. . . . .
Would you drive a car that propels you via compressed air?
Here’s the Cat, an air-powered car made by Korean automaker Tata (no, really) Motors.
From an email:
First the Land Rover/Jaguar deal, then the world’s cheapest car, and now it is set to introduce the car that runs on compressed air.
With spiraling 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 Negre 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 $8,177.00 in India and would have a range of around 185 miles between refuels.
The cost of a refill would be about $2.00
The MiniCAT which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued, 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 $1.11 per 62 miles (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (125 to 186 miles or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where 80% of motorists drive at less than 38 miles. The car has a top speed of 65 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 $2.22, the car will be ready to go another 125-186 miles.
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 quart of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 31,000 miles).
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.
. . . .