I have a confession to make.  I like to know things.  No, not just that.  I like to have actual expertise about different subjects.  So I tend to ask a lot of questions, amass some knowledge, and go out into the world a little smarter than before.  Usually, I’ll put my foot in my big mouth, screw up, and crawl meekly back to my hole to start learning all over again.

However.  The more you know, the more you know you don’t know, and that’s getting ingrained in my brain as I go out and learn more about SMV and green automotive technology.  I really just don’t know much at all, but I’m working hard at figuring it all out.

So when resident mechanic Andy handed me the latest edition of Diesel Power and told me to read the article about the “Diesel Electric Supercar,” I was all over it.  I love to read.  I was going to own that article.

Yeah, right.

So it is now with great humility (and lots of extra research) that I can tell you what the article was about: the Capstone CMT-380 supercar, which is essentially a Ford GT40 kit car with a Capstone C30 microtubrine. Basically, the car is a hybrid of sorts: it runs on an electric motor (which has a range of about 80 miles) that can be plugged in or recharged with a diesel microturbine, which will kick in to run the vehicle when the electric motor is run down to a predetermined amount.  Take a look at this ad about the car.

Capstone says that the car produces very low emissions and meets the toughest emissions standards.  It has a range of about 500 miles (although can supposedly get about 210 mpg in a special testing mode) and can run off all kinds of fuels, including unprocessed waste gases.  The micorturbine has no liquid lubricants – it’s totally air-cooled and air-lubricated.

And because it’s a supercar, the prototype gas a top speed of 150 mph and can go from naught to sixty in under four seconds.


Capstone's microturbine

Capstone’s microturbines are already installed in buses and other kinds of transportation, as well as other types of industry.  The idea is pretty neat.  I can find one main thing it really has going for it: simplicity.  The process seems elegant compared to what’s underneath other hybrid hoods.  But nowhere, except in various comments I found, could I find a mention of price.  While Capstone says it has no interest in creating commercial cars for mass production, price (especially now) plays a huge role in consumer decisions.

So this car, like many other concept cars, is pretty cool.  But where is it going?  That’s the big question for a lot of these technologies.  Any ideas?