It all started with the insane Ren supercar concept two years ago.
Exactly two years ago at Geneva, Chinese firm Techrules revealed its 1,287-hp Ren supercar concept, pictured here. Aside from its projected output and lack of conventional doors, what made the concept so unique was its Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system. This is an all-new patented hybrid powertrain technology that utilizes a turbine-generator.
According to the company, a production-ready version of this engine tech will be ready to go by the end of this year. The Ren concept was simply a design showcase body shell. The actual TREV system will be produced for automakers with the intended use in commercial and passenger cars. As of now, we don't know of any specific automakers who have signed on but don't be surprised if a fellow Chinese brand gets on board first.
So how does the TREV system actually work? It features a fuel-powered turbine engine that drives the vehicle's electric motors and recharges the batteries. Techrules claims this allows for a longer range compared to a typical battery-powered EV. Even diesel fuel can be used to power the turbine, thus eliminating the need for a separate charging infrastructure. It's compatible with renewable fuels such as biogas and ethanol which, according to chief technology officer Matthew Jin, will "smooth the transition from the age of fossil fuels to the age of electricity."
While the Ren concept has a twin 80kW turbine design, the mass production version will have a smaller and less expensive 15kW version, hence the company calling it micro-turbine technology.
"The development of the Ren supercar is giving us extensive real-world experience that only cements our belief that large scale adoption of micro-turbines in electric vehicles will herald a new age for electric mobility," Jin added. "Because of its superior efficiency, fewer batteries are needed for electric vehicles, saving significant weight and cost, while also reducing emissions and, ultimately, urban pollution."
At the moment, Techrules says discussions are at an "advanced stage" regarding the location of the world's largest micro-turbine production facility.