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Capstone completes track testing of Kenworth microturbine-powered hybrid electric Class 7 truck

Capstone Turbine Corporation successfully completed track testing of a Kenworth Class 7 hybrid electric work truck using its 65kW microturbine as an on-board range extender. (Earlier post.) The successful track testing confirmed both high-speed performance as well as operation on 20% grades.

The Kenworth Class 7 work truck features a Capstone C65 microturbine that is installed onboard and operates on compressed natural gas. The microturbine acts as a range extender to charge an onboard 47 kWh Li-Ion battery pack, which in turn provides power to the electric traction motors that propel the truck.

Microturbine Powered Class 7 Hybrid Work Truck

The joint development program with Kenworth Truck Company is funded in part by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District.

The objective of this program is to demonstrate the considerable fuel economy benefits, lower emissions and significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of a microturbine-powered delivery or work vehicle. Electric vehicles are excellent for the environment, but the ability to save money from improvements in fuel economy is critical to making these vehicles both sustainable and cost-effective. Working with Kenworth has been very beneficial for Capstone to further develop our technical and market expertise in applying our technology to hybrid electric vehicles.

—Darren Jamison, Capstone’s President and Chief Executive Officer

The truck is fitted with a refrigerated box body that uses electric power to provide payload cooling while on the road, thereby eliminating the need to operate a separate diesel engine generator set with its associated fuel consumption and additional emissions. The drivetrain is sized for urban delivery cycles but is capable of achieving significant highway speeds as well.

Capstone has developed simulations to compare a microturbine-powered hybrid electric vehicle’s fuel economy, NOx and CO2 emissions to a conventional diesel-powered truck drivetrain operating on city and rural delivery cycles.

Simulated results for low-mileage urban delivery routes indicate diesel equivalent truck miles-per-gallon could be as much as three times higher for the microturbine hybrid, with a corresponding reduction in greenhouse gas of 65% and a reduction of NOx by more than 90%. Capstone plans to begin customer demonstration testing later this year as well as additional drive cycle testing to confirm predicted performance.



Sounds good but a well tested 65 KW PEMFC could operate cleaner and with a lot less noice.


San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District
If you want clean air don't use combustion.
Reform bio fuels on the truck for a fuel cell.


This looks like a re-packaged 2010 TROLZA ECObus-5250 which also has a C65 Capstone MicroTurbine, except now with a larger 47 kWh Li-Ion battery pack.
Probably still not cost effective. The real competition are BEV.
Cummins who knows a lot about truck engines just introduced an all-electric truck called the Concept Class 7 Urban Hauler EV with a 140kWh battery and a 100 mile range. Cummins also said that its EV would have a optional diesel-engine generator that could extend the range of the battery to 300 miles.
In Europe, Lithium Storage GmbH has the E-LKW an electric conversion of an 18-ton Truck (IVECO based) with a 240 kWh battery and a 250-350 km range.


It will take 10++ years before batteries are improved enough to increase heavy truck range significantly.

Meanwhile, a 300+ KW battery pack and a small FC could produce enough electrons to extend range to 500+ miles?

MJ Grieve / AHEAD Energy 501c3

Efficiency and emissions are the downfall of the Microturbine range extender.

A gasoline, propane or natural gas internal combustion engine (ICE) can easily and robustly meet near-zero emissions and can exceed 45% fuel to mechanical. Add series/parallel transmission and efficient highway cruises and charge sustaining operation become straightforward.

My understanding is that a C65 is only about 30% efficient and while emissions are low, NOx and HC emissions are much higher than the near-zero potential of spark ignition engines with state-of-the-art 3-way catalysts.

The ICE is hard to beat for higher power plug-in hybrids. SOFC hybrids are the emerging alternative for range extension in urban/low average power electric vehicles...

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