November 1, 2006
GM shows turbine-Powered bio-diesel EcoJet concept car
General Motors EcoJet concept. Click image to enlarge
Las Vegas, Nevada – General Motors Advanced Design Studio unveiled a mid-engine, turbine-powered supercar called EcoJet on Tuesday. “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno and Ed Welburn, GM vice president of Global Design, introduced the car at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show.
The EcoJet began as a discussion between Leno, an avid car enthusiast and collector, and Bernard Juchli, the chief mechanic and caretaker of Leno’s collection. Leno then turned to Welburn for design direction. “A couple of paper napkins later, Ed had begun to capture the essence of the car,” said Leno. “I’ve admired the work of GM’s Design Studio in North Hollywood, California, and asked Ed if the studio’s director, Frank Saucedo, and his guys could continue the design study.”
Borrowing design cues from jet aircraft and Formula One racecars, the supercar began to take shape under the watchful eyes of Leno and Welburn. A concurrent engineering program defined the vehicle’s proportions and mechanics.
The 650-horsepower (400 lb.-ft. of torque) Leno original is powered by a Honeywell LT-101 turbine engine that runs on bio-diesel fuel. The engine sits in a modified Corvette Z06 hydroformed aluminum frame with aluminum and magnesium structural and chassis components. The vehicle’s shell is an advanced construction of carbon fiber over Kevlar.