Monday, March 16, 2009

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

What if the world no longer relied on fossil fuels? Thanks to ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre, the answer to this question is in the near future. This car runs by forcing compressed air through traditional pistons much similarly to a regular gas engine, but without the combustion and harmful exhaust. Since there is no more combustion in pistons, engines can be made from different materials that will allow for a more efficient a lighter way to power a car. Not only will these engines be cheaper to produce, but they will also be cheaper to fuel. MDI, the producer of this vehicle, estimates that it will cost a mere $2 to fill the carbon-fiber air tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. Or if the owner can’t find a location to do this, they can simply plug the car in at home for 4 hours, compared the 3 minutes it would take to fill at a station. The one downside, the car can only reach max speeds of 68 mph, but how fast do you really need to go when traveling by air pressure.

With all of this said, who wouldn’t sign up for one? Many countries have already jumped on the idea of an air-powered vehicle including India. Roughly 6000 zero emissions vehicles were scheduled to hit the streets of India in August of 2008. This article says that America will not likely jump on the bandwagon but due to increasing popularity in other countries and increasing oil prices many believe that the air car will soon hit US shores.

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