As if rotaries were not loud enough already, a mad scientist by the name of Patrick Huu decided he was going to make a hybrid electric RX-7 using a jet turbine instead of the previous rotary donk.
We received a few pictures of the contraption from a friend who recently attended ‘Radwood’, an ’80s–’90s car show held in Anaheim, California. After we saw that, we just had to do some digging to find out details about this weirdly wonderful Mazda.
The engine itself is a JetCat SPT-15RX turboprop borrowed from a model aircraft. They put out around 15kW, or up to 20kW if you really want to push the limits.
Usually these engines are designed to run on kerosene, however they can also run on diesel as seen in the above embedded video.
The turboprop drives a generator capable of around 40kW, which in turn charges a boot full of Enerdel LiNMC batteries providing around 25kWh.
So, is it efficient?
Well, the little Mazda gets around 110km on a full charge when in electric-only mode, and up to 500km with the jet turbine recharging the batteries.
The main issue with turboprops is they are designed to sit at a specific RPM and don’t tend to be efficient when revving up or down. As such, the system uses the same amount of fuel regardless of the vehicle’s speed, being that the turboprop will be spending most of its time in a steady state.
Patrick tells us that the fuel economy hovers around 7L/100km. Not too bad when compared to the fuel-guzzling rotary that used to call this RX-7 home.
Though, while he might be saving the environment by sipping less fuel, the neighbours probably will have something to say about the racket this thing generates!
Still, what’s not to like about an ’80s RX-7 and a jet engine. It’s a thumbs-up from us!