BAMF2010: CMT 380X Blackbird

Okay, we lied, we totally want one of these too. The CMT 380X Blackbird is one wicked hybrid car!

Looking like it just rolled off the set of the next Batman film, the Blackbird is the brainchild of Electronic Arts Chief Creative Director [Richard Hilleman]. Starting from a kit car base — the Factory Five Racing GTM chassis — [Hilleman] created a unique 230 horsepower drive train combining a 30 kilowatt diesel turbine and 24 KWh lithium polymer battery pack.

As a purely plug-in electric car, the Blackbird has a range of 85 miles. In hybrid mode, range is extended to 500 miles. The car can accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 7 seconds. Come decelerating, the car makes use of regenerative braking.

It’s strictly a one-off for the time being, but several companies have approached [Hilleman] about possibly commercializing the design. A couple more choice pics follow the break…

44 thoughts on “BAMF2010: CMT 380X Blackbird

  1. Hilarious how their expectations went from 0-60 in 3.9 seconds to 0-60 in about 8 seconds. And the top speed went from 150mph to 104mph.

    All in all, I’d call this car a complete failure. Does it look cool? Yes. Is it even a sports car? Not when it’s slower than many minivans on the market.

  2. As a geek, all those lights and guages might have me too distracted to drive! I’d be willing to give it a try, though…

    Also: Technically speaking, isn’t this an all-electric car (like the Chevy Volt) rather than a “hybrid” since the diesel turbine doesn’t drive the wheels?

  3. Looks like a BAMF but those specs really let it down. Something that awesome looking should be pushing 0-60 times of at most 5 seconds. A stock Camry has faster times.

  4. The exterior looks fantastic I love the matt black paint although I would change the alloys.

    It’s a pitty how poor the performance is I think an all electric design like the tesla would do better.

  5. What are you guys talking about? The KTM kit isn’t hybrid — it’s just a chassis and doesn’t even come with a drive train. These guys MADE a hybrid and it looks quite functional.

  6. Nice chassis. I think he should have consulted with the maker of White Zombie ( and made this a real BAMF. Nothing like having an EV race car expert on the team. Call me when ver. 2.0 is out.

  7. As usual, everyone touts the power and range of hybrid vehicles, while completely ignoring the efficiency. Doing a bit of math, I came up with the following figures:

    It has a 500 mile range, 80 of which is provided by fully charged batteries, leaving 420 miles per tank of fuel. According to Hackaday, it has a 10 gallon tank, so it gets 42 miles per gallon of diesel fuel. This is equivalent to about 37.86 miles per gallon of gasoline.

    However, the article doesn’t mention the fuel tank size, and the electric range quoted by HaD is different than the article.

  8. i hate it … seats look uncomfortable the power is worse than the jeep i use for offrooading and the insides need cleaning up and my moms minivan has a better top speed

    ill stick with my 550HP twin turbo nissan skyline GTR-32

  9. I really don’t quite get why almost everyone are whining.

    My car can’t do that… and even I can’t make a car like this just from a chasis kit! (well I don’t have the money and help either)

    It’s his car… and is awesome… if he’s planning selling these, well that’s his problem.

  10. I really think everyone should stop hating, I mean the guy MADE a hybrid with just a kit chassis. Hate all you want after you go out and do the same thing but make yours better. If everyone who criticized things like this spent the time and energy designing and build then hating on other peoples stuff we’d have way more advances IMO. I’m in the process of building an electric bike, I can only imagine the complexity of what I’m doing on a car scale, and a hybrid at that. Just my 2cents.

  11. @biozz
    “ill stick with my 550HP twin turbo nissan skyline GTR-32”

    R32 GTR FTW!

    At least the Japanese put the steering wheels on the right (== correct) side :)

    Alas, i’ve only got the GTS-t, and one of the ignition coils needs replacing… poor thing…

  12. Ignore the fact of the sport-car body and passenger car performance figures.
    I really like this idea. 20km / litre is very respectable. And who cares if it takes 8 seconds to do 98km/h (60mph)!? Fit this kind of equipment in a commuters car and it becomes a more logical way to go to work! Hope this commercializes soon!

    1. Exactly. I’ve has everything from a 600cc Honda (N600) to a 427 Camero ego tripper that satisfied very different needs. Some of my favorites (depending on pleasure, utility, efficiency or various combinations, have been an Austin Healy 3000 (pleasure), a Geo Metro Xfi I could squeeze 62.5 mpg out of and travel all over Southern California in averaging 52 mpg (a total cost of ownership and operating cost of $0.125 per mile) as well as hauling all sorts of hardware like 8ft x 42 inch end pieces of Home Depot type racking I installed in my garage (staying within the 3ft overhang limits). An 83 Diesel C20 Suburban hauled aircraft display trailers with great in town fuel mileage and enough weight and brakes to control the heavier trailers. A 72 LUV pickup with a 350/350 got up to 25 mpg, tons of fun and useful load capacity.

      I would use Richard’s car as a fun to drive commuter with above average fuel efficiency from regenerative braking in town and streamlined efficiency on the longer trips it can make. The only additions might be a solar panel roof to a bit to either battery charging on the long trips, or to power fans or other cooling devices (Peltier Effect) if some brief extra (but relatively inefficient) cooling is desired such as pre-trip cooling beyond just circulating fans. There may be some thermo-electric generating possible from higher differential temperatures with the turbine waste heat, but the cost benefit may be too low for anything other than demonstration purposes.

  13. @GeekDoc:
    It is a form of hybrid drive. It’s actually the same type of drive that is used in diesel locomotives, except the locomotives don’t use/need a battery pack. (Would be quite impractical unless they’re not hauling anything… wait… wouldn’t that actually be a good thing to have for loco’s when maneuvering around the yard?)

  14. 500 mile range – in carbon fiber seats with no padding… somehow, methinks not.
    My rule for the GTM Supercar (I’ve wanted that kit for so long), stick with the LS1 engine – that way, you can get better than 0-60 in 8 seconds (plus you can still put in padded seats!).

  15. Ships and trains have been diesel / electric for many years. Why not a car? I bet the fuel economy would nearly double without the added weight of batteries. 3450 lbs is kinda portly for a two seat sports car.

  16. What the hell was the point of choosing a chassis that probably rides really hard and fitting it with race seats, then giving it a drive train that won’t make any use of the performance nature of the chassis? You get a slow uncomfortable car. AND IT’S NOT EVEN THAT EFFICIENT AS A HYBRID

  17. All I hear is “bitch bitch bitch…”

    This is HAD, and he’s got a cool hack!

    How many of our first builds are up to perfectionist standards?
    I know mine sure aren’t, and I doubt any of yours are either.

    With practice, and further revisions of projects, things improve. I’m sure if he follows this further, it’ll get better as well. (And if he spends many trips anywhere near the 500 mile stated max range, he’ll likely improve the comfort of the seats…)

    But as it sits, it’s an admirable exercise in fabrication, even if it does leave a bit on the table in this form.

    Bravo to the builder, I hope it lives up to expectations.

    To the rest who want higher power, enjoy building the car your way, too! Nothing wrong with a big cube engine that can push your toys from zero to crazy in no time flat, but it’s also not the only reason to build a car…

  18. While I hate to agree with the haters this does seem to be a bit of a failure.

    If you ignore the performance for a moment and look at the efficiency, 42mpg is terrible because a regular turbodiesel can already get 50-60mpg.

  19. Hmm, well if this particular powerplant and battery combination doesn’t work to well in the “pin your eyes to the back of your head” acceleration category I wonder how it would do in a work platform. Say maybe a half ton truck? I have been looking at electric vehicle conversion kits, and ground up kit built cars for a while now, just didn’t want to give up my F-150. But with the small diesel turbine and the low end torque of the electric motors this would have real potential in a truck.

  20. Note to self: when you build a functional car out of a kit chassis and a novel drivetrain of your own design, do not — repeat, not — share on hack a day.

    Unless, of course, your prototype outperforms conventional vehicles in all categories: Faster than a GT-R, lighter than a Lotus Elise, better mileage than a Jetta TDI, more comfortable than a Lexus LS, more towing capacity than an F-350, more cargo room than a Sprinter.

    Of course, the creator’s real mistake was not mentioning that it’s got an Arduino in there controlling the windshield wiper delay.

  21. jesus christ! all the haters…

    this was a guys project funded by a generator company. you say “there are better diesel engines on the market” or “this isn’t as good as other hybrids or EV’s” yea that’s because this guy MADE it. imagine what it could become with huge funding from some automaker!

    i bet all you people bitching still live with your parents

    where did HaD get 0 – 60 in 7 seconds? the 7 _is_ next to the 4 on the numb pad, and the capstone article says 3.9 which is about 4… no? maybe? either way, i’d drive it (after i get a seat you can sit in for more than 10 minutes)

  22. I will say one thing. Jet power is awesome if i had the money my moped would sport a jet engien:P… And you know what, this car dos have a jet engine, so stop whining.

    frankly if you don’t finde jet power awesome, and putteing that kind of power in to everyday stuff even more so, i don’t think you get the meaning with this side. It dosn’t have to be perfekt it just have to be awesome THE END…..

  23. A note from the creator.

    A couple of the numbers in the story are wrong, and you are getting a couple of different stories combined.

    First, Capstone helped (as did AC Propulsion), but their funding help was VERY limited. I paid almost all of the bills myself. The CMT380 that Capstone described would be a production car, with a multi-speed transmission, and an updated electric drive system with liquid cooling. I built a single gear car, as it is focused on my Highway Cruise. That is the Top Speed difference.

    Second, the weight is 3154, It is about 600lbs heavier than the stock GTM. There is 200 lbs of battery protection under the cabin, that will become ruberized Kevlar, and a lot of aluminum that will eventually be CF. We should get about 250lbs back.

    The Fuel tank is 10.4 Gallons.

    Third, this car is built and geared for Long Distance Cruise, not 0-60. The 7 second time is a real number, driven on normal streets with a full tank of gas and a passenger. I haven’t pushed the car at all (how about we don’t brake it during the test cycle. It is probably better, but I haven’t pushed it. The Engineering math says it should be in the 6’s. You are absolutely right that a Tesla is quicker 0-60, but I will beat them to LA, and that was the point. I have a 550 Spyder Electric Car that is the match for the Tesla’s 0-60 and I built it in 1995. (looks better too). By the way, this is better than any street Ferrari made in the 70’s, 80’s and most of the 90’s.

    Fourth. This is a personal project, with a lot of stuff that no one had done before. It rolled out of the Garage in mid Feb, and has done more than 700 miles with NO FAILURES. I’m pretty proud of that engineering and I have never had an ICE car I built accomplish that particular trick, with a lot less new stuff going on.

    Finally, the Seats are more comfortable than you think. Steve Tillett built the seats that a number of the 24LM cars used this weekend. I have done more than a 100 miles (2+ hours) in the saddle and it hurt more to get in and out than to ride in it. It has hybrid airbag/coilover suspension. It rides surprisingly well.

    Thanks for your support. I was trying to show that a car could be built for the next 50 years, that could still be a lot of fun. Please put your time and money where your mouth is, and make a better solution. I will be happy to cheer for you.


    1. I liked what you did with a reasonably affordable starting point.

      One of the regulars at our EAACH1 Design group was Barnaby Wainfan, Chief Aerodynamicist on the Auto X-prise winning Edison2 and builder of the Facetmobile, among other projects (I think Craig Breedlove’s last LSR car). Most of us can’t get that level of support, but I remember another Factory Five GTM kit that impressed his team, built by high schoolers and featured in Fast Times at West Philly High. They just missed the final cut for the Auto X-prise, but have done so much better at the Watkins Glen Green Grand Prix in 2012 per

      I’m retired and out of the game for now, but am interested in the technical and future affordability of projects like yours. Elon Musk has a reputation for calling HFC cars “Hydrogen Fool Cells” preferring to get his performance from a lot of battery capacity. I remember the HFC development vehicles that cost a reported $1.5 million (at the 2007 Shell EcoMarathon), but the Hyundai guy at the Solar Decathlon last year said they hope to have models in the $50,000 price range. Though the HFC vehicles are not high performance race cars, they do have me interested in competitions that emphasize streetable performance at anything near the fuel efficiency shown by the HFC EcoMarathon entry from the University of Nance though it didn’t compete with the ICE versions at the event. I believe the CalPoly San Louis Obispo entry was over 1,900 mpg, but the French HFC was almost 6 times better for equivalent mpg). Perhaps a Hyundai HFC setup in an old Kelmark GT a friend has (adding a super capacitor array to store recovered energy and provide quick bursts?

  24. An 8-second 0-60 “supercar” that gets the equivalent of 37mpg? It’s a slug!! The only cool thing about it is the body, which Hilleman didn’t even design. It obviously handles as well as it sprints, since the car was designed to be half as heavy as this pig. I wouldn’t be surorised if the fram comes apart under the groaning 3500 pounds of fat.
    So this is best the Chief Creative Director of EA games could figure out–Matte black paint!! LOLz

  25. Richard did an incredible job! Which one of you whiners could build anything close to this? This isn’t General Motors. This is one guy building something very cool. I remember Richard as a young teenager in the 70’s. He was building lasers in his house. There was always someone who would think his lasers weren’t a big deal since they didn’t look like Star Trek. They failed to grasp that this kid was building LASERS in the 1970’s!!! This is why he’s the Chief Creative Director of EA and most of his detractors are probably small fries in comparison. Party on, Richard. Party on!

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