The idea has been floating around since before 1997 but India may be getting ready to begin selling it’s “air car” that runs on compressed air. First an article from Jaded Swine (no less), followed by one from Popular Mechanics. Thanks to Jeannie.
India’s Car Runs on Air
March 10, 2011 by Right Thinking, Jaded Swine Blog
Tata Motors is ready to introduce Air Car – Will it be the next big thing? Tata Motors is taking giant strides and making history for itself. First the Land Rover/Jaguar deal, then the world’s cheapest car, and now it is also set to introduce the car that runs on compressed air.
It should be test marketed in Washington D.C. where there is an abundance of hot air.
With spiralling fuel prices it is about time we heard some breakthrough!
India’s largest automaker, Tata Motors, is set to start producing the world’s first commercial air-powered vehicle.
The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy N?gre 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 by August 2011.
The Air Car, called the “MiniCAT” could cost around Rs. 3,475,225 ($8,177.00) in India and would have a range of around 300 km between refuels.
The MiniCAT which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued, not welded, and a body of fiberglass powered by compressed air. Microcontrollers are used in every device in the car, so one tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, indicators, etc.
There are no keys – just an access card which can be read by the car from your pocket. According to the designers, it costs less than 50 rupees per 100 Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where 80% of motorists drive at less than 60 Km. The car has a top speed of 105 Kmph. 100.0 KMPH = 62.137 MPH
Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at adapted petrol stations to administer compressed air. In two or three minutes, and at a cost of approximately 100 rupees, the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometers. 300 km = 186.411 mi.
As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4 hours. Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 50,000 Km).
The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0-15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.
World’s First Air-Powered Car: Zero Emissions by Next Summer
By Matt Sullivan
June 1, 2007
This six-seater tax, which should be available in India next year, is powered entirely by a tank filled with compressed 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 NÃ¨gre 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.