Capstone (CPST) Integrates C30 Microturbine Into Ford S-Max Plugin Hybrid (Whisper Eco-Logic)

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10:03:33 am on June 11, 2009

capstone ford s-max Capstone (CPST) is soaring nearly 50% this morning after the company announced that it has successfully integrated its C30 liquid fueled microturbine into a Ford S-Max plugin hybrid which was designed and modified by Langford Performance Engineering.  The C30 kicks in after 40 miles, extending the electric range by working to charge to the lithium batteries.  Langford reports that the car, named the “Whisper Eco-Logic” is getting up to 80 mpg in early testing.

“The Ford modified by Langford is an extremely practical solution and one that Langford has been working on for over two years,” said Jim Crouse, Capstone’s Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing. “The design characteristics of Capstone’s turbine permits ultra low emissions, high fuel economy, multi fuel capability, no coolants or lubricating oil, and little to no maintenance in an automotive application,” added Crouse.

Here’s a promotional video:
http://www.capstoneturbine.com/whisper_promo.wmv

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Comments  

It’s about time! Having known about this turbine for a few months, buying stock and watching it slide, I was considering going to the HQ to confront somebody about why they haven’t pushed vehicle applications.

This is a potential game-changer. Completely plug-in up to 40 miles. Extremely low emissions when running on the engine . . . low fuel consumption (on virtually ANY gas or liquid fuel), no lubrication or coolant, very quiet and it should double as back up power (on natural gas) for your house in final automobile applications.

This changes the battery deadlock. Expensive lithium formulations with all their problems: no longer a problem with this engine. A few of Axion/Exide’s upcoming inexpensive and better-charging carbon-lead batteries could make a package that would be completely game-changing. 80 miles per gallon . . . and lower emissions. And it doesn’t need (but can use) gasoline.

Hope the two companies strike some deals with the automakers . . .

 

A game changer? Hardly. Just another gimmick like the bus fiasco last year. A small, clean running diesel makes more sense from a cost benefit point of view, this will go nowhere.Stock will tank after this sinks in. But short term gains look good because non-technical people will be fooled for a while longer and continue to gamble on this looser

 

A piston engine compared to a turbine makes no sense to me from any standpoint . . . regardless of what fuel you burn or what the stock might do next.

 

I suggest that everyone cash out with a nice profit now. CPST will drop like a rock we people understand the truth about putting a microturbine in a car. I was part of the original Rosen Motors project that put a Capstone C30 into a Mercedes E320 in 1996. It worked really well as an R&D project but we closed the company because we found that it would NEVER be practical in a production car. The reason: a drivetrain for even an E320 costs the manufacturer about $5,000 but a Capstone C30 will NEVER cost less than $25,000. Add to that the $25,000 Lithium ion battery pack, the $20,000 electric drivemotor with controller and you have a car with a manufacturers cost of over $85,000. I don’t think you would have too many buyers of a $100,000 car even if it got 80 miles to the gallon. That’s why Ben Rosen of Compaq Computers pulled the plug on Rosen Motors twelve years ago after sinking $24 million of his own money into it.

 

Ps:

It isn’t quiet. It sounded like a loud vacuum cleaner.

 

Turbines have thier place, just not in a car. Spending $5-6K on 40 horse power (30kW) will never make economic sense. This is a gimmic to sell stock, that’s what Capstone does best. They have never made a dime in 20 years and they have a revolving door with senior managers coming and going because no one can make the business case work. But every year or so thay plaster the media with this kind of crap and presto, a whole new bunch of suckers to buy thier stock.

 

Alan, $25K for a C30! I guess I gave too much credit that the cost could be 5-6K in volume and even that is stupid money for 40hp.

The batteries and electronics I figure are typical hybrid stuff.

 

P.S. Yes, I have been to Capstone and heard the C30, it is loud, imagine all the sound deadening and insulation needed in a car!

At least it will have a good heater, if you can get it started in winter!

 

great comments guys, thanks for your input

 

1/3 of Capstone’s stocks changed hands yesterday!!! Do you think that someone plays and burns his dollars? I don’t think so!!! Today will close above $2…

Regarding the microturbine cost, a C30 microturbine is much more simple to manufacture than a huge V6. It’s all a matter of MASS PRODUCTION!!! Can you imagine a FORD microturbine facility for 50000 units per year? What will be the cost? Maybe less than $5000? Capstone has produced in 10 years about 4000 units and this is the reason for high prices. Higher VOLUMES will lower the prices!!!

GrK

 

I have listened to the c-30, and c 65 and they are VERY quiet. You can find a video on youtube if your interested . Economy of scale would bring costs down to competitive levels, and 80 mpg would get sales going. Also this is a 7 seat vehicle not a 2 seat afraid to go on the hgwy toy.
Prius 40 mpg 25 to 30,000$$$ 4 seat sort of.
Nice car, but would not compare to the Wisper.

 

Actually I have been in the gas turbine business for over 30 years and from that experience I can enlighten you a little. Recuperated gas turbines are not easier to produce than a V-6 IC engine. They use very expensive exotic materials, processes and tolerances which all adds up to lots of $$$$. The raw material in a C30 costs more than $10k before any processing. Mass production lowers labor costs, not raw material costs. But the point is moot, the market will not pay the current price so you will never get to high volume.

 

All this talk of an 80mpg car is amusing. This is a plug-in hybrid folks. You have to consider what it costs to charge it up (remember your electric bill?) and add that to the cost of operation.
Also, you cannot jump in and drive cross country like in a Prius. Remember, it is only assisted by a 30kW generator (40hp), when the battery state of charge gets below a certain point, you park it and wait for it to charge up. Langford says the turbine kicks in after 40 miles and extends the range, probably not by much in continuous driving. So this is not an 80mpg car, that is hype and BS.

Herb, did you hear a C30 in person at an actual installation or just on YouTube? The one I heard at Capstone was loud enough to be annoying and that is when installed in it’s large insulated cabinet with the exhaust directed straight up to reduce its acoustic signature. I think it would be challenging to reduce the noise in the space restrictions of a car. Im sure the “Wisper” is very quiet when running on battery power alone but it’s interesting that the promotion video did not show the turbine installation or provide actual audio of it running. I suspect that Langford Performance is not too eager to disclose those details yet.

Capstone sells its products below cost and burns something like $3M/Month to keep its doors open, all from hopeful investors who don’t understand the technology and its limitations. But who knows, they might fool the government, get some stimulus money and the stock will take off. After all, turbines are sexy wiz-bang things, just read some of the comments here.

 

This concept is far from new.. it’s called a series hybrid, and you can read about it in a 30+ year old article where a stock sports car was built up with off-the-shelf parts to get 75 MPG.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/Renewable-Energy/1979-07-01/An-Amazing-75-MPG-Hybrid-Electic-Car.aspx

All this in the 70s with technology from the 50s and none of the headaches of a gas turbine. I may have to look at shorting Capstone…

 

Thanks for the reality check, guys! Took my gains on the Capstone stock today. It may go up further, but sounds like a lead turkey that I don’t want to be under.

Nice post on the Opel, BTW. Am I correct in thinking the Axion lead-carbon batteries are the ticket, do you think?

Thanks again.

 

LOL, the hedge funds hit this board with their bashing goons. Too funny. If you want to know what the real deal is on this product you need to do your own due diligence.

Let me just myth bust what I can quick though.

The drive train is not run by the microturbine, it is run be the electric motor. The microturbine charges the battery. We didnt have the batteries in the 50s-70s that we do now, so I dont know how you can say its the same technology… In addition, the microturbine uses patented air bearings. What does that mean (NO OIL CHANGES)

You do not need to stop to charge it. It charges on the fly.

The c30 industrial version costs $20,000+ true, but they will not be selling that version in the auto. Here are some numbers, the industrial version clocks 80,000 lifetime hours. The auto version will have a 6,000 hour lifetime. What will be the difference? They will redesign it for mass production to be more similar to a turbo charger than a microturbine. They will use lower cost metals/materials to “reduce” the quality/cost to a commercial grade. Funny problem when your product is too damn good.

Capstone is a very diversified company as well, its not all about this product. It utilizes waste gases from oil and gas fields, water treatment plants, and farm waste. It is also the “Intel inside” in the Combined Heat and Power technology. Go luck up CHP and the DOE (Dept of Energy). Its a real up and coming product.

This company is going to be an up and comer over the next 4-8 years. Dont let the big money scare you away so they can increase their ownership and keep you out.

 

Robert, you are one of the suckers I was talking about. Either that or you work at Capstone.

 

Just my $0.02. And I am probably gonna get blasted for it, but here goes. I am an engineer in the middle of a high performance E/V conversion. I love what I have, but am looking for a range extender. Here are some numbers for you that I have found/acquired. Miles per Kwh(Killowatt hours)= between 3-4(depending on vehicle size, weight, etc). Kw(killowatts) necessary to maintain a vehicle at 65mph = approx. 12-18 (depending on vehicle size, weight, etc). Gph(Gallons per hour), diesel to generate 30Kw = 1.09. Kwh/gallon = 27.5229358. Miles for 1 gallon of diesel= 82.5688074(at 3 miles per Kwh), or 110.091743(at 3 miles per Kwh). Now these numbers are derivatives and (except for the miles per kw, power to maintain 65, and Gph of C30), are not tried real-world numbers; I am betting this is gonna turn out pretty good. Invest how you like, but I am currently looking for the best bulk price on this system.

 

Ford could mass produce,and lower costs, Electric is a lot cheaper than gas.A lot of people look at long term operation cost, I can forsee this car and many like it in the future. Give me quality fuel efficiency any day.

 

This turbine is going to be the Capstone on the grave of the internal combustion engine.

 

i have been in the stock for 5 years. cpst has added new sizes and done all the work related to CHP and alt. fuels. they are just not urgent marketers.
these turbines are the real deal. nothing is fake and they have proven their performance. as far as the hybrid car….
yeah, that is a super joke! there is a possibility for a market in buses for sure. i road in one of their first buses about 6 years ago. it was a problem because of the noise. the noise was high pitched. diesels are often stupidly noisy, but the lower frequency of the noise is more tolerable.
ultimately, i would guess they can continue to improve the noise issue. if
you take away the noise you have a very efficient and unobtrusive machine.
but a car? thats just a gimmick. if you believe that than i have a story about a building (3) to sell you. the towers and wtc7.

 

[...] seems elegant compared to what’s underneath other hybrid hoods.  But nowhere, except in various comments I found, could I find a mention of price.  While Capstone says it has no interest in creating commercial [...]

 

Why don’t they use the following principles to cancel the noise of the turbine:

http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/gadgets/audio-music/noise-canceling-headphone.htm

http://www.cerfacs.fr/5-26802-Aeroacoustics.php

could that work?

 

[...] seems elegant compared to what’s underneath other hybrid hoods.  But nowhere, except in various comments I found, could I find a mention of price.  While Capstone says it has no interest in creating commercial [...]

 

people have no problem to pay 50k$ for a sports car so convert this capstone prototype to enable using it as a totem at home plus at working place plus at parents place plus…

 
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