Thursday, August 18, 2011

A car that runs on air!!

India's largest automaker is set to start producing the world's first commercial air-powered vehicle. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre for Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air, as opposed to the gas-and-oxygen explosions of internal-combustion models, to push its engine's pistons. Some 6000 zero-emissions Air Cars are scheduled to hit Indian streets in August of 2008.

Barring any last-minute design changes on the way to production, the Air Car should be surprisingly practical. The $12,700 CityCAT, one of a handful of planned Air Car models, can hit 68 mph and has a range of 125 miles. It will take only a few minutes for the CityCAT to refuel at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units; MDI says it should cost around $2 to fill the car's carbon-fiber tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. Drivers also will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car's built-in compressor to refill the tanks in about 4 hours.

Of course, the Air Car will likely never hit American shores, especially considering its all-glue construction. But that doesn't mean the major automakers can write it off as a bizarre Indian experiment — MDI has signed deals to bring its design to 12 more countries, including Germany, Israel and South Africa.
What?? All glue? Not in the US? Awww.... Why can't we have all glue car lanes on the freeway? All glue special parking? All glue special driving days?



Steve Bates said...

Just to be clear... your local source of electricity (to run one or another compressor) determines how environmentally friendly (or not) this car is. For example, Houston's primary source is a nuclear plant not much newer than Fukushima.

In Our House, I pay a couple cents more per kwh for 100-percent wind power... not so bad, but still not great for the birds, especially in the nearby Katy Prairie flyway. But charging at home means using the slow-going built-in compressor anyway.

Still, it's an intriguing idea. I suppose they'll introduce them in America about the time Hell and Houston freeze over...

ellroon said...

*sigh*... I hope you're wrong, Steve... but you've been proved right too many times to doubt.