• Nov 7, 2011
When you're partnering up to build a green vehicle, Kenworth and Peterbilt may not exactly be the first names that come to mind, but those over-the-road heavyweights are exactly the companies that Capstone Turbine is working with to generate new concepts. Working with these companies, Capstone expects to develop prototypes for both Class 7 (26,000-33,000 pounds) and Class 8 (over 33,000 pounds) range-extended series hybrid trucks.

In this freight-hauling plug-in hybrid design, Capstone's C65 microturbines will take the role played by a typical internal combustion engine in a vehicle like the Chevy Volt. The turbines provide extended range to the vehicle when electric power runs low, allowing the truck to continue to cover miles. When the driver parks the rig for the evening, the truck could be plugged in to charge the batteries, taking advantage of greater availability and lower rates for electricity.

Capstone states that the initial cost of a turbine engine tends to be higher than a comparable internal combustion model, but over time the turbine requires 70 percent less maintenance. Turbines are also expected to have much lower NOx emissions.

Kenworth has previously introduced both hybrid, and LNG models. Potential hybrid maker Velozzi has selected Capstone turbines for its SOLO sports crossover. In 2008, Peterbilt introduced a garbage truck using a hydraulic hybrid system. Read more in the press release after the break.
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Capstone Turbine Corporation Announces Hybrid Concept Truck Programs With U.S. Heavy Duty Truck Manufacturers Kenworth and Peterbilt

CHATSWORTH, Calif., Oct 17, 2011 -- Capstone Turbine Corporation (www.capstoneturbine.com) the world's leading clean-technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems, today announced that it is working with domestic heavy duty truck manufacturers Kenworth and Peterbilt to demonstrate Class 7 and Class 8 microturbine range extended series hybrid trucks.

During the recent Hybrid Truck User's Forum in Baltimore Maryland, it was announced that both Kenworth and Peterbilt are working with Capstone to demonstrate Class 7 and Class 8 microturbine range extended series hybrid trucks using Capstone's CARB certified C65 microturbines. Both vehicles are concept trucks intended to quantify the performance, efficiency, and economic benefits of a microturbine-based series hybrid solution. The Kenworth truck is operational and is currently running on the company's test track in Washington state, and the Peterbilt truck is being assembled.

"We're excited to partner with two U.S. based heavy duty truck companies in Kenworth Truck Company and Peterbilt Motors Company on exploring ways to integrate fuel-efficient microturbine technology into medium and heavy duty trucks," said Darren Jamison, president and chief executive officer of Capstone Turbine Corporation. "We are committed to provide cost-effective business solutions for operators in the trucking industry while also helping to reduce emissions. These programs are an important first in a several step process to potentially developing a commercially available microturbine based hybrid product in the next several years," added Jamison.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      EZEE
      • 21 Hours Ago
      Since it has a turbine, would it be too much to ask for flames to shoot out the back? Doesn't need to be continual - but just a good batman'esqe cone that shoots out when the truck takes off. I don't ask for much...
      Dave
      • 21 Hours Ago
      "When you're partnering up to build a green vehicle, Kenworth and Peterbilt may not exactly be the first names that come to mind" These two companies build vehicles that are much more efficient at moving cargo (less energy per ton mile) than a Prius or Leaf.
      Letstakeawalk
      • 21 Hours Ago
      Is this where I post that I am an investor in Capstone? That said, I think microturbines have many advantages over piston ICEs.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 21 Hours Ago
      : )
      BipDBo
      • 21 Hours Ago
      Jet powered electric trucks! Sometimes being green is awesome.
      poweredbylolz
      • 21 Hours Ago
      I can't believe these guys aren't bankrupt yet. They've been losing money for over a decade now. The stock has been run down to $1 and change.
        Chris M
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @poweredbylolz
        They actually produce products and sales, but so far only for stationary use as power generation and co-generation units. Their automotive research hasn't gotten past the testing stage, but it has the potential of being much bigger than the co-generation market.
      Nick
      • 21 Hours Ago
      Microturbines are interesting, but as far as I know, even the small ones consume more fuel than an ICE. Their only advantage is low weight/compact proportions. How about mounting solar panels onto big rig trailers, considering the huge surface, add a bigger battery and stop-start system...and a plug for nighttime power? That alone could make a huge difference.
      • 21 Hours Ago
      I don't understand why there is not more news about this dynamic new venture. This could sell a million C-65 type micro turbines and would directly compete with the big Caterpillar
      Dave
      • 21 Hours Ago
      I'll be curious to see the results of this experiment, but it sounds to me like a lot of effort and complexity for minimal return.
      Dan Frederiksen
      • 21 Hours Ago
      capstone tries a lot but until they develop a much lighter, cheaper and more efficient turbine they will never be relevant. their 29kW generator module is 76cm wide, 1.8m tall, 1.5m deep and weighs 400-600kg. and it costs a farm. plus they are quite noisy, see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmoD87THXzQ which is in stark contrast to battery drive. and I assume they throttle poorly efficiency wise which means you cycle battery and you have to turn it on and off unless you use very close to the rated power. they claim 25% electrical efficiency which actually isn't bad but contrast it to the prius style atkinson which toyota is claiming towards 40% efficiency on nowaday with a fairly wide power efficiency plateau. also the furious exhaust issue. it blows a lot. which is why the back hatch on the car has openings. the guy in the video says it's very cool and for the first 5 batman flash gordon minutes it may be but that sound and fixed power and huge exhaust gets really old very fast. it may sound like it has a megawatt of power but it's only 39 horses. computer says no
        EZEE
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @Dan Frederiksen
        And more aero. See...backing you up.... :)
      Peter
      • 21 Hours Ago
      Microturbines are light, and can approach diesel efficiency at high loads, which lends them to series hybrid use when weight is more important than cost, and low loads can be handled by the battery. However unless you are entering your truck in a land speed record, this suspiciously sounds like a solution in search for a problem. Its hard to compete with Rudolf Diesel for thermal efficiency of ICE. And no, the turbine drives a generator, or less commonly, through reduction gearing, drives a shaft.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 21 Hours Ago
        @Peter
        "Its hard to compete with Rudolf Diesel for thermal efficiency of ICE." If thermal efficiency was the only measure, then you might have a point. However, with a diesel engine, you're locked into a particular fuel. Turbines can run on various fuels quite easily. There's also the dramatic reduction in emissions, and a reduction in maintenance costs (both mentioned in the article). There is also a substantial reduction in noise pollution with a microturbine.
          • 21 Hours Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          no lubrication 10x the life of a ice. No transmission gears since it is electric drive.
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