The Air Car

Back in the good ‘ol days when my brother Dave used to torture me for fun. He also had some good ideas. One such idea was to build a car powered by perpetual motion — something similar to that desk toy with the balls that just keep swinging back and forth.

The MiniCATI still think eventually we will get to that point, but until then, it looks like a company from Spain is getting close. The MiniC.A.T is the worlds first car to run on compressed air. Talk about zero pollution! Moteur Developpment International has just recently signed a deal with India’s largest automobile manufacturer and will soon begin mass production of the MiniCAT.

The engine is amazing as well as the electronics system:

The vehicle’s electric system is also revolutionary. MDI has bought a patent that is bound to reduce the important of electrical systems in all cars. The trick consists in using a small radio signal. The system makes the car 20 kilos lighter and considerably quieter.

MDI is also considering a system to replace traditional keys. This system would utilize an access card. With this card it would be possible to open the car from a short distance away without having to actually insert anything in the car.

Another amazing feature:

The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0 – 15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.

So with this vehicle, you can pay approximately $2 for a fill-up and your car is ready to go another 180 miles (apparently that’s the approximate max hold capacity of the “fuel” tank). So that’s one draw-back (180 miles is far too few miles per tank). Another is the top speed — 68mph. Knowing the American infatuation with power and speed, it will take a lot for the society to decide that this type of vehicle will work for them.

Check out some of the pictures of the four models already made.

You may also like...

3 Responses

  1. Dave W. says:

    This car and technology are pretty cool. Hopefully it really works and can come to the market sooner than later. However, I’m sure there will still be resistance in the U.S. marketplace. I’m amazed at how reluctant we are as Americans (particularly westerners) to driving smaller cars, espcecially considering the fact that most (I’ve hear up to 95%) of our driving is with only one or two people in the vehicle.

    A year ago I went from an 11-mpg ’81 F150 to a 38-mpg ’98 Civic. I’ll never go back to anything that gets less than 40 mpg. I also set my cruise control on 65 mph on the freeway. While waiting for the air compression car to come to market, we can look at the Smart Car (built by DaimlerChrysler, available in the U.S. Q1’08) whose 4-seater gets 40 mpg and 2-seater gets 60 mpg; the Chevy Volt (due out in 2010, I think) that is supposed to run 40 miles on electricity alone, and gets an effective 150 mpg for a 60-mile trip between recharges.

    The specs on the Air Car say it takes about 5 hours to charge on 230 volt electricity (they’re still testing how long it takes for 110-115V). I think this means it will get the same effect as the Volt (only with a noisy air compressor going in your garage all night).

    One not-so-bright spot is that all this innovation is taking place in other countries (except the Volt). Because of the relectance of the U.S. to take the lead on global warming or even general polution problems, we are losing market share to foreign companies. I think the alternative enery industry will be over the next 20 years what the computer industry was over the last 20. Only this time, the U.S. is not the leader. Because Denmark took the oil scares of the ’70s seriously and dedicated itself to wind power, one Danish company, Vestas, owns 35% of the global wind-turbine market. Similar things are happening in other countries. The U.S. has its head in the sand on this and therefore can’t see the heavy boot fast approaching its rump. If we do not quickly take the lead on this issue, our economic influence (and thereby our political influence) will lessen in the world.

  2. Reluctant says:

    Dave W. said

    The specs on the Air Car say it takes about 5 hours to charge on 230 volt electricity (they’re still testing how long it takes for 110-115V). I think this means it will get the same effect as the Volt (only with a noisy air compressor going in your garage all night).

    That’s true, but once there are more filling stations, it will only take 2 to 3 minutes:

    The recharging of the car will be done at gas stations, once the market is developed. To fill the tanks it will take about to 2 to 3 minutes at a price of 1.5 euros. After refilling the car will be ready to driver 200 kilometres.

    Look for the section on recharging

  3. Dave W. says:

    I’ll take it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.