Microturbine-powered hybrid supercar to debut in Los Angeles

Microturbine maker Capstone launches a hybrid sports car at the Los Angeles Auto Show to demonstrate its technology.

Captsone CMT-380
The CMT-380 serial hybrid sports car is built on a Factory Five Racing kit car platform. Capstone

In an unlikely alliance, Capstone, manufacturer of electricity-generating microturbines, and Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director Richard Hilleman have built a hybrid sports car for the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. The CMT-380 uses an electric power train with a range-extending diesel-fueled microturbine. A lithium polymer battery pack gives the CMT-380 80 miles of pure electric range, and the microturbine generates power for an additional 500 miles.

The car itself is built on a kit car platform, the Factory Five Racing GTM supercar. Capstone cites performance figures of 3.9 seconds to 60mph and a 150mph top speed. Impressively, the microturbine burns its fuel so cleanly that no catalytic converter or other exhaust treatment is needed for the car to meet California's Air Resources Board emissions requirements.

Not the first name that comes to mind in the automotive industry, Capstone has been making microturbines for stationary facilities and hybrid public transport vehicles since 1988. The microturbine in the CMT-380 is the company's smallest, generating 30 kilowatts. Capstone claims many benefits of its microturbine technology over an internal combustion engine, such as compact size, low maintenance, and efficient operation.

But forget buying your own CMT-380. Capstone says it may build a limited number based on interest at the Los Angeles Auto Show, but the car really serves as a demonstration of microturbine technology. Capstone will look for interest in the technology from automakers.

About the author

Wayne Cunningham reviews cars and writes about automotive technology for CNET. Prior to the Car Tech beat, he covered spyware, Web building technologies, and computer hardware. He began covering technology and the Web in 1994 as an editor of The Net magazine. He's also the author of "Vaporware," a novel that's available as a Nook e-book.

 

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