Capstone Supercar CMT-380 Extreme Modification

Capstone Supercar CMT-380

The Capstone CMT-380 was the surprise basement find of the LA Auto Show.The Capstone CMT-380 is essentially a prototype show car designed to highlight the technology and products available from Capstone Turbine Corporation. The concept for the high performance hybrid electric microturbine vehicle was developed by Electronic Arts (EA) Chief Creative Director Richard Hilleman.
Capstone Supercar CMT-380

After working on the car for four years, inventor Richard Hilleman was the man of the hour as he fielded questions about his unusual microturbine-lithium-ion hybrid powertrain fitted to a GTM Supercar kit body. It may still be in the test phase, but Capstone claims that the car can reach a top speed of 150mph, and is able to sprint from zero to 60mph in just 3.9 seconds.
The CMT-380 features an unusual hybrid drivetrain which uses one of Capstone's new C30 (30-kilowatt) microturbine engines to extend the range of the primarily electric powered vehicle. The turbine can be run on either diesel or biodiesel.
Capstone Supercar CMT-380

The CMT-380 features lithium-polymer battery cells that can be charged at home or at a public recharging station. While driving, the CMT-380 can operate on 100 percent battery power in zero emissions mode for a range of up to 80 miles. When the batteries reach a predetermined 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. Hilleman has owned an electric vehicle – a converted Porsche 550 Spyder – for at 15 years and has constantly upgraded it. The EV used to have just 30 hp with lead acids but now uses lithium ferrous batteries and has 200 hp. The 100-mile range hasn't changed, though, and so he knew it was time to build a hybrid. He decided on Capstone's diesel microturbines as the range extender.
Capstone Supercar CMT-380

He knew he could rely on them – they've been used in buses for years – but there was still the challenge of fitting the unit into a car like this. Hilleman built the CMT-380 just for himself, but Capstone is happy to show it off as a proof of concept vehicle. It would be too pricey to put into mass production (Hilleman estimated he put in about $375,000 hours of work), but it's not impossible that a high-end, expensive, limited production run could be made some day.
Capstone Supercar CMT-380

Right now, Hilleman is really happy with his creation. He especially loves the sound of the vehicle. Three feet to the side of the car, the microturbine puts out about 87 dB, but in the cabin, it's nearly silent. California law might require him to add a muffler, but it's already quiet enough without one. He's got a solution for that problem, should he need it.
The chassis and bodywork of the Capstone CMT-380 are borrowed from the Factory Five GTM kit sports car, and modified to accept the hybrid drivetrain.
Capstone Supercar CMT-380

"Capstone's CMT-380 is just now finishing up the conceptual design and first article testing stage," said Darren Jamison, Capstone President and CEO. "We plan to finalize very soon a limited production plan, in part, based on interest received at the [2009] 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," added Jamison.
 
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