Not too long ago, the hybrid car made its appearance and the world was amazed that a car could run on something other than petrol or diesel.
We marvelled at how seamlessly fuel and electricity combined energies and waited to see what genius would next be forthcoming.
Well, it’s here and it’s unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
The compressed air car is the latest in environmentally aware automotive design. Mad as the idea of running a car on air may be, it’s been around for centuries, specifically in the design of locomotive engines in the mid 1900’s.
Today’s compressed air vehicles are driven by compressed air stored in tanks made of carbon fibre instead of metal so that they don’t explode in the event of an accident. They’re lighter, cleaner, more efficient and certainly more economical.
Guy Negre, French engineer and founder of MDI (Motor Development International) has taken the phenomenon of compressed air technology and developed the world’s first compressed air-driven car.
The pistons are pushed up and down by compressed air, not by little explosions like in internal combustion engines. The light engine is made mostly of aluminium and weighs half than that of a normal car.
Because the pistons are pushed up and down by compressed air, the engine temperature never gets anywhere near melting point for aluminium. The commercial version of the air car will be available in 2, 4 and 6-cylinder versions. With a top speed of 110km/h, this one is not for raging speed demons. However, with an easy 200km from a full tank, it’s a dream for urban commuters.
Imagine the highways full of these little compressed air cars humming quietly, not a single black plume of smoke for miles and miles. The idea of the air car has been really well-received the world over, mainly because it’s economical and environmentally friendly.
The development of commercial air cars is a huge step forward in automotive engineering, and if by driving one we’re doing our bit to preserve the earth, why not?