A Funding Announcement

This year is an important anniversary for Jaguar and they, appropriately, started it out with a bang. Supported by the Heritage Trust and Jaguar Cars, Jaguar showcased their iconic ‘works team’ in the 2010 Mille Miglia revival event in Italy to celebrate their most prestigious models.

However, Jaguar hasn’t only been looking to the past this year – they are also preparing for a ground-breaking future.

In a recent press release, Jaguar Land Rover proudly announced that they have received governmental funding to help them speed up the development of technologies that will significantly reduce CO2 emissions. Since this funding was awarded to them, they have started 16 new development projects, including a Turbine Hybrid Jaguar that is causing a considerable stir among consumers as they await a glimpse of the expected prototype.

Compared to Past Turbine Cars

A turbine propulsion system was tried by Chrysler a few years ago, with their Turbine Coup line, but their cars had problems. The throttle lagged, there were high exhaust temperatures, low-end torque, and there were only mediocre results in fuel economy to show for it. In general, the electric turbine system was not suited to the rapid acceleration cycles required for quick stop-and-go driving. Still, for steady acceleration and maneuverability, the electric power generated by the turbine systems was more than sufficient.

We will see is Jaguar is able to work out those bugs from their version.

Jaguar will be working with the British gas turbine company Bladon Jets and electric motor company SR Drives to develop the proposed project, using the $24 million that was given to them as in the government funding package to support developmental efforts.

The Chrysler Coup version used turbine technology to turn the driveshaft. The Jag, in contrast, would use a miniature gas turbine that generates energy for the electric motor. In a press release, Bladon said that these axial flow turbines are lightweight, small, and could run on anything from natural gas to biofuel, which would mean that they may have figured out how to bypass the problems that the Chrysler Coup had. The biofuel aspect is welcome news to environmentally friendly consumers who are interested in alternative energy options.

Another problem that some previous turbine-hybrids have had is the noise. Since the turbine propulsion system is based on jet systems other developed systems have had a problem with, well, sounding like a jet. In reference to the sound of the 60’s Rover-BRM turbine car, driver Graham Hill commented: “You’re sitting in this thing that you might call a motor car and the next minute it sounds as if you’ve got a 707 just behind you, about to suck you up and devour you like an enormous monster.”

The Jaguar turbine system is purported to be more refined and, thankfully, to have an interior environmental noise level of somewhere in the more acceptable range of 85 decibels.

When and Which Model?

The rumor mill says that the newly launched 2011 Jaguar XJ luxury sedan is expected to be the model chosen to include an extended range electric version in a few years. That version is supposed to be the one that may provide the platform for this jet-powered (without the noise) system. Time will tell.

Until then, everyone will be waiting to see developmental news that comes out on this and other projects that Jaguar is preparing as it continues as an innovative and revolutionary forerunner in the new green low-carbon industrial revolution that has begun to take a formidable place in the automotive industry.