When Jaguar showed their visionary C-X75 Concept at last year’s Paris Auto Show, I’ll admit that I had a hard time taking the car seriously. Sure, it was a stunner, but it was also shown as a non-functional turbine-electric hybrid, and history has not been kind to turbine powered automobiles. Remember the 1963 Chrysler Turbine Car? How about the GM Firebird Concept from 1953? Gas turbine engines may be ideal for vehicles like helicopters, but their complexity, power delivery and heat output make them less than ideal for road-going vehicles. I guessed that the C-X75 would never see production, but it turns out I was only half right.
Jaguar tells us that the C-X75 Concept will indeed see production, but in a more practical form. It will still have four electric motors rated at 195 horsepower each (for 780 combined horsepower), but those motors will get power from a generator driven by a more conventional internal-combustion engine. Onboard lithium ion batteries will give the car an estimated battery-only range of 31 miles, but with limited performance. If you want the full grunt when you drop the hammer, the car’s internal combustion engine will be required to provide maximum current to the electric motors. From an engineering perspective, you can think of the C-X75 as a Chevy Volt with three more motors and a lot more thrust.
As for performance, Jaguar says the production version will be good for a sub 3-second sprint to 60 MPH, on the way to a top speed of 200 miles per hour. You can feel good about rolling up to your Earth First! chapter meeting in a C-X75 as well, since the car will only produce 99 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer; just make sure the other members know that before they attack your car with sledgehammers. If you guessed that performance, technology and environmental consciousness comes at a price, you’d be right: Jaguar expects the C-X75 to sell for at least $1.2 million, and they’re only building 250 copies.
As for the gas turbine idea, Jaguar isn’t abandoning that just yet. You won’t see it in the production version of the C-X75, but you just might see microturbines powering a generator in future Jaguar models.
Source: Left Lane News