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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.

The Air Car Mini-Cat by Korean Tata 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.

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