28 June 2007

Its Time Has Come.

World's First Air-Powered Car: Zero Emissions by Next Summer

This six-seater tax, which should be available in India next year, is powered entirely by a tank filled with compressed air.

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.

Popular Mechanics has the full article.

Unfortunately,we will,as usual, be behind the curve on this.
India's biggest car manufacturer has ordered 6,000 of these to debut in 2008.
Ex Formula One engineer Guy Negre designed them and I think we should start putting the pressure on so we could see them here in the U.S.
Zero emmissions. Zero.
The little buggers can go just over 65 mph and 125 miles before a recharge is needed.
MDI, who builds them, is building another car that also uses fuel and the range on those is 2,000 kilometers or about 1.200 hundred miles.

The duel energy engine, on the other hand, has been conceived as much for the city as the open road and will be available in all MDI vehicles. The engines will work exclusively with compressed air while it is running under 50 km/h in urban areas. But when the car is used outside urban areas at speeds over 50 km/h, the engines will switch to fuel mode. The engine will be able to use gasoline, gas oil, bio diesel, gas, liquidized gas, ecological fuel, alcohol, etc.

Both engines will be available with 2, 4 and 6 cylinders, When the air tanks are empty the driver will be able to switch to fuel mode, thanks to the car's on board computer.

The secret, apparently, to this engine is an articulated connecting rod that allows the piston to stay at top dead center longer for the air to charge the cylinder.

You can see an animation of it at work.

I think it's a pretty cool idea that's time has come.

A link to the home page here.

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