Driving on Air
We’ve been so busy focusing on electric cars, biofuels, and other ways to cut carbon emissions from our autos that we might have overlooked one seemingly endless resource to run our vehicles: air.
The BBC reports that a French engineer has promised that his design for an air-powered car will be ready for the roads in a year’s time. Guy Negre has been tinkering with his OneCAT air-mobile for a decade, and plans to partner with the Indian car company Tata (which has been in the news lately due to their efforts to roll out a $2,500 car) to produce it, and says he will work to persuade hundreds of other car manufacturers around the globe to build his cars with locally sourced materials. In addition, his team is also looking to distribute electric mopeds to offset the CO2 output from motorbikes and scooters in urban areas. All of which sounds promising, but how exactly do the darn things work? The BBC has the details:
The OneCAT will be a five-seater with a glass fibre body, weighing just 772 pounds and could cost just over US$4,900. It will be driven by compressed air stored in carbon-fibre tanks built into the chassis. The tanks can be filled with air from a compressor in just three minutes—much quicker than a battery car. Alternatively, it can be plugged into the mains for four hours and an on-board compressor will do the job.
While some industry officials counter that the car would need to meet safety standards, Negre points out that without a gas tank, only the air compressors would explode during impact, causing a very loud bang. “The biggest risk is to the ears,” he says. All of which sounds promising to us.
Photo: Image via AutoBlogGreen and ++cars">BusinessWeek
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