Thursday, May 24, 2007

Air Cars!

According to Popular Mechanics magazine, a partial answer to the problem of the internal-combustion engine may have arrived. The magazine reported that air-powered cars will be sold in India starting in 2008. Designed by a former Formula One engineer, the cars can travel up to 68 miles per hour and have a range of 125 miles. The vehicle, named the CityCAT, is built by Luxembourg-based carmaker MDI, and will sell for approximately US $12-13,000.

The magazine reports that,
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.

While they do have some drawbacks, such as being held together entirely by glue, this represents a possibility for the United States as well. With a few modifications, perhaps this could offer an answer for our dependency on foreign oil. It would not take that much to add compressed-air rechargers to service stations, and thus extend the range. In addition, I could see an air-powered motor as a possible replacement for the hybrid's gasoline-powered motor. Is anyone in the auto industry listening?

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.

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