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Turbine-charged electric supercar is for real

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Beijing, China - China is not usually thought of as supercar country, but this dramatic piece of future tech could just change that.

Especially as the Techrules GT96, due to debut at the Geneva motor show on 7 March, is not a concept - it’s the production prototype for a batch of 25 track-only production cars, which the company says will be followed, possibly as early as 2018, by a street-legal version.

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It’s been designed by automotive icon Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son Fabrizio for the Beijing-based tech startup, with the driver placed, as with the McLaren F1, in the middle of the aircraft-inspired cockpit - and we do mean aircraft-style: the jet-fighter style canopy opens vertically to enable you to to get in and out.

The car features laser headlights, reversing cameras instead of mirrors and ‘starburst’ LED tail-lights - but it’s what’s under the skin that’s going to be rising eyebrows at PalExpo: the GT96 is a high-performance range-extended electric car, with its batteries continuously recharged by a very small gas turbine, as in the Jaguar CX75 concept first shown at the 2010 Paris motor show.

The CX75 never made it to production, but Techrules chief technical officer Matthew Jin is confident that the GT96 will, thanks to improvements in both battery and gas-turbine technology in the intervening seven years. Thanks to modular design, he sees it giving rise to a whole family of turbine-recharged electric vehicles in years to come.

The chassis has been developed by motorsport specialist LM Giannetti, which will build the initial batch of 25 track-only examples in its Turin workshop. No performance details have been given as yet, other than Jin gushing to the media about ‘ultimate performance, brutal power and unparalleled efficiency’. As they say, watch this space.

IOL Motoring

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