EcoJet concept car

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EcoJet headlight.

The EcoJet concept car is a concept car designed to run on biodiesel fuel, using a Honeywell LTS101 gas turbine instead of a piston engine. The engine is normally used in helicopters and provides 650 horsepower and 583lb-ft of torque. Drive is to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic transaxle adapted from a C5 Corvette. An automatic had to be used because the turbine requires a constant load and operating a clutch with a manual gearbox would cause the turbine to overspeed.

This concept car was the result of a collaboration between Jay Leno and General Motors. Unlike other concept cars, which are built mostly for show purposes, it was meant to be driven on the road in a regular fashion as well as for show purposes.

It is a two-seater car of a coupe design. The car contains two separate fuel tanks; one contains the main fuel, a biodiesel soy bean oil, and the other contains a traditional clean burning jet engine fuel - Jet A. The Jet fuel is used to start the turbine easily at the beginning of a trip and also to run the engine at the end of a trip to clean it since a biodiesel fuel tends to gum up a turbine (causing it to seize) if the biofuel is not cleared. The exhaust air is 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in normal operation and 1800 Fahrenheit at full power. Basically the car runs on refined cooking oil and so it gives off the same kind of smell created by cooking French fries.

The car has a fully featured Azentek PC running Microsoft Windows Vista, with two LCD screens on the dashboard, one for the aircraft style digital gauges and another for the media and navigation controls as well as the standard PC functions such as word processing and Web access through a Wimax system. Two other smaller LCD screens are placed on the dashboard to provide rear views, as the car has no rear view mirrors and uses cameras instead. The functions are controlled by Touchscreen or by Speech recognition software using a multiple microphone array. The car was assembled by the Big Dog crew (mechanics employed by Jay Leno, usually to help him maintain his large collection of cars).

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