Jaguar had a golden chance of making the world’s jaw drop by producing the C-X75. But it has decided to pass. This was not the case with a Chinese company that liked the idea of having a turbine as a range extender for its electric supercar. This is how the GT96 and the AT96 were developed and presented at the latest Geneva Motor Show. The name of the company could not be more appropriated: Techrules.
The Chinese company has developed what it call TREV (Turbine Recharging Electric Vehicle). And given us the two examples we have already mentioned. The AT96 is a track-focused vehicle, while the GT96 is aimed for road use, even if in a similar way of Bugatti Chiron, Koenigsegg Regera and Rimac Concept_One, or else, a “super use”.
The cars are built over the same body. It is 4.65 m long, 2.03 m wide, 1.14 m tall and has a wheelbase of 2.66 m. Its curb weight is 1,380 kg, but Techrules aims to have the production car under 1,000 kg of dry weight. Since electric cars have few added liquids in order to work (possibly only brake fluid), we would be talking about almost 400 kg less than the current vehicles, or more than 30%. But the TREV needs fuel for the turbines.
Their battery pack is composed by 2,376 individual cylindrical cells of the 18650 kind. Instead of lithium-ion, they are made of lithium-manganese-oxide (LiMn). That gives the cars 20 kWh in a 760V system. That is not much and using only the charge of the batteries gives the car a 150 km range. Also not much. The secret of Techrules cars is the turbine.
According to the company, the TREV range extender offers more 1,850 km to the vehicles, bringing their total range to 2,000 km. Each of their engines weighs 13 kg and each car has 6 of them: 1 for each front wheel and 2 for each rear wheel. Their combined output reaches 768 kW and total torque is an absurd 8,600 Nm. That would make the car able to accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h in 2.5 s and to a top speed of 350 km/h due to an electronic restriction.
If only the battery energy was used, the cars would have a fuel economy equivalent to 0.18 l/100 km. If the TREV range extenders are put to work, that would increase to 4.8 l/100 km. About the same fuel economy of a common diesel-powered car. Or a very frugal petrol car.
The AT96 has a fuel tank for 80 l of aviation kerosene. AT stands for Aviation Turbine, which uses liquid fuel. It can use kerosene, petrol, diesel or any other liquid fuel . The GT stands for Gas Turbine, designed to work on biogas or natural gas. There is no information on the size of its gas cylinders.
If the cars may give you the impression that they are only theoretical products, that is not how Techrules intends to have them. The company, which is a subsidiary of Txr-S, a research company focused on new materials development, biogas production and aerospace technology, aims to bring them to market. They will have a small production (which Techrules does not detail) in order to fund high volume applications for cars in the B and C segments. And it makes perfect sense.
The Chevrolet Volt was also one car that could have benefitted from this strategy, using a smaller engine solely to generate electricity, but GM preferred to do it in another way. Having a combustion engine solely as a power generator allows the engine to work in its optimal conditions, producing more power at very low fuel consumption levels. That works the same way for the turbines, deemed as very efficient combustion engines (up to 60% of the chemical energy is converted to work).
This will make us pay very close attention to Techrules. In case it manages to put its cars for sale, we can expect very good news from them in the next few years.