Electric and hybrid motorhome update

August 2, 2010 by Bob Difley · 10 Comments  
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By Bob Difley

Capstone Turbine Corporation, that calls itself  “the world’s leading clean technology manufacturer of microturbine energy systems” announced that they will embark on an eco-friendly project with a major producer of heavy duty trucks that “will utilize a Capstone 65kW microturbine as a clean, efficient range extender in a hybrid electric drive system.”

“The electric hybrid vehicle market is in a significant growth phase, with essentially every manufacturer of trucks, buses and automobiles looking for the right solution to serve their customers. Capstone’s microturbine technology offers many benefits for these applications, including our extremely low emission levels that meet the most stringent CARB and EPA 2010 requirements without any exhaust after-treatment,” said Darren Jamison, Capstone President and CEO.

The Capstone press release also stated, “The Capstone microturbines are able to operate on traditional liquid fuels such as diesel and biodiesel but can also utilize alternative fuels such as natural gas without sacrificing efficiency.”

This is another example of how manufacturers and inventors are experimenting with electric and hybrid drives, and  starting to move to heavy duty vehicles, which would be suitable for large motorhomes, and maybe tow vehicles also. I wonder how long it will be before these types of innovations prove themselves–and filter down to the RV market.

Porsche-918-SpyderHowever, you may not have to wait that long before you can purchase the perfect toad to pull behind your microturbine hybrid motorhome. Porsche announced that they intend to go forward  with production of the Porsche Spyder 918 as they are closing in on the 1,000 firm orders they said they needed to  proceed.

The Spyder is a plug-in hybrid supercar that will accelerate from 0-60 in 3 seconds, tops out at 198 mph, gets a whopping 16 miles on electric only, has a maximum fuel efficiency of about 78 mpg, and a combined 718 horsepower.   What more could you ask of a toad? Maybe a little less than its $650,000 price tag.

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10 Responses to “Electric and hybrid motorhome update”

  1. Joeseph on August 2nd, 2010 3:40 pm

    On Capstone – 65kw is around 87HP. Good luck on the hills. There has to be something missing here.

    On the Porche – does it tow 4 down?

  2. Adamant on August 2nd, 2010 5:51 pm

    Hybrids operate with electric motors driving the vehicle off of battery power or a combination of battery/drive motor. The turbine only has to replenish the juice used by the electric motor unless it’s geared through a CV transmission or something like that to supplment the batteries under heavy load.
    Now, energy is energy, so climbing a big hill for a long time will have to be something figured into the battery storage/usage equation.
    Our Lexus Hybrid has two 68kw motors (front/rear) and can operate a while w/o the motor, but not much – but I’ll tell you it has the torque and quickness that is staggering!

  3. Manuel Enos on August 3rd, 2010 7:08 am

    Having been a SUBMARINER most of my Naval career, I can understand the power derived from electric motors – there is nothing as strong!! However, you have to have a POWER source and it ain’t gonna happen in todays world. Can you imagine the size of the batteries needed to power a 40-45 foot motorhome that ways in unloaded at 30 to 50 thousand pounds unloaded//!! People can blow smoke all they want about the great green economy and what it will do for us – Wow!! I am not from Mo, but show me and I will believe!!

  4. Geoffrey Pruett on August 3rd, 2010 10:06 am

    Being a retired technician the less carbon producing items have been of interest since the 1950″s for me. That said an effective (as against efficient only) hybrid RV stystem will require a few more increases in storage systems. Pushing a brick down the road still needs brute power which can be provided with current motors, but storage good for more than a few uphill miles is still in the wish it worked stage. Efficient fuel power plants are available, think of the Honda/Yamaha alternator/ true sine inverters in use in camp grounds and job sites all over the world, but an RV sized one is still large and will use larger amounts of fuel as is must be able to push the vehicle past the stored power uphill when needed. The first effective(actually usable at will) Chassis will probably be battery pack, motor generator & solar panel combo units and hill climb ability will depend on weather conditions. None of the needed development is beyond USA skills but the needed R&D is most unlikely to be done here as while our government talks about developing new technology, charging off the costs of something that will not produce a profit for the investors is limited by stock holder demands, short sighted tax policy and the government assisted program to ship R&D off shore. Expect the first usable chassis to say “designed in Hong Kong or New Deli” as that is where it is cheaper to get new ideas developed. It would take a CEO with a “damn the torpedoes” attitude of Macrosofts Bill or Apples Steve to push an investor owned company into this market.

  5. hoppe on August 4th, 2010 6:55 am

    I think some of us may be reading/designing a bit extra into the system. Seems like I heard somewhere that the Railroads are developing something called a DieselElectric locomotive? Also read about some OpenPit Haulers that were DieselElectric. Perhaps we are thinking too much of sleeping in a Prius instead of a truck/train application? Batteries might only be used for power leveling and instant demand situations instead of long pulls? The turbine part might be the cleaner emissions objective. We might not even need the turbine if we could get the diesel in grades used in Europe where the TurboDiesel cars are the fastest most OMG models of the line-ups.

    Just a thought. Since the Oil Companies seem to feel that #1 diesel is the best they pump here, and that only in the winter!

  6. hoppe on August 4th, 2010 6:58 am

    We are wishing for a plug-in golf cart application with dragster performance?

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    broyhill furniture…

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  8. Dusty on July 3rd, 2011 6:39 pm

    I’m not sure were worried in the right direction. Sure we build or buy cars that take tons of carbon out of the air and the aircraft builders make one more plane and the airlines buy the new one and move the older ones to shorter routes. But they son’t retire them, because they already own them and they can still fly and make money … and pollution. Until everybody is seriously working on the problem there will be no solution.

  9. Sherry on September 30th, 2011 11:18 am

    Wonderful progress … exciting news! I will be RVing full-time in less than a year and news like this is very encouraging. Thanks for sharing and God bless all! :)

  10. gmt on January 24th, 2012 7:46 pm

    hybrids are coming,check out the latest