Fuel efficiency sucks. My driving instructor (who drove for Chrysler in the
Carrera Panamericana, and got on their list of 200 who got to temporarily
own one of the 50 cars) had one of the 1963 Chrysler Turbines. He said he
loved it except that you couldn't idle for long on asphalt (it melted the
asphalt <g>) and it was hell on fuel.
More recent engineering reports suggest that the fuel economy can be made
much better, but then it puts out huge amounts of NOx.
You just answered your question. <g> They finally got the seal-life problem
solved, but they never really solved the economy problem.
On Wed, 25 Feb 2009 13:10:45 -0800 (PST), email@example.com wrote:
Same thing with Gas Turbine Electric Locomotives - the "Big Blow"
engines had power to spare and walked up the steepest grades without
helper engines, but they were rather thirsty as compared to a regular
Diesel Electric. Union Pacific had a small fleet of them in active
service - they had one for testing in 1949, bought 10) 4,500 HP units
in 1952, 15) 4,500 HP in 1954, and 30) 8,500HP units in 1958. They
ran until 1970.
They only got used between Ogden UT and Council Bluffs IA - they
tried to run them between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles and got tons
of complaints about the noise.
They were economical to operate when they could buy "waste" Bunker
C oil cheap, because they only needed one or two turbine locomotives
per train rather than a half dozen regular diesels. When the plastics
industry started buying up the heavier oil fractions they got too
expensive to run, and besides they were having turbine blade problems
with all the crap in the low quality fuel oil eroding them.
And there were a few incidents where they stopped on a siding under
a concrete highway bridge with the engine idling, and boiled the
asphalt road surface clean off the bridge deck. Oops.
Bingo! A surprisingly small turbine running at a constant speed and
load charging the batteries. Series electric only, no "transmission"
direct connection - electric motors at each wheel. Lots of air path
treatment to muffle the noise, and special attention to exhaust
temperature and direction.
It's not restricted to gasoline or diesel fuel - a gas turbine can
run on lots of different fuels. Ethanol, Methanol, LNG or CNG,
treated vegetable oils, you name it.
And you can use the waste heat for adsorption to run the air
You want to push the idea of "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday"? Make
NASCAR change over to them - use two turbines for the racers, where
you only need one in a passenger car, that way they can limp into the
pits on one...
That'll get the research money spent on developing them into a
viable power source NOW. Detroit doesn't want Toyota embarassing them
in public - again...
--<< Bruce >>--
Even the latest rotary engines have the economy problem. The apex seals
are still not a long term item but they are much better than the earlier
Turbines likely won't be in consumer vehicles. Far to much maintenance
for the normal public.
I'm thinking that a small diesel mated to a generator system to power
individual wheel motors. Could make terrain adaptable vehicles interesting.
Well, I wouldn't try to calculate the losses, but conceptually it sounds
Did you ever see Volkswagen's "1-liter" car? They aren't referring to engine
size. They're referring to the amount of fuel it takes to go 100 km (that's
235 miles per US gallon). It's at the opposite end of the scale from their
certainly puts the gauntlet down for the american car industry doesnt
it, and the australian one, and the japanese one.
Volkswagen were taken from the brink of dissappearing by the guys
doing this engineering.
used worldwide these cars could give us a future with unlimited fuel
If I can ever buy one I will.
It's impressive, isn't it? The last I heard, which was last year, they were
still planning to put it into limited production in 2010. The plan is to
make a two-cylinder version, which won't match the mileage of the prototype,
but it will be revolutionary if it gets even half the mileage.
Yes, and you ever saw the old factory-backed Z&W Mazdas, which were tested
on a road near my home in Princeton, NJ, they were unbelievable.
Ray Walle of Z&W drove this RX-3 at Daytona and Mid-Ohio, which he used to
test on the same empty back road I drove to work. I had to be ready to head
for the ditch at all times. <g>
If you ported those things -- and it was like squaring the ports on a
two-stroke -- they turned into wild and crazy little beasts, with a
two-stroke type power curve that made the throttle sort of an on/off switch.
But they could go like hell.
I think I'm in that photo...the guy in the chase lounge with the cooler full
The guy I bought the '82 RX-7 from in '85 raced it nationally and did well.
I sold it back to him in 1999 for what I paid. He modified a bunch of
stuff, thus the 8mpg using Sunoco Ultra. Damn, that car was quick! I
out-ran cops on 2 occasions at over 130 mph. It had ground effects and a
wing, over 70 it would suck down about 2" and ride like a truck. The newer
ones are WAY out of my price range.
Yeah, they're a pricey car now.
Here's a funny story about Mazda racing: Ray Walle drove a Mazda Cosmo
(predecessor to the RX-7) from his dealership in Princeton to Daytona Beach
in '76; drove it in the Daytona 24 Hours and won his class, finishing 18th
overall; and then drove it home to Princeton.
They don't build them like that anymore.
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