A compressed air car is a compressed air vehicle that uses a motor powered by compressed air. The car can be powered solely by air, or combined (as in a hybrid electric vehicle) with gasoline, diesel, ethanol, or an electric plant with regenerative braking.
The AIRPod vehicle, developed by MDI (www.mdi.lu), is the solution to urban pollution and urban mobility. With its small size, a tiny price, zero pollution, and a fun and futuristic design, AIRPod marks a turning point in the range of urban vehicles. It is a real breath of fresh air in cities and the prelude to travel without pollution.
Zero Pollution Motors, LLC is launching the urban car of the future, now.
As one of the U.S. licensee for Luxembourg-based MDI, the developer of the Air Car as a compression-based alternative to the internal combustion engine, ZPM has attained rights to build one the first of several modular plants in the United States to produce the air-powered vehicles branded ‘AIRPod’. Hawaii is the anticipated location of the first production plant.
AIRPod is said to weigh just 617 pounds, with a top speed of about 50 mph, and a range of approximately 80 miles. The car can be filled with compressed air in less than five minutes with a commercial-grade air compressor, which are found at just about any gas station, at a cost of less than $2 per fill-up.
The search for an alternative fuel source other than oil should leave no idea untested. Still, there are some ideas with more potential than others, and some alt-fuel concepts are just plain strange. Compressed air vehicles have been around for around 150 years, but the technology has never caught on with automakers. There’s a reason for that, and it’s called torque, or the lack thereof.
Compressed air has been used to power engines since the mid-19th century, first gaining popularity in coal mines where combustion engines were deadly. Paris famously used pneumatic trains to help dig the tunnels of its vast metro and tunnel system. Pneumatic power even propelled the first naval torpedoes, though the first compressed air car companies did not last long.
Even so, that hasn’t stopped some recent upstart auto companies from penning their own plans for compressed air vehicles. Even Tata Motors, a massive Indian auto company, has pledged to build compressed air vehicles. Then there is the MDI AirPod, that odd-looking concept at the top of this post. But despite building working prototypes, there are a number of design flaws that keep air cars from going to market.
For one, compressed air motors don’t make as much power or torque as car owners are used to, meaning very low top speeds, often around just 40 mph. That is barely enough for city driving, and highway cruising is totally out of the question. It can also take many hours to fill the tank of a compressed air car, despite a seriously limited range, and problems with cooling the tank and heating the air make these vehicles quite power hungry.
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