Jaguar’s million-dollar-plus C-X75, like Porsche’s 918, is the stuff modern auto enthusiast dreams are made of. Who wouldn’t want an automobile that delivers supercar levels of performance with hybrid-like fuel economy and carbon dioxide emissions?
Like the Porsche 918, Jaguar’s C-X75 is being put into production. Unlike Porsche’s uber-hybrid, however, Jaguar will build two variants of C-X75, including a conventional plug-in hybrid using a Williams F1-developed four-cylinder turbocharged engine, lithium-ion batteries and a pair of electric motors.
The second version of the C-X75, however, is far more interesting. Power will come from both lithium ion batteries and a pair of gas-fired microturbines, driving an electric motor at each wheel. This C-X75 variant will sprint from 0 - 62 mph in 3.4 seconds, and it’s said to have a top speed of over 200 mph.
Compared to the gasoline-powered generator in the Chevy Volt or Fisker Karma, the microturbines have significant advantages. First, they weigh only 77 pounds each, so the pair weighs significantly less than a conventional engine. They’ve got fewer moving parts, and they don’t require conventional water cooling or lubrication systems, either.
These microturbines are now one step closer to reality, as Tata, Jaguar’s parent, has opened a new factory in Coventry to build microturbines for the C-X75. Called the Bladon Jets Engineering Center, the facility’s 15 employees will be responsible for the production and testing of the turbines.
If the concept proves to be both practical and cost-effective, it could potentially change the way we power automobiles in the not-too-distant future. Here’s hoping that Jaguar finds a way for the technology to trickle down to more affordable vehicles.
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