Bladon Jets, a developer of micro gas-turbine engines for cars and power generation, has raised £500,000 (US$782,000) in a recent funding round from members of the Oxford Investment Opportunity Network (OION), a European technology investment network. Bladon Jets is working with car manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover on the development of a micro gas turbine engine to operate in a plug-in hybrid car. (Earlier post.)
A Jaguar C-X75 super car incorporating two Bladon Jets micro gas turbines was unveiled at the Paris Motor Show and showcased at the Los Angeles Motor Show. (Earlier post.)
Bladon Micro-Jet Engines are 100% axial-flow, gas turbine engines that are suited for range-extending electric vehicles), the company says. In the case of the Jaguar C-X75, the vehicle’s range is extended to 900 kilometers (559 miles) on a single tank of fuel by using the Bladon Jet micro gas turbines.
There have been a number of attempts to use a turbine engine to power a car previously, but driving the wheels. This has a number of problems. Firstly, turbine lag, which is a short delay between you putting your foot on the accelerator and the power being delivered to the driving wheels, rather than the instant response you get from an electric engine, for example. And if you run turbines at a variety of speeds, particularly at low revolutions, they are not especially efficient. They are most economical when operating at a constant high speed—as they are when being used to generate electricity.— Bladon Jets finance director, Gary Lamb
Indian multinational Tata has recently announced that it is making an investment in Bladon Jets for a minority shareholding. Jaguar is now part of Tata Motors.