
L.M Gianetti of Turin added additional strength-enhancing components and higher torsional rigidity.

Unsurprisingly, the 2018 Techrules Ren RS uses a full carbon fiber tub for the chassis, and while the majority of it is composed of composites, there are aluminum and steel components used as well. In addition, the chassis is modular to accommodate the multiple powertrain configurations. Taking credit for prepping the chassis to withstand the rigors of track driving is L.M Gianetti of Turin, which added additional strength-enhancing components for greater torsional rigidity.

L.M. Gianetti also helped to develop the suspension tuning. Underpinnings consist of unequal length wishbones both front and rear, with high-strength tubular steel and tig welding.

“The wishbones are designed to withstand the level of forces that would be experienced by GT3 racing car,” says Techrules.

There’s also custom horizontally mounted in-board three-way adjustable coilovers from KW front and rear, which connect to the chassis via a pushrod set-up. Anti-roll bars are used in conjunction with custom end plates, while the front bar uses a new geared system that makes it more compact.

Materials used include machined aluminum for the motor reduction gearing housings and suspension pick-up points. There’s also all-aluminum fittings machined from billet 7075 T6 alloy.

Helping it stop are lightweight carbon ceramic discs measuring in at 380 mm (15-inch) in diameter and squeezed by six-piston calipers. Compared to traditional cast-iron brake discs, these carbon units shave off 30 kg (66 pounds) of unsprung weight and are also better suited to the rigors of racing duties.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772687
All told, the suspension set-up is typical of a high-performance racing application, which is a little surprising considering the innovative powertrain.

All told, the suspension set-up is typical of a high-performance racing application, which is a little surprising considering the innovative powertrain. Perhaps Techrules is waiting to introduce the really impressive adaptable components on the street-bound Ren at a later date.

Regardless, the Ren RS still has a few tricks up its sleeves worth mentioning. For example, the traction control and torque vectoring systems are top notch, with as many as 30 individual sensors in place to monitor available grip and inputs. “This dedicated ECU assesses a variety of safety-related data - including speed, acceleration, steering angle, and braking force - to determine what assistance is required to optimize the car’s performance,” Techrules explains.

All this data means the system comes with two settings for the digital assists. Drivers can go with either Race for maximum attack, or Standard for better fuel efficiency.

Which begs the question - why would anyone want better fuel efficiency in a race car? Techrules didn’t elaborate, but we think endurance events would be a pretty solid use for it.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Price

2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772679

The Techrules Ren RS is headed to “an exclusive band of customers” over the course of the next few years. The company is also gearing up to release further vehicles across world markets in the same time period, while simultaneously branching out into other industries to see where its turbine electric powertrain technology will be put to good use.

“We are working hard to grow our global capabilities in engineering and manufacturing and will soon reveal major joint ventures that will enable us to further develop our innovative technology for a wide range of commercial mobility and industrial applications,” says Techrules founder and CEO William Jin.

As for an MSRP on the 2018 Techrules Ren RS, no official pricing info is available as of this writing, but it’s expected to fetch upwards of seven figures.

2018 Techrules Ren RS Competition

Pininfarina H2 Speed

The Pininfarina H2 Speed Evolves from Simple Concept to Full-Blown, Hydrogen-Powered Racecar Exterior
- image 772850

Believe it or not, but there’s another top-shelf racer out there with a wild high-tech powertrain and crazy levels of speed potential. This time around, we’re talking about the Pininfarina H2 Speed, which also just so happened to have enjoyed a debut at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show. It certainly looks like something plucked off the Le Mans starting grid, and it goes like one too, sprinting to 62 mph in just 3.4 seconds. It’ll also max out at 186 mph, all while sticking hard in the corners thanks to advanced aero. However, the big headline with this thing is the hydrogen fuel cell power plant, which produces upwards of 653 horsepower through four electric motors.

Read our full review on the 2018 Pininfarina H2 Speed.

Conclusion

2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772678
These days, it ain’t hard to find a supercar with spaceship good looks and insane performance. However, the Techrules Ren RS stands apart from the rest.

These days, it ain’t hard to find a supercar with spaceship good looks, insane performance, and high-tech goodies throughout. However, the Techrules Ren RS stands apart from the rest. Sure, it’s got all of those same characteristics, but the way it goes about making its speed is absolutely unique. After all, how many diesel-fueled turbine-powered electric vehicles have you heard of?

And we like that. The idea that you can make loads of speed without burning excess fuel is certainly a combo that’s likely to become more and more desirable over time.

All we really want now is a peek at what Techrules and the Ren might bring in terms of street-worthiness. So far, so good.

  • Leave it
    • * Racing only, but it’s unclear which series it can compete in
    • * Very expensive

References

2018 Techrules Ren RS Exterior
- image 772847

Radical Techrules Ren RS Storms into Geneva with Almost 1,300 HP

2018 Techrules Ren High Resolution Exterior
- image 716733

Read our full review on the 2018 Techrules Ren.

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- image 763348

Read more Geneva Motor Show news.

Press release

Techrules is unveiling the final production design of its Ren RS hybrid supercar at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show. The single-seat race car is a lightweight, high-performance track variant of the Techrules Ren supercar that was first previewed at last year’s Geneva show.

The Ren RS features the China-based company’s ground-breaking Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system. The series hybrid powertrain delivers unprecedented levels of efficiency and performance, using advanced micro-turbine technology to deliver an ultra-low environmental impact.

As well as establishing an R&D centre in Beijing, Techrules is also working to establish key partnerships with several global automotive and non-automotive companies to further the development of its range-extending proprietary micro-turbine technology for a variety of mobility and industrial applications.

Techrules has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CRRC, the world’s largest supplier of rail transit equipment. The agreement, officially signed at a ceremony during the Geneva Motor Show, will see the two companies jointly develop the TREV technology further, for use in CRRC’s environmentally-friendly Autonomous rail Rapid Transit (ART) transportation system.

The final production design of the aerospace-inspired Ren RS is derived from the Techrules Ren, now with a single cockpit layout and design modifications to improve aerodynamic and cooling efficiency. The lightweight carbon-fibre monocoque chassis has been strengthened and configured for single-occupant track use by revered motorsport specialist, L.M. Gianetti of Turin, who also developed the new design elements following extensive aerodynamic analysis.

The modular chassis design permits a variety of powertrain configurations, to provide the range and performance capabilities required by the customer. The flagship version – with a high-power 28.4 kWh Lithium-Ion Polymer battery and with two motors at the front and four at the rear – delivers maximum power of 960kW (1,287 hp / 1,305 PS) with a range of 1170 km from 80 litres of diesel fuel (NEDC).

As a result, the most powerful Ren RS will rocket from 0-100 kph in just 3 seconds, onto a top speed of 330 kph, delivering a unique blend of ultimate performance, brutal power and unparalleled efficiency.

The supercar will be available for track use only and delivered to an exclusive band of customers within two years. Techrules is in discussion with potential international automotive partners to form strategic alliances to assist with the production and launch of vehicles for markets around the world.

William Jin, the founder and CEO of Techrules, said: “The unique modular design of the Ren chassis and powertrain has enabled us to create a perfectly engineered high-performance track car and demonstrate our TREV technology in the most efficient way. We are working hard to grow our global capabilities in engineering and manufacturing and will soon reveal major joint ventures that will enable us to further develop our innovative technology for a wide range of commercial mobility and industrial applications.”


FURTHER DETAILS

Design enhancements for greater efficiency

The aerospace-inspired design of the preceding 2017 Ren supercar was developed by world-renowned automotive designers, Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro, with a unique three-seat Le Mans-style configuration. The new Ren RS has been developed further by L.M. Gianetti to create the more driver-focused single cockpit layout beneath the distinctive fighter jet-style canopy, which rises dramatically from the centre of the car to allow driver access.

The eye-catching design continues the aeronautical theme, with the ‘Turbo Jet’ decal reflecting the supercar’s exceptional drivetrain. The show-stopping exterior design of the Ren RS follows the classic design maxim of ‘form follows function’, with enlarged air intakes at the front designed to increase airflow through the radiators to improve cooling efficiency, without compromising the striking styling.

The depth of the front fenders above the wheels is as small as possible to reduce the frontal area, with vertical side panels and a squared-off rear minimising drag. The side of the car is smooth and simple, and in combination with the overall aerodynamic design elements, produces a pure, flowing profile, which is punctuated only by the turbine air intakes and the turbine exhaust vent.

At the rear, the large, configurable single-foil rear wing augments the already-excellent aerodynamic function, delivering a blend of stability and variable downforce to provide optimal high-speed aero-balance during braking and cornering. The wing has been designed by L.M. Gianetti to greatly improve downforce – the aerodynamic efficiency of the Ren RS is 3.36. The other enhancements contribute to a drag coefficient of just 0.43, despite the huge downforce generated.

Engineering enhancements to boost performance

L.M. Gianetti have also developed the lightweight carbon-fibre monocoque chassis to meet the demands of high-speed track racing. The overall torsional stiffness of the chassis has been increased to deliver a superior ride, superior handling and better response to driver input.

The chassis comprises a full carbon-fibre tub, similar to that used in the top echelons of motorsport, and high-strength aluminium alloy and steel components. The cockpit is topped by a protective steel motorsport-specification roll cage, chosen instead of an enclosed carbon monocoque to allow the upper structure to be specified for different race series if required.

The suspension, designed specifically for the car and manufactured by L.M. Gianetti, comprises a classic unequal length wishbone design at the front and rear. It is constructed of high strength tubular steel and Tig welded. The wishbones are designed to withstand the level of forces that would be experienced by GT3 racing cars.

Bespoke in-board, horizontally-mounted KW three-way adjustable coilover shock units are installed at the front and rear, and are connected to the wishbones by pushrods, similar to the configuration of a typical open-wheeled racing car.

Lightweight 380 mm carbon ceramic discs are fitted in conjunction with sixpiston calipers by AP Racing. The carbon ceramic discs save 30kg in total compared to equivalent cast iron units and are more durable in the intensive conditions of competitive racing.

Anti-roll bars are used front and rear and are mounted on the end plates. The front anti-roll bar system comprises an innovative geared system allowing it to be packaged into a small space.

Machined aluminium alloy side plates provide the housing for the motor reduction gearing and pickup points for the suspension. All-aluminium fittings are machined from billet 7075 grade T6 Aluminium alloy, which offers a lightweight solution and optimised resistance to corrosion.

The specially-developed traction control and torque vectoring systems enhance driving dynamics further through two performance modes – Race for full power output, or Standard for increased fuel efficiency. The ECU uses 30 sensors to ensure optimum power and torque is split between each wheel - relative to road surface conditions, driver skill and performance required.

This dedicated ECU assesses a variety of safety-related data – including speed, acceleration, steering angle and braking force – to determine what assistance is required to optimise the car’s performance.

Safety enhancements to meet FIA motorsport standards

An 80-litre FIA-certified ‘safety fuel bladder’ is housed beneath the floor to store the fuel that powers the recharging turbine, positioned centrally to create a perfect weight balance. The rupture-resistant tank is foam filled and designed to prevent significant fire even when damaged.

The aluminium end plates on the front and rear of the tub incorporate mounting points for the Air Jack system, with two jacks at the front and two at the rear, to lift the car quickly and safely for pit stops or routine maintenance.

Inside, the driver sits comfortably in a protective carbon fibre race seat, manufactured by OMP to FIA-approved standards. To comply with FIA regulations, a fire extinguisher and six-point harness are also included.

To further enhance driver safety, the Ren RS is fitted with an innovative Safety Canopy Ejection system inspired by aerospace engineering. Six actuators are mounted under the cockpit bubble and controlled by the ECU through accelerometers, to automatically open the roof in case of impact or unusual yaw or pitch rate, operating at temperatures from -65° to 70°.

The actuators are electric, rather than pyrotechnic, and therefore reusable 50 times. The bubble can also be ejected manually, using safety buttons located inside the monocoque for the driver, and on the exterior for race marshals to use in an emergency.

TREV technology delivers supercar performance and unprecedented efficiency

The Ren RS features Techrules’ patent-protected Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system. The series hybrid powertrain technology combines extensive experience of aerospace and electric vehicle technologies with several proprietary technical innovations to deliver unprecedented levels of efficiency and performance, with an ultra-low environmental impact.

Techrules first presented its TREV technology at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show in its GT96 and AT96 concept cars. The ground-breaking range extender system uses a turbine to drive a generator which charges the battery pack. This in turn, provides electricity to drive the traction motors. Unlike many previously developed turbine powertrain systems, there is no direct electrical feed from the generator to the electric motors in normal operation. Only when the battery is depleted can the turbine be used to propel the car.

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, and compressed before it is ignited. Ignition of the compressed and heated fuel-air mixture generates enormous energy which is channelled 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.

Techrules Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Jin, explains: “With electric vehicles, an electric motor is used to drive the wheels, which effectively frees the combustion engine to exclusively convert chemical energy into mechanical energy and finally into electric energy. This is a major breakthrough, making it possible for us to use the highly efficient turbine engine as a superb range extender on our vehicles.”

A modular drivetrain for multiple power outputs

The drivetrain can be configured with four or six axial flux, liquid-cooled electric motors manufactured by YASA in the UK. The four-motor set-up will drive all four wheels while the highest-power six-motor configuration has two motors for each rear wheel, and one for each front wheel.

Customers can choose from either one centrally-mounted high efficiency 30 kW turbine configuration, or a high-power density two-80 kW turbine set-up, with the turbines positioned either side to the rear of the cockpit.

The 28.4 kWh battery packs installed in the two lateral pods are designed and manufactured specifically for the Ren RS and incorporate battery management technologies that enable superior charging efficiency and power balancing between battery cells.

The battery management system (BMS) is integrated and designed to optimise the performance and life of the battery while ensuring absolute safety. There are three water cooling circuits for the motors, battery and inverter. A heat exchanger (radiator) pack is attached to the front aluminium chassis plate and the cooling circuits are supplied by six electric pumps also mounted on the front plate.

The resulting outputs from the various configurations available are:

Four motors = 640 kW / 858 hp (870 PS) 1,560 Nm / 1,150 lb ft
Six motors = 960 kW / 1,287 hp (1,305 PS) 2,340 Nm / 1,725 lb ft

Increasing global capabilities for micro-turbine recharging technology

Techrules is making significant investments to grow its own research and development capabilities. World renowned electric vehicle expert Prof Dr Ching Chuen Chan is leading a newly established Techrules R&D centre in Beijing. This facility is developing and testing core components for different types of turbines, as well as complete turbines for powertrains of commercial and passenger vehicles.

Professor Chan has a long list of merits. He is the founder of the Electric Vehicle Association, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in the UK and an academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Techrules is also developing partnerships with several major China-based global corporations. This follows significant interest in the micro-turbine recharging technology. Its weight-saving and range-extending capabilities making it ideal for a wide variety of automotive and non-automotive applications, including various industrial appliances in markets around the world.

In addition to the agreement with CRRC to develop the TREV technology for its Autonomous rail Rapid Transit (ART) equipment, other strategic partnerships are also being agreed. These will enable Techrules to develop its TREV powertrain for use in a variety of mobility solutions, including low-emission and fuel efficient public transport and light commercial vehicles.

A partnership with new-energy bus manufacturer Wuzhoulong Motors, will see buses powered by the TREV system, fuelled by clean natural gas. The newly developed buses will allow for more fuel-efficient air conditioning and remove the range limitations associated with pure electric buses.

A partnership is also being finalised with Shenzhen BAK Technology Co. Ltd, a global leader in battery research and development with five percent of the global lithium battery market. The companies will jointly develop logistics vehicles powered by the TREV system, to provide a capable and cost-effective light commercial vehicle with unprecedented range.

William Jin, Chairman of Techrules, said: “We have been working hard to establish major joint ventures with leading global companies to increase our international capability ahead of the launch of the electric REN supercar. We are also in advanced discussions with a number of potential new partners to form strategic alliances that will allow us to bring our cars to markets around the world and develop new products and commercial applications for our advanced propulsion system.”

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