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Old 7th October 2014, 09:33   #1
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Default Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

i just came across this article http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20141...ed-fedex-truck

Its an interesting concept, having a small jet turbine drive a generator that subsequently powers an electrive drive system.

Here is a little bit more on the technology:

http://wrightspeed.com/products/the-route/#features

They claim it is more environmental friendly than pure electrical cars, who get their electrical charge from the main grid. I can't really comment on that, but they do claim very substantial fuel efficiency gains over conventional drive trains.

They seem to be targetting the delivery/gargage collection type of truck, or basicly anything with lots of start/stops and of course those are very detrimental for FE on conventional combustion engines.

Having a jet turbine drive a generator means you can have it running at maximum efficiency more or less all the time.

I don't think there is anything really new in the various components they are using, but the whole packabe appears quite innovative.

Will be interesting to see how this one develops,

Jeroen
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Old 7th October 2014, 14:43   #2
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

Thread moved to the Commercial Vehicle Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 7th October 2014, 17:55   #3
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
...I don't think there is anything really new in the various components they are using, but the whole packabe appears quite innovative.
Wrightbus has already done something very similar - the New Bus For London, called the New Routemaster

The powerplant is a Cummins ISBe 4.5L turbodiesel, that runs at a constant RPM, powering a generator. The generator charges the batteries, which power the electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The diesel engine is turned on only when the batteries are low on charge.

I do agree that the Route, based on a micro-turbine, is one step ahead - it has a small turbine engine which runs cleaner and quieter than conventional IC engines.
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Old 7th October 2014, 22:40   #4
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

In the age where we are trying to make vehicles light, does such a system need to be used?

The answer is YES!

Just when I kept thinking that the IC engine will not die easily as the commercial trucks need to keep driving and won't have time for recharge, this comes up. Smart thinking I must say.
This kind of drive train already is used in ships and trains where diesel generators run at a constant speed, powering a generator in turn.

One serious question is about power to weight ratio. Aren't these systems too heavy for vehicles on road?

I mean, someone would have tried to implementing this to a truck a few years back and would have found it not to be feasible, else we would have seen diesel-electric trucks now!
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Old 8th October 2014, 00:14   #5
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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In the age where we are trying to make vehicles light, does such a system need to be used?

I mean, someone would have tried to implementing this to a truck a few years back and would have found it not to be feasible, else we would have seen diesel-electric trucks now!
Time will tell, but a jet turbine is extremely light an small compared to a diesel engine, if you compare weigh per HP for instance, or m3 per HP. Of course, there is more batteries etc, but in all weight doesn't seem to be an overriding concern here.

We have been trying to shed weight in essence to get better FE. But FE on say a garbage truck or a delivery truck is very different from FE on your family saloon. A garbage truck does endless stop and goes. And also, this package delivers quite a punch in terms of acceleration. So basically the whole equation changes.

Might even be a little bit more heavy, but the FE could still increase spectacularly as well as drivability. That's what true innovation does. A true game changer.

Jeroen
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Old 8th October 2014, 01:01   #6
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
i just came across this article http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20141...ed-fedex-truck

Its an interesting concept, having a small jet turbine drive a generator that subsequently powers an electrive drive system.
I've built a proto of this exact same system (Ofcourse not upto this much detail) about 6 years ago while I was studying my masters.. Weird how people think on similar grounds.

Last edited by GTO : 8th October 2014 at 15:05. Reason: Please quote ONLY the relevant bits of a post. Quoting a full, long post inconveniences our mobile readers.
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Old 8th October 2014, 09:07   #7
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I've built a proto of this exact same system (Ofcourse not upto this much detail) about 6 years ago while I was studying my masters.. Wierd how people think on similar grounds.
Interesting, what were the results, were you able to get a more efficient system?

I don't think it is strange that people explore similar concepts. Because everybody departs from the same given current state of technology. And even new technology is still bound by the same physical laws and limitations. I'm not so sure how much real new technology they are using here, looks more a new combination of various known bits and pieces. Still, pretty impressive. The other thing of course is that it is one thing to have a briliant idea/concept, but it is a completely different matter altogehter to make it into an commercial viable product/solution and actually make a business out of it.

In fact history has shown us plenty of cases where superior technical solutions lose out to commercially better thought through concepts of a less technical quality.

True engineers make lousy businessmen! (and vice versa I suppose)

Jeroen
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Old 8th October 2014, 18:42   #8
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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Interesting, what were the results, were you able to get a more efficient system?
Jeroen
Even I'm curious to know if the new system that stuntfreak had developed was a more efficient one with due consideration to the kind of tests that it was subjected to as well.

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In fact history has shown us plenty of cases where superior technical solutions lose out to commercially better thought through concepts of a less technical quality.

Jeroen
True. But that's a catch-22 as well I guess - unless the technically superior solution proves to be viable commercially, manufacturers won't embrace it. And unless manufacturers mass market it (and it proves to be a success), it will not become viable commercially.

I guess cases in point would be the electric cars (E2O/Reva) and the hydrogen fuel cell powered ones.
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Old 8th October 2014, 21:47   #9
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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Originally Posted by Jeroen View Post
i just came across this article http://www.bbc.com/autos/story/20141...ed-fedex-truck

Its an interesting concept, having a small jet turbine drive a generator that subsequently powers an electrive drive system.

Here is a little bit more on the technology:

http://wrightspeed.com/products/the-route/#features
Jeroen
I read an article on this quite some time ago.
The Micro-Turbine is Capstone make, with revolutionary "air bearings". They do not need lube oil and hence entire lube oil system is eliminated. (I am not sure for the electric generator).
They are supposed by "range extenders" for the electric drive - default is battery.

There is a video on this youtube under Capstone channel :
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Old 9th October 2014, 09:12   #10
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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There is a video on this youtube under Capstone channel :
Nice video, thanks. The guy says specifically that there is no cooling system, but I can still see what is very clearly a radiotor sitting just in front of the turbine. Wonder what that is used for, not for the turbine, obviously.

Jeroen

Last edited by Rudra Sen : 13th October 2014 at 16:00. Reason: removing video link
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Old 9th October 2014, 11:08   #11
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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The guy says specifically that there is no cooling system, but I can still see what is very clearly a radiotor sitting just in front of the turbine. Wonder what that is used for, not for the turbine, obviously
For the aircon, probably?
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Old 9th October 2014, 11:16   #12
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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For the aircon, probably?
Maybe, but that is one big radiator!

Jeroen
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Old 16th October 2014, 22:27   #13
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Default Re: Wrightspeed's electric powertrain + microturbine: For commercial vehicles

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Maybe, but that is one big radiator!

Jeroen
Very cool technology! I wonder when something like this would become available in India. Rather, when this technology might become economically feasible.

I think the radiator is to cool the motors, motor drives and possibly, the alternator. All the above need cooling and air-cooling is not a practical option because of dust accumulation.

IIRC, Tata had invested in a French company that was developing a compressed air motor for vehicular application. I presume that must have died quiet death.
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