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CMT-380: 240hp Hybrid-Electric Car Powered by Biofuel Microturbine

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The CMT - 380 hybrid-electric sports car powered by a low-emissions microturbine from Capstone

CMT-380 is the name of the newest hybrid electric concept car, built by 48 year-old Richard Hilleman, a former electrician at the Nuclear Test Site in Nevada, who is now Chief Creative Director for Electronic Arts, the video games company. The CMT-380 is powered by a microturbine, built by Capstone Turbine Corp.

The 240-horsepower electric does 0 to 60 in 3.9 seconds, and could easily compete with the newest Mercedes Benz AMG gullwing, or with the Lexus LFA coupe, that costs $375,000. Also, the CMT-380 is very sleek and light, made from carbon fiber. The ultra-low emissions of the CMT-380 could rival any hybrid car sold on the market today.

Capstone C30, the turbine behind the CMT-C380 is powered by diesel or biodiesel, and it works like a jet’s turbine. Capstone Turbines already shipped more than 5,000 of their microturbines around the world for powering offices, hospitals, hybrid electric buses and for any other industrial use. The 220-people company got a $48 million revenue last year, so their business model is profitable enough to sustain them.

Hilleman, the car’s creator, has already converted his Porsche 550 Spyder into an electric vehicle before thinking of using Capstone’s microturbine to make the hybrid car. He says: “I’ve been responsible for both scourges of the 20th century – nuclear devices and video games. Now this. […] I’m trying to be on the right side of time here, one of those rare cases where I can be politically correct and cool at the same time.”

The CMT-380’s fuel consumption can get 75 to 200 mpg, depending on the measurement standard, and its autonomy is of about 500 miles, of which 80 miles are traveled on batteries alone. The 30kW microturbine can charge them in about 1 hour if they’re completely depleted.

Hilleman isn’t going to make any further copies of his car, but instead he is open to selling the project to auto manufacturers. Capstone says their turbine now costs $30,000, but if put in mass production the price could get lower than $3,000. “Compared to a small gas engine, it’ll cost more and be noisier for an automotive application,” said Jake Fisher, senior engineer for Consumer Reports’ auto test track, who looked at the CMT-380 at the L.A. Convention Center. “Engines are cheap. They’re out there. They’re proven. And they’re efficient. It’ll be hard to compete with them in the near term.”

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