Capstone to Demonstrate Heavy-Duty Hybrid Electric Drive System with Major US Truck OEM

Capstone HEV truck solution. Source: Capstone. Click to enlarge.

Capstone Turbine Corporation has initiated a demonstration project with a major US manufacturer of Class 5 through Class 8 heavy duty trucks that will utilize a Capstone 65 kW microturbine as a range extender in a hybrid electric drive system. In June, Capstone released configurations of the C30 (30 kW) microturbine as a range extender meeting California Air Resources Board (CARB) requirements for New On-Road Heavy-Duty Engines for Urban Bus - Hybrid service with no aftertreatment.(Earlier post.)

This truck will be the first to take advantage of the complete Capstone Drive Solution, which includes the Capstone microturbine along with liquid cooled power electronics, permanent magnet traction drive motor and vehicle power control system.

The electric hybrid vehicle market is in a significant growth phase, with essentially every manufacturer of trucks, buses and automobiles looking for the right solution to serve their customers. Capstone’s microturbine technology offers many benefits for these applications, including our extremely low emission levels that meet the most stringent CARB and EPA 2010 requirements without any exhaust after-treatment.

I am pleased that a major OEM in the heavy duty truck market is investing its time and resources to demonstrate the Capstone Drive Solution and that the demonstration will include getting this vehicle in the hands of some of their key customers as well.

—Darren Jamison, Capstone President and CEO

Capstone’s HEV drive system. Source: Capstone. Click to enlarge.

The Capstone Drive Solution will make it easier for vehicle manufacturers to integrate microturbines into a series hybrid electric drivetrain. As part of a recent joint development agreement with CalMotors, the Capstone HEV product offering will now include inverter drives, traction motors and a vehicle power control module that will seamlessly integrate with Capstone 30kW and 65kW microturbines.

The inverters and traction motors are mobile hardened versions of the proven Parker Hannifin industrial motor drive products. (Earlier post.) The Capstone microturbines are able to operate on traditional liquid fuels such as diesel and biodiesel but can also utilize alternative fuels such as natural gas without sacrificing efficiency.

This demonstration project is the first of several vehicle applications we are working on that will use the new Capstone Drive Solution. The other projects include Class 4 commercial trucks and Class 8 tractors and utilize both new OEM applications like this one and retrofits to existing vehicles. We are also pursuing marine applications for both auxiliary power and propulsion. Our new Capstone Drive Solution offering will open a lot of opportunities for electric drive systems where our ultra-low emissions and high efficiency have an advantage over more traditional prime movers.

—Jim Crouse, Executive VP of Sales and Marketing

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