Low cost range extender for electric vehicles unveiled at LCV 2016

Delta Motorsport has launched MiTRE, a micro-turbine technology aimed at helping electric cars match petrol or diesel-powered equivalents. The system was developed in a £3.1million collaborative R&D project co-funded by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and Innovate UK. The system is specifically designed for use as a range extender for electric vehicles. It was unveiled at the Low Carbon Vehicle (LCV) event at Millbrook on 14th September.

"This is an exciting and challenging project", said Delta Motorsport’s managing director Simon Dowson. "One of the main issues seemingly holding electric cars back is the lack of range, but this technology changes that."

The device features small, lightweight turbo-machinery attached to an electric generator, which keeps the battery pack charged up or at least slows the power drain. The project was a collaboration between Delta Motorsport, Productiv, Hieta Technologies, the University of Bath, Schaeffer and Equipmake. Delta has produced two complete MiTRE prototype systems with 17kW power output and has fitted one into its in-house EV, the E-4 Coupe.

Niche car manufacturers Ariel and Morgan have already signed up with Delta to develop 17kW and 35kW power output versions of MiTRE. When scaled to 35kW output power, MiTRE is said to be approximately 40% smaller and 50% lighter than an equivalent piston engine device, while still achieving a target of close to 30% thermal efficiency (280g/kWh) with extremely low emissions.

Dowson continued: "Our projections show the cost of the system is low enough to be attractive to the automotive market, so we have a really potent solution to advance the take-up of electric vehicles."

MiTRE can also be run on a range of fuels, and fitting a larger heat exchanger improves thermal efficiency to nearly 35% (240g/kWh).