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It's as close as we'll come to a Mr. Fusion for a long time. Project 1221 is an independently-funded project to develop a zero-emissions gas turbine powered vehicle.
They've released their yearly update, which offers scant information shrouded in obfuscatory nebulous prose. From what we can glean, they've hit a wall and are now actively seeking alliances for design, engineering and manufacturing assistance to help bring the project to successful fruition, having exhausted the extent of their expertise and experience. Perhaps outside involvement will move the project along at a greater clip.

The wild-card in the mix is the gas turbine powerplant. Chrysler did significant engineering work in the '60's and throughout the '70s (they even put a turbine in a Volare, what a fall from grace from powering jets), but the technology has been largely dismissed as being not viable for mass-produced automobiles. With a goal of zero emissions, complete combustion of fuel is a must.

Make the jump for the rest of the story.

Related posts:
Project 1221 updated
Project 1221 releases really bad pic
Project 1221 MF1 to make 1,500bhp
More Project 1221 details revealed

Turbines offer some significant fundamental advantages. They are simple and have relatively few moving parts. They're also smaller, lighter and more powerful than conventional engines. Turbines are capable of burning a wide range of fuels, and they burn quite thoroughly. A turbine powered by biofuels, be it cellulosic ethanol, biodiesel, or some flavor of veg holds new promise for emissions reduction and cutting ties to dino-based fuels. One of the issues with a turbine powerplant is that it costs more to implement, as there's the double whammy of high temperature exhaust and high rpm. Fuel consumption in the Space-Race days wasn't very compelling, but decades of advancement have reportedly made turbines nearly as efficient as reciprocators.

Before Project 1221 sees the light of day, there may be other conventionally powered sports cars that lift engineering from the project. They will be sold to provide a source of funding for the completion of Project 1221. We hope that when it rolls out, the turbine powered sports car has a better name. What's SAAB going to say? This thing really is born from jets.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is why I take Autoblog with a grain of salt when you give us an opinion. On January 8th, you guys loved Sync. Now, you're not that impressed. Which one is it? Are you sure Autoblog isn't run by Ford management?
      • 8 Years Ago
      See Chevy Volt concept NAIAS 2007.
      • 8 Years Ago
      James, I'm not tryin' to knock your idea, because it's a very good one (esp the motors in wheel hubs; seems like a great idea that just never takes off), but that's what some NYC buses do now: diesel motors that run at a constant rate (1500rpm if I remember correctly) and charge batteries which power motors that do the real moving of the bus. 50-75% increase in mileage, IIRC.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Liquid, you responding to me? (if not ignore the following)
      I may be wrong, but I think the Volt will only do about 40 miles before needing to either recharge or switch to gasoline-powered drive system. I propose basically an electric car with an on-board gas powered charger with a highly optimized efficiency.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Chrysler had alot of success with the turbine projects of the 60s and 70s. The advantages are many as mentioned above. Their biggest problem however (as it was for Pontiac before them) has always been excessive heat. No problem at 200+mph, but it becomes huge in slow or start and stop traffic. This will probably continue to be the major obstacle. It would require some sort of new type of heat dispersal unit. Probably something too impractical and expensive, but never say never. Anything can happen. The direction of the heat would probably have to be upwards, meaning the car will most likely start to fry the trees along the roadway especially during summertime.

      When speaking of the complete combustion of fuel being the primary factor for reduced emissions, there's a dirty little secret amongst environmentalists. Enviro wackos refuse to acknowledge that the auto industry has come extremely close to achieving complete combustion with the standard internal combustion engine. This is probably due to the religious fervor involved with the edict dictating the internal combustion engine being one of the worst scourges of man.

      This is probably the same reason there has been little recognition of the computerized multi cylinder control. This invention has made it so a vehicle the size and weight of a suburban can achieve 25 mpg on the highway. This makes the energy expended vs. work done ratio all the more extreme, making compacts and micro minis even less useful than they are already. The only acknowledgment from the EPA or the CAFE people has been to use it as an excuse to penalize (tax) a car company when a performance engine is used that can't take advantage of the technology.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Here's a hint for these guys: Don't use the turbine to drive the wheels.

      Use all-electric drive and make a small, single speed, maximumally optimized turbine to charge the batteries. With current hybrid technology (regenerative braking) and elimination of reciprocating engine weight (maybe 100-200 pounds, or 5-10% of car's mass), could probably get a Civic or Prius sized vehicle to 80-100 mpg. And have decent performance from the torque generated from the electric motor(s). Also look to the work being done to put the electric motor in the wheel hub.