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Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

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  • Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

    not really new but still interesting:

    Lofty idea initially aimed at French market

    Oct. 4, 2004
    Associated Press

    PARIS - Record-high oil prices might seem like bad news for the auto industry. But one European manufacturer plans to make a type of car unaffected by $50-a-barrel crude — cars that run on compressed air.

    Luxembourg-based Moteur Developpment International is gearing up for the launch of its Air Car line next year.

    "It's safe, doesn't pollute, doesn't explode, it's not poisonous and it's not expensive," said MDI representative Sebastien Braud.

    The company says the cars will initially go on sale in France, where the first assembly line is due to start production in the middle of next year.

    The MiniCATS three-seater compact, a commercial version of a prototype showcased at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, will be priced at $9,850. The CitiCATS six-seater sedan will retail for $16,000.

    How it works

    In both cars, an electric pump compresses air into the tank at a pressure of 300 bars. The pump plugs straight into an ordinary household socket and takes four hours to complete the recharge.

    "When you get home you normally plug in your cell phone," said Braud. "Well, now you do that with your car too."

    The already attractive economics of the Air Car — MDI claims a recharge costs just $2.50 at French electricity prices — can only get more persuasive if oil prices stay high.

    "It certainly can't hurt," said Braud. "It will help encourage people to switch over."

    The Air Car's pistons, pumped by the escaping compressed air, can take the vehicle up to 70 miles per hour. It can travel 50 miles at top speed on a full tank, or further at lower speeds.

    Slightly pricier hybrid versions achieve higher speeds and longer ranges by running on a combination of compressed air and conventional gasoline, or bio-fuels derived from organic matter.

    MDI says the air-only models meet the needs of most urban drivers, who average just 11 miles a day. And the only exhaust that comes out of the tail pipe is cold air.

    Limited appeal, benefits?

    But auto analysts play down the Air Car's chances of taking off, unless a major car maker buys the technology and markets it through its own network.

    "If you buy a Peugeot or a Renault, you know that there's a dealer close by if you have a problem," said Gaetan Toulemonde of Deutsche Bank Securities. "If your car has only one dealer in France, what are you going to do when it needs repairs?"

    Toulemonde said about 10,000 electric cars had been sold in France since major manufacturers introduced them a decade ago. Many now outperform the Air Car in terms of speed and range but nonetheless remain niche products.

    Environmentalists are also wary about the Air Car's claimed benefits. Converting energy from electricity to compressed air is inefficient, according to Karsten Krause of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, a green lobby group based in Brussels.

    By consuming much more energy from the power plant than it delivers on the road, Krause said, it could even do as much environmental damage as some gasoline cars.

    "You may not have any pollution from the car itself," he said, "but you're just transferring the environmental burden to another place."

    Krause's organization pushes a much simpler recipe for cutting greenhouse gas and toxic emissions from vehicles. If consumers ditched their SUVs and four-liter guzzlers and chose engine capacities reflecting their real needs, he said, fuel consumption would drop by a third.

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  • #2
    Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

    Revolutionary air car runs on compressed air

    Mike Aivaz and Muriel Kane
    Friday January 4, 2008

    BBC News is reporting that a French company has developed a pollution-free car which runs on compressed air. India's Tata Motors has the car under production and it may be on sale in Europe and India by the end of the year.

    The air car, also known as the Mini-CAT or City Cat, can be refueled in minutes from an air compressor at specially equipped gas stations and can go 200 km on a 1.5 euro fill-up -- roughly 125 miles for $3. The top speed will be almost 70 mph and the cost of the vehicle as low as $7000.

    The car features a fibreglass body and a revolutionary electrical system and is completely computer-controlled. It is powered by the expansion of compressed air, using no combustion at all, and the exhaust is entirely clean and cool enough for use in the internal air conditioning system.

    Tata Motors is known for its interest in innovation and has been selling compressed gas buses since 2000. It is currently working on producing the world's cheapest car, which will be almost 100% plastic and will sell in India for about $2500.

    Tata is also expanding into the world market. It acquired Korea's Daweoo in 2004 and is now the top bidder to purchase the originally British Jaguar and Land Rover lines from the United States' troubled Ford Motor Company.

    The following video is from BBC's BBC World, broadcast on January 04, 2008
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    • #3


      • #4
        Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

        2003 AUDI A2 1.4 TDI SE 5dr Diesel Hatchback


        • 52,000 miles
        • Manual
        • BLACK
        • Diesel
        • Hatchback
        • 1422 cc

        Full Description:

        Glossary of Terms


        • #5
          Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

          Five-seat concept car runs on air

          Wednesday, 13 February 2008#
          By Roger Harrabin
          Environment analyst, BBC News

          Video: Test driving the clean car

          An engineer has promised that within a year he will start selling a car that runs on compressed air, producing no emissions at all in town.
          Major savings

          Mr Negre has been promising for more than a decade to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Independent observers are more convinced this time because he recently secured backing from the giant Indian conglomerate Tata to put the finishing touches to the engine.

          Tata is the only big firm he'll license to sell the car - and they are limited to India. For the rest of the world he hopes to persuade hundreds of investors to set up their own factories, making the car from 80% locally-sourced materials.

          "This will be a major saving in total emissions," he says.

          "Imagine we will be able to save all those components travelling the world and all those transporters."

          He wants each local factory to sell its own cars to cut out the middle man and he aims for 1% of global sales - about 680,000 per year.

          Terry Spall from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers says: "I really hope he succeeds. It is a really brave experiment in producing a sustainable car."

          But he said he was interested to see how the car would fare with safety tests and how much it would appeal to a public conditioned to expect luxury fittings adding to the weight of the vehicle.

          Mr Negre says there's no issue with safety - if the air-car crashes the air tanks won't shatter - they will split with a very loud bang. "The biggest risk is to the ears."

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          • #6
            Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

            what happens if you crash in that little plastic car :S
            Jo kaam karta hai tu chup ke jahaan se
            koi dekhta hai tujhe aasmaan se


            • #7
              Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

              do they purposely make these ugly?


              • #8
                Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

                Air-Powered Car Coming to U.S. in 2009 to 2010 at Sub-$18,000, Could Hit 1000-Mile Range

                By Matt Sullivan
                February 22, 2008

                The Air Car caused a huge stir when we reported last year that Tata Motors would begin producing it in India. Now the little gas-free ride that could is headed Stateside in a big-time way.

                Zero Pollution Motorscar and , a favorite among early entrants for the Automotive X Prize, for which MDI and ZPM have already signed up. But with the family-size, four-door CityCAT undergoing standard safety tests in Europe, then side-impact tests once it arrives in the States, could it be the first 100-mpg, nonelectric car you can actually buy?

                The CityCAT, already being developed in India (bottom left), will be available for U.S. production in three different four-door styles. But it's the radical dual-energy engine, with a possible 1000-mile range at 96 mph, that could move the Air Car beyond Auto X Prize dreams and into American garages.

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                • #9
                  Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

                  whoa. It looks like it ran into a wall and never got fixed.

                  Why are environmentaly-sound cars so hideous?


                  • #10
                    Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

                    I personally don't care about the 'echo friendly' rubbish! I am more interested in looks + performance... So I rather get a not so echo friendly car! :)
                    خُذِ الْعَفْوَ وَأْمُرْ بِالْعُرْفِ وَأَعْرِضْ عَنِ الْجَاهِلِينَ 7:119


                    • #11
                      Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

                      Compressed air car coming with 2010 Breeze

                      BY JOSH MAX
                      Monday, March 24th 2008

                      New Paltz, N.Y., has long been known as a bastion of progressive thinking, living and being, man. So it's no surprise the town is headquarters for a company planning to produce the world's first air-powered automobile for the U.S. by 2010. The France-based Zero Pollution Motors says it's manufacturing 10,000 vehicles in its first year and expects to sell them for about $17,800. The cars will have 75 horsepower — that's a little less than the SmartForTwo — will seat six and will produce zero emissions.

                      "Electricity powers an onboard compressor to compress air to 4,500 pounds per square inch into a pressure tank contained in the vehicle," ZPM communications director Kevin Haydon told the Daily News from New Paltz. "This can be done in a garage overnight and it will take 1-2 hours. The compressed air is then used to power the engine."

                      Their car will travel about 1,000 miles at up to 96 mph on one fill-up.

                      Haydon says he's received over 3,000 e-mails in the last month alone from people wanting to know more, or get an air car. "They're saying things like 'I need an alternative to sky-high gas prices,' and 'I am really concerned about pollution and CO2 emissions and want to reduce my own carbon footprint.' Many express disappointment and mystification that big automakers haven't made more progress on fuel efficiency and emissions, and some even want to volunteer to promote the air car to their friends and communities."

                      ZPM's parent company, Motor Development International, is a 15-year-old French-based business headed by Air Car inventor Guy Negre. A former aeronautics and Formula One racecar engineer, Negre worked with his son, Cyril, an engineer with Bugatti, and about 30 other engineers to bring the compressed air technology to market. To date, the company holds patents in over 120 countries for their Air Car vehicles. "The air car was born out of Guy's passion for building energy efficient engines for automobiles and airplanes," Haydon says.

                      "It was a logical next step for him to create clean, ecofriendly engines. The green concept goes beyond the cars themselves and into production. The MDI business model is to license many small regional factories throughout the world that also serve as distributors. The whole concept cuts down the carbon emissions associated with vehicle manufacture and distribution by well over a half."

                      ZPM will begin taking reservations in early 2008 for U.S. deliveries of the Air Car in early 2010.

                      Attached Files
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                      • #12
                        Re: Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

                        Originally posted by imported_MMS View Post
                        what happens if you crash in that little plastic car :S

                        Anyone that knows anything about the properties of compressed air at 225 to 300 bar will tell you that if you crash and an air bottle gets ruptured there will be an lethal explosion. The fragments could rip a mans head off 100 yards away. All someone has to do is pull out in front of you and BOOOOM.

                        For this reason alone this idea is a non starter.

                        Its a nice idea, but its back to the drawing board.
                        ''....And from the best ways of dealing with the ignorant is to ignore and avoid them. This is because if you debate with them, they beat you, and if you beat them they will end up hating you, and will not admit you are correct. Therefore ignore them''



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