Searching for a solution to overcome the thirstiness and pollution problems of the “infernal consumption engine (ICE), many different technologies have been, and are still being explored.
Chrysler, always on the leading edge in style and technology, designed and built a hybrid-powered liquid natural gas-fueled racing car in the early ‘90s, with an eye to entering the car in 1995 races. The goal was to gather information and learn about this new way of using alternative fuels and various hybrid concepts. The ‘Patriot’ racecar used a – quoting - “combination of liquid natural gas (LNG)-fueled turbo alternators [?], carbon-fiber flywheel energy storage and a water-cooled electric traction motor to drive the rear wheels. The low-speed turbo alternator [?] system reaches speeds of 60,000 rpm, while the high-speed unit operates at 100,000 rpm”. (other sources claim it used an internal combustion engine that, in turn, spun two turbines [dynamos?] providing electricity)
Note: This writer is not confused by the technology, only by the original reporter’s terminology in the above quote; non-technical journalists might call a dynamo a turbine – from the olden days’ water-turbine driven generators. An automotive dynamo can function as a generator OR motor, depending on the switching. A gas turbine IS an ICE, but a “fueled turbo alternator” is an unknown machine, at least to me – even after decades of working in this industry. More research into this at Chrysler would go beyond the scope of this article.
[new and detailed information can be found at http://www.allpar.com/model/patriot.html]
A separate high-speed flywheel in the Patriot generated additional power – as it does in electric buses. All the electricity was controlled by a computer that both – quoting again - “delegated which power source, turbines [confusion again] or flywheel, to draw from” and then directed that power to the water cooled motor driving the wheels. “In all, the turbines and flywheel produced about one megawatt of energy, which was how the Patriot was expected to reach speeds approaching 200 mph”.
Engineering Chief Francois Castain later commented, "We've learned a lot about hybrid technology at Chrysler, and that we did not race the car doesn't mean we failed."