As previously noted in this blog, Jaguar has been busy this year celebrating their 75th anniversary, and while new model launches, marketing campaigns, and a spectacular Pebble Beach presentation have had enthusiasts buzzing far and wide, the manufacturer clearly saved the best for last. Using the platform of the recently concluded Paris Motor Show, Jag unveiled a brand new, commemorative concept car titled the C-X75.
Like recent entries from Audi, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Porsche, Jaguar has now taken the leap to explore green technology while still delivering trademark performance. The slippery C-X75, which draws its shape from the influential 1966 XJ13 concept car, is a plug-in hybrid powered by four different wheel-specific electric motors, each capable of producing 195 horsepower. With a combined rating of 778 horsepower, and capable of 1,180 lb-ft of torque, the car certainly eschews the notion that an energy efficient green car can’t also be fast and powerful.
The added twist of Jag’s platform, however, is that the electric motors are not recharged by a generator that runs on gasoline, as is typically the case in a hybrid. Rather, through a partnership with Bladon Jets, Jaguar has installed revolutionary micro gas-turbines that spin at 80,000 rpm. Gas turbine propulsion has been explored in automobiles before (Chrysler’s low-production 1964 Turbine Car comes to mind), but the technology was never sufficiently developed to be implemented in volume.
The C-X75’s micro turbines generate enough electricity to give the car a range of 560 miles. When operating on batteries alone, the car is still capable of traveling 68 miles. Of course, turbines do require some kind of fuel, and Jag’s press releases are curiously vague about what that would be in this concept car’s case, or the anticipated miles per gallon of gasoline that the system might deliver. Theoretically speaking, though, turbines are also capable of running on diesel, biofuels like Ethanol or E-80, compressed natural gas, and liquid petroleum gas. The question of fuel may be a moot point to Jaguar, however, as the manufacturer envisions the turbine platform as a range-extender rather than a primary electricity source. The turbines would theoretically merely supplement a six-hour domestic plug-in charge as needed.
In terms of power, the C-X75 is purportedly capable of reaching 205 mph and can sprint from 0 – 62 mph in only 3.4 seconds. Like Tesla’s Roadster, the concept uses a one-speed transmission.
In terms of design, the absence of a traditional internal combustion engine has allowed for the re-imagination of spatial use, and the car is therefore an exploration of ergonomics, as well. To this end, the driver’s seat is conceived as a fixed component, while pedals, controls and the steering wheel are adjustable. The C-X75 also continues to advance the integration of touchscreen console displays (a production reality in the all new XJ model) with high resolution TFT screens that replicate the virtual 3D gimbal displays of fighter aircraft.