Here comes the air-powered car!

Contrary to what TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington thinks, French people are quite intelligent… and once again, they’ve proven to the world that they can live up to their reputation. French engineer Guy Nègre has been working on the concept of an air-powered car for the past 15 years, and his industrious efforts are starting to pay off.

The principle that makes this car work is very simple. Instead of using gas to create an explosion and make the pistons move, the vehicle’s engine is powered via three compressed air tanks located under its chassis. Environmentally speaking, this means all that goes out the exhaust pipe is cold, pure air, which can even be used as an air-conditioning source on a hot summer day.

As far as performance goes, the vehicle is pretty amazing. With a top speed of 110 kilometers per hour, it has autonomy of around 300 kilometers. All that is needed to fill it up is a compressed air station, and in case of emergency, an electrical source can be used to power the built-in air compressor, which can fill in the air reserve in about three hours. The core of the technology is controlled wirelessly via computer and the car’s electrical system is composed of a single wire.

Here’s how the technology will pay off: Nègre’s corporation, MDI, just signed a contract with Tata motors, India’s main car manufacturer. This means MDI will now be able to take advantage of a mega corporation’s resources, and produce their vehicle en masse. Will the future of land transportation reside in air-powered engines? Will we be seeing these cars on the North American market in the next decade? No one can predict the future, but it’s probable that we will see electrical and hydrogen-powered cars on the roads before air-powered ones. After all, these are the technologies that major car manufacturers seem to be pushing right now. Here are a few pictures of MDI’s air powered vehicles.

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22 Responses to Here comes the air-powered car!

  1. How the hell a car like have a chance… Air powered car cannot work, you need to store the air after than you compressed it, it would take a lot of place and need a lot of energy to compress.

  2. How the hell a car like have a chance… Air powered car cannot work, you need to store the air after than you compressed it, it would take a lot of place and need a lot of energy to compress.

  3. I am curious to know how this compress air create a spark. it easy for gas to create the required spark but it seems like it require a tremendous amount of energy for air to do so.

  4. I am curious to know how this compress air create a spark. it easy for gas to create the required spark but it seems like it require a tremendous amount of energy for air to do so.

  5. A couple points for previous commenters:

    (1)

    The air is stored in three carbon-fibre, extremely high pressure tanks engineered and built for them by the AirBus consortium.

    (2)

    Uh, no spark required because there is no combustion; think air compressor going backwards = air motor.

    OK, they are talking two models: just air getting good range, and a hybrid air/fuel motor model getting better range and mileage.

    http://theaircar.com

  6. A couple points for previous commenters:

    (1)

    The air is stored in three carbon-fibre, extremely high pressure tanks engineered and built for them by the AirBus consortium.

    (2)

    Uh, no spark required because there is no combustion; think air compressor going backwards = air motor.

    OK, they are talking two models: just air getting good range, and a hybrid air/fuel motor model getting better range and mileage.

    http://theaircar.com

  7. Dear posters

    I believe that since we are talking about a compressed air vehicule, an energy for compressing the air is required so it is not yet an energy 100% renovable. A traditional form of energy consuption is sitll required.

    No spark is required since all the effective working energy is due to thermodynamics state changes of air. The same thermodynamics exists on today's combustion engines.

    It's a good begining for changing some mentalities, mainly political minds.

    Best regards.

  8. Dear posters

    I believe that since we are talking about a compressed air vehicule, an energy for compressing the air is required so it is not yet an energy 100% renovable. A traditional form of energy consuption is sitll required.

    No spark is required since all the effective working energy is due to thermodynamics state changes of air. The same thermodynamics exists on today’s combustion engines.

    It’s a good begining for changing some mentalities, mainly political minds.

    Best regards.

  9. Well, I can think of a way.

    Solar panels on the roof, embedded into the Hood, and trunk of the vehicle charge a battery.

    Battery powers an air compressor, which fills the tanks on the fly, or while parked.

    Can also run the compressor directly when the battery is charged. Regenerative braking also could assist with a batter charge.

  10. Well, I can think of a way.
    Solar panels on the roof, embedded into the Hood, and trunk of the vehicle charge a battery.
    Battery powers an air compressor, which fills the tanks on the fly, or while parked.
    Can also run the compressor directly when the battery is charged. Regenerative braking also could assist with a batter charge.

  11. Well, I can think of a way.
    Solar panels on the roof, embedded into the Hood, and trunk of the vehicle charge a battery.
    Battery powers an air compressor, which fills the tanks on the fly, or while parked.
    Can also run the compressor directly when the battery is charged. Regenerative braking also could assist with a batter charge.

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