The Air Car a Reality?


Oddly enough, compressed air powered vehicles have been around for a very long time. The first mechanically powered submarine, the 1863 Plongeur, used a compressed-air engine. The Victor Tatin airplane of 1879 also used a compressed-air engine for propulsion. Compressed air even used to be the standard for naval torpedoes. But an air powered concept car really started making headlines in 2007.

Tata, India’s largest automotive manufacturer was on the forefront then, signing an agreement with Moteur Development International (MDI), a company founded in Luxembourg, based in the south of France and with its Commercial Office in Barcelona. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any further news on the progression of a practical model… until now.

Tata Motors recently announced that it is beginning phase two of development to bring air car technology to market.The next step for Tata, which owns Land Rover and Jaguar and is famous for making the world’s most affordable car, is to work with MDI to perfect the technology and processes needed to effectively commercialize an air-powered car.

Concept cars by MDI are not in short supply. They have developed a handful of air-powered concepts, including the four-seated AirPod. They also created somewhat more orthodox looking vehicles, such as the center-driven MiniCat and MiniFlowAir.

Why is it taking so long to get an air car to market? Well there are three reasons.

1. Power – The problem with compressed air is that inefficacy is rife. In order to make sure you don’t have to carry around more air than car, the manufacturer has to perfect a super-efficient engine. Not an easy task.

2. Energy –It takes energy to make energy. The problem is finding a balance. If it costs more to compress the air than it should, there is really no point. It is like burning coal to get oil to make heat. You can just cut out the middle man and be more productive… and do less damage to the environment.

3. Fuel –Where will you refuel? It is not like there is an air station on every corner. The fuel issues will have to be resolved before the cars will really stand a chance.

These difficulties are not insurmountable, but they do equal a lot more work for Tata, MDI and their team of engineers. However, if a need is there, you can be sure it will be met. The air car might just make it to the market after all.

Article by Kate Croston, a freelance writer. Kate holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing home internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to: katecroston.croston09

About Author

Walter’s contributions to CleanTechies over the past 4 years have been instrumental in growing the publications social media channels via his ongoing editorial and data driven strategies. He is the founder and managing director of Sunflower Tax, a renewable energy tax and finance consultancy based in San Diego, California. Active in the San Diego clean technology community, participating in events sponsored by CleanTech San Diego, EcoTopics, and Cleantech Open San Diego, Walter has also been a presenter at numerous California Center for Sustainability (CCSE) programs. He currently serves as an adjunct professor at the University of San Diego School of Law where he teaches a course on energy taxation and policy.

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