Geneva world premiere of first production vehicle design from Chinese automotive R&D company Techrules ‘Ren’ is the world’s first electric production supercar powered by an innovative turbine range extender system The aerospace-inspired design has been crafted by renowned designers Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro Techrules introduces a modular platform design, configurable for driver preference and engineered for ultimate performance Geneva, 7 March 2017 – Techrules is debuting the final production design of its first series hybrid supercar at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. ‘Ren’ is the first production vehicle from the China-based automotive research and development company, and features its proprietary Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) technology.
The aerospace-inspired design is optimised for aerodynamic efficiency, with a striking modular three-cockpit design that has been crafted by world-renowned automotive designers, Fabrizio and Giorgetto Giugiaro. A sense of drama is assured by the distinctive fighter jet-style canopy that rises up to enable occupant access and futuristic elements such as the front laser headlights and ‘star-burst’ reversing LEDs.
The Ren features a lightweight chassis that has been designed and constructed to the highest standards by esteemed motorsport specialist, L.M. Gianetti of Turin. The performance-focused modular layout that allows the car to be configured with one, two or three polycarbonate canopies: one for track use by only the driver, two for the ‘Le Mans’ configuration with a single passenger, or three to accommodate the driver and two passengers.
Renis the world’s first electric production supercar to feature the ground-breaking Techrules-developed Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system, previously introduced at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show. The series hybrid powertrain technology delivers unprecedented levels of efficiency and performance, and an ultra-low environmental impact.
A variety of configurations will be available to tailor the powertrain to the exact requirements of the customer. The flagship version – with a battery capacity of 25 kWh and with two motors at the front and four at the rear – delivers maximum power of 960kW (1,287 hp/1,305 ps) with a range of 1,170 km from 80 litres of diesel fuel (NEDC).
The Ren’s desirability is enhanced further by a refined interior that delivers ultimate exclusivity by incorporating the highest grades of luxury materials. The wraparound cockpit and passenger pod spaces are finished using the finest Italian leather (cuoio italiano and alcantara), with seat cushions finished in a denim produced by the high-end designer clothing company, PT (Pantaloni Torino).
The Ren is packed with new technologies, including advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and a variety of driving modes. Inside the driver’s cockpit, the centre of the steering wheel houses a self-levelling screen that displays performance-focused instrumentation while rear-view cameras feed three monitoring screens.
Techrules’ advanced luxury supercar will provide an exclusive band of customers with a unique blend of ultimate performance, brutal power and unparalleled efficiency. Beyond the Ren, the innovative powertrain and platform concept will support family and city cars, with the potential for many more model variations.
William Jin, the founder and CEO of Techrules, said: “Thanks to the unique modular design of the Ren chassis and powertrain, we have a perfectly engineered vehicle to deliver our TREV technology in the most efficient way, according to the exact requirements of the customer. Techrules is introducing a luxury electric supercar with great dynamic performance that is more environmentally friendly and more convenient than anything comparable on the market today.”
In Chinese traditional culture, Ren is the very first of five values that every Chinese person is born with to contribute to society. Ren stands for humanity and kindness, and was chosen for the first Techrules supercar as it reflects the spirit in which many esteemed scientists, engineers and designers have dedicated themselves to the project.
First shakedown tests of Ren completed at Monza
As part of rigorous ‘shakedown’ testing at the high-speed Monza circuit in Italy in mid-February 2017, Techrules has successfully completed checks on the prototype supercar’s steering, suspension systems, brakes and carbon fibre monocoque chassis.
Engineers were also able to conduct several tests of the innovative and proprietary Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system within the highly-advanced electric powertrain. The TREV’s turbine and its battery charging and battery management systems were successfully deployed over numerous laps of the famous Italian racetrack.
The testing programme allowed the engineering team to gather important data for further development of the car towards low volume series production.
Luisa Gianetti, Team Manager at L.M. Gianetti – Techrules’ development and manufacturing partner – said: “Our work at Monza this week was not specifically targeted towards high performance testing, but we were impressed with the car’s dynamic and straight-line responsiveness. It was also very exciting to evaluate the turbine and its performance within the prototype production car for the first time. We are extremely satisfied with the outcome and look forward to further testing throughout the year.”
Manuel Lauck, the official test driver for Techrules added: “The car is very driver-orientated thanks to the clever design and central driving position. As well as providing a stunning jet fighter design, the curved canopy windscreen also provides excellent visibility when driving. Combined with excellent ergonomics, the set-up allows an exceptionally user-friendly driving experience.”
Extraordinary design for a revolutionary electric vehicle
The show-stopping exterior design of the Ren is clean, simple and modular, with the lines closely following the underlying structure of the car, fulfilling the classic design maxim of ‘form follows function.’
The first rule for Giorgetto and Fabrizio Giugiaro and their Turin-based GFG Style design team, when designing Ren, was to achieve excellent aerodynamic function. None of the surfaces are designed with only styling in mind - all the lines and changes of surface have an aerodynamic purpose.
At the front, large outboard air intakes draw air into the wheel arches to cool the 380 mm carbon ceramic front brakes. Front lighting employs LED laser technology set into the edges of the large front intakes, along with animated direction indicators.
The depth of the front fenders above the wheels is as small as possible to reduce the frontal area, with vertical side panels and a squared-off rear reducing drag. The side of the car is smooth and simple, and in combination with the overall aerodynamic design elements, produces a pure, flowing profile.
The striking but functional cockpit design is closely aligned to the balance proportions of the car, reflecting its unique concept and aerodynamic focus. The central polycarbonate canopy dramatically lifts and swings up and rearward over the occupants – this can be operated from inside the cockpit at the press of a button or from outside using the remote key fob.
The only jewellery on the exterior of the body are the subtle badge pockets on each front fender but even these are functional and serve a triple purpose. The sculptured units house the rear-facing cameras (in place of door mirrors), the speakers that enable occupants to converse with people outside the car, and the Ren emblem. Additional stand-out styling is provided by the Ren’s exquisite 22” multi-spoke wheels, the design of which resembles a jet-engine turbine, continuing the aeronautical theme.
Completing the dramatic exterior form are the two opaque outer body shells that flank a transparent centre section. This serves to show off the advanced technology and top-grade components at the car’s heart, which have been engineered to the highest standards by international motorsport specialist, L.M. Gianetti. The dark centre line appearance is created by the carbon fibre chassis beneath, clearly visible through the tough polycarbonate shell.
At the rear, the spectacular turbines – one or two, depending on the specification – are also displayed beneath the polycarbonate shell, along with the roll cage, emphasising the car’s strength and safety. Further back, the 60-litre luggage compartment is visible, surrounded by the rear racecar suspension structure and the beautifully crafted machined components.
The centre rear stop light appears to float over the rear of the centre canopy, traversing the rear wings.
The trailing edges of the rear bodywork house integrated active rear spoilers which can deploy together or independently of one another to enhance stability and downforce in different circumstances. The racecar-inspired spoilers only deploy on their independent hydraulic actuators at high speeds. A dedicated ECU assesses a variety of data – including speed, acceleration, steering angle and braking force – to determine what assistance is required from the spoilers to optimise the car’s performance. When retracted, only discreet shut lines give a clue to their presence.
The turbine exhausts vent through large, futuristic apertures in the rear – which are lined with reversing LEDs, to create a vivid starburst effect when lit. The tail lights plus the striking direction indicators are hidden until lit and frame the rear vents to complete a dramatic style like no other supercar. A motorsport-style fog light is also mounted in the centre of the rear panel, along with a third rear-view camera.
Bespoke interior designed and crafted in Italy
The Ren’s individuality is enhanced further by a refined, premium interior that delivers ultimate exclusivity with the highest grades of luxury materials. The cossetting driver’s cockpit and passenger pods are finished using the finest Italian leather which indulges the occupants by covering every surface they will touch. In the driver’s cockpit, this includes the upper instrument panel that houses three high definition rear view monitors.
To enhance the sense of exceptional luxury, the seat cushions are finished in an exclusive denim fabric produced by the haute couture clothing company, PT (Pantaloni Torino). Its bespoke texture is designed to grip the occupant to the seat and help prevent sliding around under high cornering or braking loads.
Door panels are also skilfully leather bound and stitched, contrasting beautifully with the lower exposed carbon-fibre section, which serves to remind occupants of the supercar’s performance capabilities. Where the three-occupant configuration is selected, the two passengers sit comfortably in the ‘semi-prone’ position, with access to fold out touchscreens and a communication system that uses speakers and microphones built into each of the headrests.
Advanced in-car technology and safety systems
The Ren is packed with new technologies that combine intelligent advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and advanced connectivity solutions to provide safety and convenience for customers. The information display has an aeronautical flavour, reflecting the instruments in a modern helicopter.
The sweeping upper instrument panel wraps around the driver’s cockpit and houses three separate monitoring screens that display the video feed from the rear-view cameras. One camera is mounted on each side of the car within the badge indents and the third centrally positioned on the rear of the car. A centre display on the dash is visible between the rim and the hub of the steering wheel, and there are two further displays in the instrument panel flanking the driver.
The centre camera gives a 180 degree view to the rear and displays the image on the centre screen when driving and reversing. The two side cameras deliver views onto the two outer screens equivalent to those from traditional side mirrors, and eliminate blind spots.
The seats feature wrap-around headrests containing speakers and a microphone to enable communication between passengers and the driver. There is also an option to have cameras displaying the faces of occupants to one another, allowing them to video chat, with fold out screens for the passengers.
To allow the driver to communicate with people outside, such a security guards at barriers, there are also speakers and microphones housed in the recessed badge emblems on either side of the car.
During start-up, the screens will display key information on the turbine, such as rpm and operating temperature. The main display will then switch to provide information needed for driving, such as speed, battery range and powertrain performance. Seven selectable driving modes are available to the driver, offering a range of performance, economy and comfort modes.
Instead of a static instrument binnacle, digital instrumentation are displayed on a self-levelling screen in the centre of the steering wheel. Using similar technology to a smartphone, the display remains horizontal as the wheel is rotated. As well as aesthetic appeal, the system has practical and safety benefits, with the screen close to the driver’s eye line allowing them to focus on the road ahead.
Radar sensors and forward facing cameras are located behind the dark, transparent surfaces in the nose of the car and drive the active safety features, including emergency braking and blind spot detection.
An all-new platform delivers ultimate performance, brutal power and unparalleled efficiency
The newly-developed Techrules platform is modular, permitting the Ren to be configured to accommodate the driver only, or with one or two additional occupants depending on their exact requirements. For track or competition use, the driver may opt to have the one-pod polycarbonate canopy, with the side pods remaining empty.
For carrying a passenger, the driver may choose a ‘Le Mans’ two occupant configuration, with a room for one passenger in one side pod, and luggage in the other side space. To incorporate the two passenger arrangement a three-pod canopy is required. The configuration can be changed ‘on the fly’, with the driver having all three interchangeable canopies available in their garage to configure the car at will.
Operated by a dash-mounted button inside the cockpit or from the remote key fob, the canopy rises electrically on four high-strength multi-link articulated struts. It remains horizontal as it rises and sweeps back over the occupants heads to rest behind the open cockpit. The car can be driven at low speeds with the canopy open, offering a ‘wind in the hair’ driving experience.
The entire process of entering and exiting the Ren is enabled by a carefully choreographed sequence that adds extraordinary drama the beginning or end of every journey. The driver enters the cockpit by stepping through one of the side pods. To allow easy access, as the canopy opens the constituent parts of the dash each retract, the steering column moves upwards and the passenger footrests in the side pods automatically move forwards. As the canopy closes, each element returns to its ready-to-go position.
The rear chassis section is topped by a stunning polished aluminium bulkhead, machined from a solid billet of aluminium using a 5-axis mill. The precision-crafted frame is visible through the polycarbonate surface, as are the coil-over suspension units. The 60-litre rear luggage compartment is large enough to accommodate a set of golf clubs.
Performance-focused chassis to match the highest standards of motorsport
The Ren’s chassis and body was designed and developed by renowned motorsport specialist, L.M. Gianetti of Turin. The supercar is constructed mainly from carbon-fibre and high-strength aluminium alloy and steel components.
The chassis comprises a full carbon-fibre tub, similar to that used in the top echelons of motorsport, but extended at the rear and with an integral side pod on each side of the centre section.
A 40-litre FIA-certified “safety fuel bladder” is housed beneath the floor of each pod to store fuel to power the recharging turbine(s). These tanks are foam filled and designed to prevent significant fire even when damaged. When passenger configurations are selected, they sit in a semi-prone position, with the fuel tanks located beneath the legs, under the reinforced, lightweight carbon-fibre floor.
Aluminium end plates on the front and rear of the tub provide anti-roll bar mountings; on track versions of the car only they also incorporate mounting points for air jacks, two at the front and two at the rear. The front plate provides a mounting for three electric water pumps mounted in a separated cradle.
At the front and rear, machined aluminium alloy side plates provide the housing for the motor reduction gearing and pickup points for the suspension. All aluminium fittings are machined from billet 7075 grade Ergal Aluminium alloy, which offers a lightweight solution and great resistance to corrosion.
The rear section of the tub behind the driver also houses the lithium ion battery pack and inverter. Depending on how the car is configured, the battery may extend to the full width of the side pods.
The driver’s section is topped by a protective steel motorsport-specification roll cage. This was chosen instead of an enclosed carbon monocoque to allow the upper structure to be specified for different race series if used as a track car.
Overall, the weight of the car is expected to be in the region of 1700 kg – depending on specification.
Paolo Gianetti, CEO at L.M. Gianetti, said: “In the development phase a Ren prototype was extensively shaken down at the challenging Monza race circuit. Our engineers exceeded the project’s targets for the innovative charging system, the highly advanced electric drivetrain, the driving characteristics and the car’s performance.
“The results of the extensive testing regime also leave us very satisfied that we are delivering a truly unique supercar. In the next months we will continue the development of the car with several testing activities on the most famous European tracks.”
High-performing suspension, steering and brakes
The suspension elements were designed specifically for the car and manufactured by L.M. Gianetti. The suspension comprises a classic unequal length wishbone design front and rear. It is constructed of high strength tubular steel and Tig welded. The wishbones are designed to withstand the level of forces that would be experienced by GT3 racing cars.
Steel tube was chosen over carbon-fibre for long-term durability and strength; carbon-fibre suspension components can be susceptible to ballistic damage from road grit and weathering over time.
There are bespoke in-board, horizontally-mounted KW three-way adjustable coilover shock units front and rear, connected to the wishbones by pushrods, similar to the configuration of a typical open-wheeled racing car.
Lightweight 380 mm carbon ceramic discs are fitted in conjunction with six piston calipers by AP Racing. The carbon ceramic discs save 30kg in total compared to equivalent cast iron units and are more durable.
Anti-roll bars are used front and rear and are mounted on the end plates. The front anti-roll bar system comprises an innovative geared system allowing it to be packaged into a small space.
Electric Power Assisted Steering (EPAS) incorporates a range of driver-selectable software maps which alter throttle response, power output, traction control and ABS action, depending on driver preference and driving environment. For example, the driver may choose a lighter map for urban use and a heavier one for high speed or track use. The EPAS rack is mounted behind the front aluminium chassis plate in front of the driver’s feet.
TREV technology delivers supercar performance and unprecedented efficiency
The Techrules Ren will be the first supercar from a Chinese manufacturer and the world’s first electric production supercar powered by a turbine range extender system. Despite having no rivals, the Ren can be classed as a range extended electric vehicle with a distributed powertrain (multiple electric motors). A pure plug-in electric version will also be available in the future.
The Techrules patent-protected series hybrid powertrain combines extensive experience of aerospace and electric vehicle technologies with several proprietary technical innovations to deliver unprecedented levels of efficiency and performance, and ultra-low environmental impact.
Techrules first presented its Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle (TREV) system at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, introducing an all-new range extender system that uses aturbine to drive a generator which charges the battery pack. This in turn, provides electricity to drive the traction motors. Unlike many previously developed turbine powertrain systems, there is no direct electrical feed from the generator to the electric motors in normal operation. Only when the battery is depleted can the turbine be used to propel the car.
Air drawn into the micro turbine is passed through a heat exchanger where heat from the exhaust air is transferred to the cold intake air, and compressed before it is ignited. Ignition of the compressed and heated fuel-air mixture generates enormous energy which is channelled at very high speeds to turn the turbine vanes. As this hot exhaust gas is expelled, it passes through the heat exchanger to ensure the heat energy is recuperated and transferred to cold intake air.
Techrules Chief Technology Officer, Matthew Jin, explains: “In the conventional cars that dominated the 20th century, the combustion engine that converts a fuel’s chemical energy into a useful mechanical energy is also the driving engine that turns the wheels.
“Because turbines have always been a very inefficient way to convert chemical energy into useful, wheel-turning mechanical energy, only a few have tried to use a turbine in the powertrain system, and none have ever succeeded commercially.
“But, with electric vehicles, an electric motor is used to drive the wheels, which effectively frees the combustion engine to exclusively convert chemical energy into mechanical energy and finally into electric energy. This is a major breakthrough, making it possible for us to use the highly efficient turbine engine as a superb range extender on our vehicles.”
Next generation TREV offers two power outputs
The second generation of Techrules’ unique TREV (Turbine-Recharging Electric Vehicle) will power the Ren, with the option of one or two turbines installed to power the batteries. Two types of turbine are available, a 30 kW high efficiency unit and a high power density 80 kW unit, with the variety of combinations offering a wide range of overall turbine power and efficiency options. The new generation turbine – which is in advanced stages of productionisation – is smaller and lighter and runs at higher speeds than previous versions.
The TREV system still has the potential to deliver 2,000 km from 80-litres of fuel, depending on the vehicle it is used in. The EV-only range is targeted at 200 km, subject to the battery and electric motor configuration specified.
The TREV system can be run on both liquid and gaseous fuels. In testing, diesel has proven to provide the best performance capabilities, with emissions are better than the EU6 standard for diesel.
In the future, liquefied natural gas or hydrogen will be the most environmentally efficient fuels, the latter of which will generate zero tailpipe emissions. The TREV system is scalable and designed to be manufactured in high volumes to power any class of car – and could even be made small enough for a motorcycle.
A modular drivetrain for all power outputs
The drivetrain comprises two, four or six axial flux, liquid-cooled electric motors manufactured by YASA in the UK. These motors, known as ‘pancake motors’, have a large diameter in relation to their length, making them ideal for use on the Ren as the motors package flat against the inside of the carbon tub, where space is at a premium.
The rear-wheel-drive two-motor configuration will see a motor driving each rear wheel. A four-motor set-up will drive all four wheels. The highest-power six-motor configuration has two motors for each rear wheel, and one for each front wheel.
The motors drive each wheel via a reduction gear of 1:3.3 housed in each side plate specially designed for the car.
As with the platform, the Ren’s powertrain is also modular, comprising either two, four or six axial flux (biscuit tin) YASA electric motor generators. There are also three available battery capacities: 14 kWh, 25 kWh, and 32 kWh. And customers can choose from either one or two high efficiency 30 kW turbine configuration, or a high power density two-80 kW turbine set-up.
And single YASA motor generates 160 kW / 215 hp (218 ps) and 390 Nm / 288 lb ft. The resulting outputs from the various configurations available are:
· Two motors = 320 kW / 429 hp (435ps) 780 Nm / 575 lb ft
· Four motors = 640 kW / 858 hp (870ps) 1,560 Nm / 1,150 lb ft
· Six motors = 960 kW / 1,287 hp (1,305ps) 2,340 Nm / 1,725 lb ft
Smart battery management with advanced charge balancing strategy
The battery pack is designed and manufactured by Podium Engineering specifically for the Ren. It will come in three capacities of 14 kWh, 25 kWh and 32 kWh and can be charged to 80% capacity in under 15 minutes using a DC fast charger. The target lifespan of the battery is 100,000 cycles.
The batteries feature an innovative design and incorporate battery management technologies that enable superior charging efficiency and power balancing between battery cells. Each cell voltage and temperature are independently monitored. Cells are connected via a circuit board instead of wires, for greater durability. The number of cells is 1,344 cell for the 25 kWh version and the pack can deliver 1,200 A, enough to drive six wheel motors at full power.
The battery management system (BMS) is integrated and designed to optimise the performance and life of the battery while ensuring absolute safety. There are three water cooling circuits for the motors, battery and inverter. A heat exchanger (radiator) pack is attached to the front aluminium chassis plate and the cooling circuits are supplied by three electric pumps also mounted on the front plate.
The performance and range capabilities of the TREV system are directly linked to the chosen modular options and electric drivetrain configurations.
Altogether, the new Techrules platform can cater for more than 300 TREV system options.
Through extensive testing and evolution of the TREV technology over the past 12 months, performance of the Ren production car is even more explosive than the 2016 concept car. In the flagship six-motor version of Ren the maximum power will reach to 960 kW (1,287 hp/1,305 ps).
A platform designed by Techrules for the future of eco-mobility
With a future range of models in mind the Ren represents a platform that can be modulated to support supercars, SUVs, family sedans and even small city cars. However the manufacturing approach will be different across the categories. The supercar construction is introduced in the Ren supercar, with a hand-crafted carbon-fibre tub and double wishbone suspension following the high level performance focus of formula and sports racing cars. This approach is only suitable for very low production volumes.
Techrules is taking this unique approach to developing platforms to allow models to therefore share similar powertrains but within different vehicle architecture.
Production of Ren is likely to start in 2018, with orders starting at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. A limited run of 96 track versions will be hand built in Italy, with a projected production volume of 10 cars per year.
Performance (all projections based on initial testing of Ren supercar with maximum battery and turbine configuration)
Power output: 960 kW (1,287 hp / 1,305 ps)
Total torque at the wheels: 7,800 Nm (5,753 lb ft)
Motor shaft torque at front wheel: 780 Nm (575 lb ft)
Motor shaft torque at rearwheel: 1,560 Nm (1,150 lb ft)
Totaltorque at the motor shaft: 2,340 Nm (1,725 lb ft)
Acceleration (0-100 km/h): 2.5 seconds
Max speed: 320 km/h
Pure Fuel consumption: 7.5l/100km
Number of forward gears: 1
Voltage: Nominal 710-800V
Battery type: High Power Li-Ion Polymer Battery
Capacity: 25 kWh usable
Thermal management: Water cooling
Battery and thermal management systems with several layers of redundant safety and protection systems.
Construction: Carbon-fibre monocoque
Front suspension: Double wishbone
Rear suspension: Double wishbones
Wheel / tyre size front: 8.5J x 22 / 265/35 R22
Wheel / tyre size rear: 8.5J x 22 / 265/35 R22
Length: 4,694 mm
Width: 2,048 mm
Height: 1,200 mm
Wheelbase: 2,723.5 mm
Track front / rear 1,818 mm / 1,808 mm
Dry weight 1,630 kg
Front: Ventilated carbon ceramic discs Ø 380 mm, 37 mm wide, with six calipers
Rear: Ventilated carbon ceramic discs Ø 355 mm, 35 mm wide, with four-piston calipers
Rack and pinion electrically power assisted steering.
Torque vectoring with stability function
Safety disconnect systems
Multiple ECU architecture for monitoring of safety-relevant electronic systems