Published on May 8th, 2014 | by Susanna Schick
Video: Testing Driving The Wrightspeed Turbine Truck
Enjoy this “cabcam” video of me taking the Wrightspeed-powered Isuzu panel turbine truck for a spin around the Long Beach Grand Prix racetrack. OK, so right now it’s supposedly just a bunch of streets, but you can still see the tire marks and all the lines painted marking the starting boxes and such.
Wrightspeed’s Isuzu is QUICK. Much quicker than the gasoline-powered Penske of the same size I drove across country. 45 MPH felt plenty fast, which is odd for someone who feels like they’re standing still on a motorcycle traveling at speeds below 80MPH. The turbine generator sounds really cool, too. You might want to keep it running just to impress the neighbors, but you won’t need to. The truck averages 40 miles on a charge, so for local deliveries it’s fine. If you’re close to home and want to disable the turbine, just push the button and it powers down. Read more about the Route and see video of the 2-speed transmission in action here.
Engineer and founder Ian Wright chose the turbine because it’s more durable and lighter than your typical ICE. What’s especially cool about this generator engine is you can choose from a plethora of fuels. The turbine can be run on: Diesel, Biodiesel, Jet A, Natural Gas, Propane, or Sour Gas. That last one is new to me, even after a day of hearing about all kinds of biogas substitutes for fossil-based natural gas. Obviously you’d have to choose liquid or gaseous fuel before taking delivery of your truck.
Wrightspeed builds powertrains, though, not trucks. They currently sell them to fleets in need of replacement powertrains, but are interested in selling to OEM’s as well…and not just for commercial use. Check out this video of founder and retired racer Ian Wright tearing it up on the salt flats for an idea of what we’re getting at. The fun thing about having software to control wheel speed independently is you can do donuts much more safely. More about the fuel savings here– it saves 20x more fuel than a 100MPG car! Here you can enjoy the sound of that turbine generator…