There was a bit of confusion on our part regarding the Velozzi concept in Translogic Episode 1.2. Velozzi does plan to produce the plug-in hybrid sports car we showed, but the concept referred to in the video was actually developed by Capstone, a micro-turbine manufacturer. That car, dubbed the CMT-380, is configured similarly to Chevy's forthcoming Volt. It employs a fully electric drive system with lithium-polymer batteries and can be used strictly as an electric vehicle by plugging in to recharge. Capstone says the car could travel 80 miles on battery power alone, but that range can be extended by using its onboard micro-turbine. This 30-kilowatt unit runs on diesel fuel, acting as a generator to produce electricity to power the car's electric drive system rather than directly powering the wheels. Capstone says the car should do 0-60 mph in 3.9 seconds and achieve a top speed of 150 miles per hour. Velozzi says it will produce its own car with a larger Capstone micro-turbine rated at 65-kilowatts, mated to a 770-horsepower electric drive motor.

Turbines are simpler than piston engines, containing fewer parts, and are commonly associated with jet aircraft. They have a long history of use in electrical power generation, but haven't really made their way into vehicles in any large measure. Their most famous appearance under the hood came in a limited production run of Chryslers in the early 1960s.

Chrysler began experimenting with turbine power in the mid-1950's and the Turbine Car was actually the company's fourth-generation vehicle. Fifty of the cars were deployed for consumer testing, with more than 200 drivers logging three months behind the wheel. The four-person coupes resembled Ford Thunderbirds, and were fitted with turbine engines mated to a conventional drivetrain including a TorqueFlight automatic transmission. Chrysler rated the Turbine Car at 130 horsepower and 425 lb-ft of torque, and it could run on unleaded gasoline, diesel, kerosene or jet fuel.

Other notable turbine-powered vehicles included a series of GM Firebird concepts – not related to the Pontiac to later take that name -- developed in the 1950s. General Motors also built a special prototype of its EV1 electric that used a trunk-mounted, 40-kilowatt turbine in 1999.



For more details on how turbine engines work, hit up Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turbine
For more on the Chrysler turbine car, check out http://turbinecar.com/

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