Our Prototypes column introduces new vehicle concepts and presents visuals from designers who illustrate the ideas. Some of them will be extensions of existing concepts, others will be new, some will be production ready, and others really far-fetched.
The Hermes is a four-wheel-drive electric supercar concept that could ultimately be motorized by a 3,000-plus horsepower 'powerpack' consisting of a pair of turboshaft turbines. This concept was envisioned as the most powerful and fastest production car on the planet in a scaled up version (larger and wider).
I've been flying planes and helicopters since I was 18, and one of the things you're naturally exposed to on an airfield is lights and powerful engines. There are all sorts of powerplant categories out there to choose from, one of which is the gas turbine, an engine that is very compact in size. One of my friends is currently assembling a PT6 turbine into a Lancair Evolution and while I was visiting him at his shop, we began talking about using a turbine in a car to generate shaft power to the wheels.
How it works
In order to become the most powerful car in the world you need power. Lots of it. The most powerful cars today are equipped with 1,200-horsepower engines, so the Hermes would use two turbines on a new platform that would each be capable of producing more than 3,000 horsepower. I would mount them side-by-side behind the pilot and his passenger.
I would consider using a PT6C turboshaft from Pratt & Whitney, and see whether it would be possible to create a variant, which would rotate in opposite directions to compensate for the induced torque. On each driveshaft, I would connect an electric generator to power four in-wheel motors. This means the power of each wheel could be modified in real-time based on the car's dynamic.
Would it be better to remove the electric generators, and the in-wheel motors, and use a high-performance gearbox to power each wheel instead? Maybe, but I would certainly need more expert advice on this because the only car ever produced in this category was the Chrysler Turbine Car back in 1963. Jay Leno might be able to help, since he financed and built a 650-horsepower turbine car prototype in 2009.
What it's used for
The goal for the Hermes is to become a scalable bench test that would ultimately lead to the creation of the world's most powerful and fastest supercar. A turboshaft engine doesn't produce any jet thrust, so the car could be driven on regular roads, the exhaust directed upward behind the generators. If you scale down the proposed powerpack of this concept, a car could be equipped with an efficient turbine that would burn hydrogen, which could be produced with hydro-electricity.
In short, the Hermes supercar could be used to inspire both wild concepts and more reasonable ones using turbines.
The Hermes images were created by Sebastian Campos Möller, who owns a design studio in Mexico. He graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. He has also created images for The Arrow and The SurfOut.
Charles Bombardier is a member of the family that owns Quebec-based Bombardier Inc. and Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), which are in the business of designing and manufacturing vehicles.