Jaguar Unveils the New C-X75 PHEV Supercar

4 Electric Motors and 2 Gas Micro-turbines: Green Speed + Sensual Design

Sexy Green Beast: 205 MPH Top Speed, 68 Miles Electric Range + 560 Miles Extended Range

For my last car posting, I encountered a friendly discussion about the seeming conflict of those desiring more responsible resource use in automobiles and those in love with the raw power that performance cars allow one to experience. My long-time friend loves his cars, their design, their aggressive power, and the ability to unleash it all on track. I’m aggressive and fall prey to raw power, too, but ultimately fall more to the side of design, unique packaging, and the pursuit of a more responsible means to propel ourselves.

Question is this: Does there need to be a conflict?

Tesla with “Roadster” and “Model S” and Fisker with “Karma” struggle to prove conflict resolution.

Now, Jaguar has upped the ante with a provocative concept car with production potential… Jaguar CX75

Car makers, especially those who specialize in sporty or luxury vehicles, have a long tradition of presenting super-car concepts for motor shows. Sometimes they later end up in production, but most of the time bits and pieces are recycled into different, more watered-down models. Jaguar has unveiled just such a beast, and it has good green potential with incredible performance.

Under the Hood of the Jaguar CX75

The CX75 is a plug-in series hybrid, a bit like the Chevy Volt. Yet unlike the Volt, it has 4 electric motors, providing all-wheel drive, and when the battery is drained, it’s not recharged by a conventional gasoline engine. Rather, it uses twin micro-turbines, each generating 70 kW by spinning at 80,000 rpm. The CX75 has a drag coefficient of 0.32 Cd.

Power and Top Speed
The four electric motors produce 145 kW (195 bhp) and 400 N·m (295 lb-ft) each, for a total power of 580 kW/780 bhp. Top speed is 205 mph, accelerating from 0-62 mph in 3.4 seconds, and from 50-90 mph in 2.3 seconds. Thrills per second!

“The mid-mounted 70 kW (94 bhp) micro gas-turbines can generate a combined 140 kW (188 bhp) to charge the batteries and extend the range of the car to 900 km (560 miles)–or, when in Track mode, provide supplementary power directly to the electric motors. The four electric motors provide torque-vectored, all-wheel drive traction and grip, which Jaguar deems essential in a car that produces 1,600 N·m (1,180 lb-ft) of torque,” according to a Jaguar statement.

What Makes It Green (Kind of, Depending…)
Yes… all this power seems like overkill, and I’d much rather see a car that looks just as good but is less powerful, lighter, and gets a longer electric range and then gets better fuel economy once the battery is drained. This Jag is a start!

Nonetheless, the Jaguar CX75 has an electric range of 68 miles. Since the average American rarely drives more than 40 miles in a day — and that number is lower for most Europeans — if this supercar were plugged in every night, it could conceivably be greener (at least when it comes to usage) than a much less powerful car like a Honda Fit or Toyota Prius.

A six hour domestic plug-in charge is good enough to offer the promised driving range of 68 miles. When the batteries are depleted, the center-mounted, 188-horsepower gas turbine engine kicks in to recharge the batteries and extend the supecar’s range to a total of 560 miles.

The CX75 might not reach production, but if it does, it would stay a small-volume model, off of which more plebeian and essential vehicles could be based. Recent media reports suggest the British company is looking into a limited-run production model based on the concept car. If true, we could see the first prototype models out in the open testing as early as 2013.

Still, if this design project has helped Jaguar engineers to get familiar with series hybrids and electric cars, and to develop new technologies that can push the field forward, then it’ll be worth it. I’d rather see automotive engineers work on these kinds of things than ever larger V8s as in the 1990s and early 2000s.


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