A car that runs on compressed air, instead of gasoline or diesel?
Yes, Virginia! Air cars are real and are being manufactured, but not by Americans. 🙁
Here’s CNN on the air car:
A longer video on the air car (h/t beloved fellow Joseph Fasciani):
Here’s Wikipedia on “Air Car”:
A compressed air car is a car that uses a motor powered by compressed air. The car can be powered solely by air, or combined (as in a hybrid electric vehicle) with gasoline, diesel, ethanol, or an electric plant with regenerative braking.
Compressed air cars are powered by motors fueled with compressed air, which is stored in a tank at high pressure such as 30 MPa (4500 psi or 300 bar). Rather than driving engine pistons with an ignited fuel-air mixture, compressed air cars use the expansion of compressed air, in a similar manner to the expansion of steam in a steam engine.
Storage tanks are often made of carbon-fiber for weight reduction while maintaining strength; if penetrated carbon fiber will crack but not produce shrapnel.
There have been prototype cars since the 1920s, and compressed air has been used in torpedo propulsion as well.
Compressed air cars are emission-free at the exhaust. Since a compressed air car’s source of energy is usually electricity, its total environmental impact depends on how clean the source of this electricity is. Different regions can have very different sources of power, ranging from high-emission power sources such as coal to zero-emission power sources such as wind. A given region can also update its electrical power sources over time, thereby improving or worsening total emissions.
However a study showed that even with very optimistic assumptions, air storage of energy is less efficient than chemical (battery) storage.
Various companies are investing in the research, development and deployment of Compressed air cars. Overoptimistic reports of impending production date back to at least May 1999. For instance, the MDI Air Car made its public debut in South Africa in 2002, and was predicted to be in production “within six months” in January 2004. As of January 2009, the air car never went into production in South Africa. Most of the cars under development also rely on using similar technology to Low-energy vehicles in order to increase the range and performance of their cars.
To read the entire Wiki article, CLICK HERE.
Wiki lists the following Air Car manufacturers, none of which is American:
- MDI or Motor Development International (France)
- Tata Motors (India)
- Air Car Factories (Spain)
- Energine (South Korea)
- K’Airmobiles (France)
- Engineair (Australia)