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Chinese startup planning turbine-electric supercar

by Ronan Glon

Techrules hopes to show its first production car next year in Geneva.

An ambitious Chinese startup named Techrules has announced plans to introduce the nation's first-ever supercar.

Called GT96, the model was previewed by a wildly futuristic concept that debuted earlier this year at the Geneva Auto Show. The company hired renown Italian designer Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son, Fabrizio, to tweak the coupe's lines as it transitions from a concept to a production model.

Power will be provided by a decidedly science fiction-esque plug-in hybrid drivetrain made up of a micro turbine and an electric motor. In simple terms, the turbine charges the battery pack that zaps the motors used to drive the wheels. The setup delivers 1,030 horsepower, enough to send the GT96 from zero to 62 mph in 2.5 seconds and on to a top speed that's electronically limited to 217 mph.

A 2.5-second zero-to-60 sprint is impressive, but the car's other stats are downright jaw-dropping -- at least on paper. The GT96 boasts a driving range of roughly 1,242 miles, and it returns approximately 1,306 miles per gallon. And while it all sounds too good to be true, Beijing-based Techrules stresses that it has already started testing a fully-functional prototype on the Silverstone track in the United Kingdom.

The production version of Techrules' GT96 is scheduled to make its public debut during next year's Geneva Auto Show. It will be built in Italy by L.M. Gianetti, and production will be limited to about 25 examples annually. Pricing information hasn't been announced yet.

Photos by Ronan Glon.