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TEBA NEWS #234
Current Hybrid vehicles such as the popular Prius by Toyotaare changing the automotive landscape as fuel prices escalate.However, this is a very crude example of what is possible usingthe hybrid system first proposed and detailed by Tesla. It hasrecently been reported that if total energy inputs are considered,between a gas guzzling Hummer and the more energy intensivemanufacturing and material costs, including battery replacement,of the Prius, lifetime energy consumption is approximately thesame. This equation changes completely, however, when ahybrid is built to the completeTesla spec.
Volvo came the closestwith its: Environmental Con-cept Car, or ECC. It en-abled the high performanceVolvo 850 to achieve a dou-bling of mileage; comparable tothat of the smaller Prius. Thisis even more impressive whenit is considered that Volvodoubled the weight of the 850,with batteries; required to meet the then pending, Zero Emis-sions requirement of the California legislature. Despite thisdoubling of weight, the performance of what is a high perfor-mance stock vehicle increased dramatically in the hybrid mode.
Volvo employed a specially built conventional gas turbineas a power plant to achieve this. Conventional turbines are notpractical for automotive applications, however, because of theircost, complexity and safety considerations. These problems areresolved if the Tesla Turbine engine were to be employed.The Tesla turbine is simple and low cost while being the safesttype of turbine. The only turbine that self regulates over speedwhen unloaded, instead of runningaway to explosion, as does a con-ventional bladed turbine.
It is also, as documented inthis newsletter, the only type ofturbine that can ingest solids with-out damage. This includes dirtywater. Water injection can beused with conventional turbines todrastically increase thermal effi-ciency, but with a conventional type it must be ultra pure. Butwater can be used for up to half the fuel volume and thereby thepotential to again double mileage! Highly purified water is veryexpensive, however, limiting its use with the conventional ma-chine to special applications. Not so with the Tesla type.
The Tesla turbine is the only type that is, by its nature, aflywheel, allowing for non-battery energy storage. The promiseof high speed composite flywheels has been made for many adecade now but always seems to be five years away. The onlyproven commercial flywheel technologies are those that employmetallic mass and speed for storage. The Tesla turbine is inher-ently a metallic flywheel which stores energy in the same way.
Multiple fuels can be employed with all turbines but theTesla can even ingest heavy crude and bunker fuels that destroya conventional type. This means refining could be scaled backwith a huge reduction in total emissions. The Tesla turbine engine
Tesla Turbo/Electric Hybrid Designcan even burn dirty waste oils, at extremely high temperatures,thereby detoxifying this waste while powering the vehicle. TheTesla turbine could even run on powdered coal!
When not in use it could feed power into the grid with verylittle wear and tear, making a decentralized power system areality. So unlike the Prius the complete Tesla hybrid beatsthe Hummer hands down.
Volvo almost got it right! But they lacked knowledge ofthe Tesla turbine which would make it economic. Following is
a historical piece describingVolvos valiant efforts.
Popular Science Automotive Newsfront
February 1993In an ingenious hybrid,
Volvo has revived the gas tur-bineusing it to charge batteriesthat power an electric tractionmotor (ed: Tesla 3phase). TheVolvo Environmental ConceptCar (ECC), a full-size sedan
based on the Volvo 850, tops 100 mph using hybrid drive, runsup to 415 miles without refueling, and gets 45 mpg at a constant55 mph, all while easily meeting 1993 California emissions re-quirements. Hybrid drive uses a low-output electric motor forsilent, zero-emissions city driving and a gas or diesel engine forcruising to overcome the limited range and performance of pureelectric drive. It also sidesteps the potential pollution caused byfuel-burning power stations.
The ECC uses a hefty full-time 95-hp electric motor and arelatively small 120-volt nickel-cadmium battery pack kept at peakcharge by a gas turbine generator. Volvo design director PeterHorbury explains the reasoning behind the system:
Compared with piston en-gines, gas turbines with continuouscombustion have far lower emis-sionsaided by much higher burntemperaturesgiving more com-plete combustion. For a given out-put, they are lighter and more com-pact as well as vibration-free.
In the ECC, a 55-hp enginerunning at 50,000 rpm powers a
40-kilowatt generator (ed: Tesla high frequency) in a neat packageoriginally designed at the Royal Institute of Technology inStockholm. The generator, running on a common shaft with theturbine, is specially designed for such high speeds. Its high-voltagealternating current output is first converted to direct current suit-able for battery charging, then back to alternating current to powerthe synchronous traction motor.
There are three operation modes selected by push buttons.For zero emissions in urban traffic the driver can choose pureelectric. Fully charged, the batteries are good for about a 50-milerange. In the hybrid mode, the electronic management systemautomatically starts the gas turbine if the batteries are low or whena sharp power demand is beyond their available capacity.
For maximum power in an emergency situation, the driverpresses the gas turbine button. If the batteries are fully charged,however, he gets a visual warning to switch to hybrid operation,confirming turbine shut down and return to automatic mode.
TurbineShould beTesla Type
BatteriesElectric Power to Batteries
Electric Power to AC Drive
Environmental Concept Car
In Its Class!