Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM, the US arm of MDI) is going to begin taking US pre-orders for their ZERO emissions Air Car. The orders will be filled in 2010. This announcement came shortly after news of a contract between MDI and India's largest auto maker, TATA Group, to start producing the Air Car to be released in India later this year.
About the Air Car...
The Air Car was invented by Guy Negre, a former aeronautics and Formula One racecar engineer. Formula One cars start with a kick of compressed air, so Negre took this concept and his lover for the environment and rolled it into a Compressed Air Engine (CAE). The CAE uses compressed air to drive the engines pistons, like internal combustion engines use the explosion from igniting gasoline. The compressed air is stored under the vehicle in 3 carbon fiber tanks, which can be refilled by its onboard compressor in about 2 hrs while plugged into an electrical outlet. It uses about $2 worth of electricity to fill a tank. Or you can fill up at a compressed air service station in about 3 minutes.
The 6 seat production models will actually be hybrid vehicles that run purely on Compressed Air at speeds under 35mph and use small amounts of fuel (gasoline, propane, ethanol or bio fuel) to heat the air at speeds greater than 35mph. Under 35mph, the Air Car has ZERO carbon emissions, the only thing it emits is air. When utilizing fuel at higher speeds it puts out 0.14 lbs of Co2 per mile, less than half that of the cleanest hybrid currently available. This will make the largest impact for city driving where drivers rarely exceed 35mph but regularly idle in traffic collectively releasing tons of C02.
The Air Car has a top speed of 96mph and a range of about 848 miles with an 8 gallon tank, giving it an effective 106 miles per gallon.
Standard Features will include:
- Computer based screen display of vehicle control parameters
- Full CFC-free A/C
- Fully reclining driverâ€™s seat
- Power windows, door locks and mirrors
- Deluxe AM/FM stereo with cassette and cd player, optional GPS
- Rear window defogger
- Concealed spare tire
- All season 13-inch radial tires
- A cold weather package will be available
For more info on the Air Car you can visit Zero Pollution Motor's Site.
There are several other players in the Compressed Air Engine Market... former partner is running Air Car Factories, but has yet to find a manufacturer to produce his cars. While MDI's engine disign is similar to conventional internal combustion engines, an Austrailian man, Angelo Di Pietro, has developed a whole new design that also works on compressed air, but does so with far less friction and thus is more efficient. This project is still in the early stages but is some truely amazing stuff. To see how this motor works check out this video: