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Air-Powered Hybrid Cars?

More than ten years ago, a French Formula One expert had an idea. Instead of running cars on the chemical energy of gasoline...why not run them on the physical energy of compressed air? Now that vision is extremely close to reality. Already, prototypes of "The Air Car" are on the road (see videos after the jump) and several companies have licensed the technology.

The idea is that regular old air is compressed in ultra-strong tanks in the car. Then, that air is released through a couple of pistons in the engine, which drives the wheels. Current prototypes get a bit more than one horsepower and cialis daily dosage pharmacy can push the levitra pill cars up to 70 mph for about 120 miles. It's not in any way comparable to something you might go and buy on a dealer lot today. But there are some significant advantages.

For one thing, it only costs about three dollars to fill up the tank. For another, the car has no emissions. In fact, the air coming out is significantly cleaner than the air in most cities. Of course, it will take some electricity (from coal power plants, yes) to compress the air, but the carbon savings are still very significant.

The re-filling process is simple and quick (if your gas station has been retrofitted with ultra-high-pressure air compressors). Several companies, most of them fairly small, have licensed the technology to produce the vehicles. However, one very large company, Tata motors, India's largest car maker, has plans to produce air cars and has released several designs for what they're going to be producing.

Tata is planning on creating a hybrid version that uses compressed air at low speeds, and then switches over to gasoline if the driver needs a speed (or range) boost.

As for a U.S. release, we're going to have to wait a little longer. Though the ordering cialis overnight delivery technology has been licensed here, it might be a while before the cars can match up to the safety regulations of the United States...or the voluminous desires of American consumers.

But for the rest of the world, the emerging markets that need cheap transportation...this could be a fantastic alternative that truly makes the world a much cleaner place than it would otherwise be.

Check out a slew of videos after the jump.

From the buy real levitra online without prescription BBC

The Engine at Work


And The Longest Report

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Comments (49)Add Comment
Need to see these on the streets ...
written by ASiege, January 04, 2008
in numbers ...

The prototypes and the videos have been around for years.

There has been hype and promise re air car for years ... with it about to be deployed ... and those abouts have stretched out ...

When it comes to the Air Car, I come from Missouri: "Show me ..."
written by Sam D, January 04, 2008
I imagine it would take a tremendous amount of power to compress air to such high density. If it doesn't, wouldn't it be nice to have your solar panels on the roof of your garage busy running a compressor during the say so when you get home at night, you can fill up your car.
Not that much power
written by Daniel, January 04, 2008
From what I can gather, the air is pressurized to about 4500 psi. While you'll need a high pressure compressor to compress it, it may not need to be a big compressor. If service stations (and owners at home) had a smallish, high pressure compressor that ran throughout the day, they could store the air and would fill the car off that. You could fill the car directly off the compressor too, but that'd take much longer without it moving a really high volume.
Carbon Savings??
written by RhapsodyInGlue, January 05, 2008
Hank, I would challenge you to back up the assertion that an air car fueled by a compressor driven by coal plant electricity would be any savings in CO2 much less very significant.

Keep in mind that much efficiency is gained by virtue of the fact that this is a very small, light car. If the same shell were fitted with a small, light gas engine it probably would do as well if not better in CO2 terms.
air car is a competitor for the AXP
written by Eric Boyd, January 05, 2008
A company called "Zero Pollution Motors" is taking an MDI air car (it's not clear which one) into the budget levitra Automotive X Prize - although it's not clear if these cars actually achieve 100 MPGe...
difficult to believe
written by Airmon, January 05, 2008
This concept has been around for decades, but has yet to be practically used. Looking at how this works, I think I see the problem.

The energy is stored by compressing the air. The energy is returned by using the expansion of the air to drive a piston.

The tank has air at 4500 PSI at the start, but the engine uses air at 450 PSI ( 30 bar - according to the video ). To regulate the air down to this level, you're going waste most of the energy of the air.

That can't be efficient.

written by Aaron, January 05, 2008
I'm a bit curious about the safety issues involved with having a tank in the back of your car at 4500 psi. If that tank ruptures in a collision, it's not staying in the car.
india allready have it
written by Maheanuu, January 05, 2008
Tata motors is selling this car in India for 2 or 3 month i guess.
Whether you're from Misouri or somewhere
written by filip, January 05, 2008
Whether you're from Missouri or somewhere else ;
You ether don't smell a fart when your nose is half an inch away from the viagra next day arse, or you are to hooked up by regular industrie to believe that there are other ways to engine a motor. probably becouse the glitter around it blinds you.
Then again, this fart promises not to smell bad
One major inefficiency
written by Adiabatic, January 05, 2008
One penalty to using compressed air is that compressing the air causes it to heat up. If your tank could stand the heat and cialis buy now you used the air immediately, you'd minimize the loss. In real life, the tank would have to be cooled during filling (like a scuba tank is.) That's energy that you paid for, but won't have available to drive the engine.

The overall efficiency is what matters in the end, though. It would be interesting to compare how far an EV and one of these both go per KWH in.

On the other hand, while batteries may be more efficient, these may be less expensive. Less expensive means more in use. A lot of good may have more benefit than a little of the best.
written by Aaron, January 05, 2008
There is not a significant amount of energy lost regulating down from 4500psi to 450psi. The more significant problems with this are related to safety (who wants to be the passenger who sits on top of the ultra high pressure tank? Oooh, me me).

And as for the idea of a solar panel powering something that can pressurize the viagra femele tank. Oh ho ho.. Oh. my.
written by ZZZzzzzz, January 06, 2008
Tata's interest is unrelated to that website which is basically a joke, the video is edited to look positive but his only trial presentation before witnesses was a total gongshow. If I see more shizz like this on eco'geek' I'll give up on looking at it for info because that is DIS-info at its finest.
Not unsafe
written by AperatureScience, January 07, 2008
They use carbon fiber composites for the tanks, which split rather than explode. It's the only material that's light/strong enough anyways.

Compressed air vehicles are a fascinating technology to me, but the heat problem brought up by 'adiabatic' is troubling. Attaching a heat pump to the output and powering it with batteries would make an Air-electric hybrid with potentially higher efficiency.

It's a proven technology with some advantages over even BEVs, such as simpler (pure mechanical) drivetrains, and lighter motors. Like BEVs, they have high efficiency and you can charge them at home. Tanks aren't hazardous either, unlike some battery chemistries. It's a technology to keep your eye on, at least.

More info at
written by NatureGeek, January 08, 2008
Interesting... regardless of whether it would use less energy/leave a smaller carbon footprint to power the compressor vs. a small light gas car or not, it does centralize the potential source of pollution/carbon. This could be good because as we move away from polluting sources of energy to greener ones, that power would get greener, where the gas car is still a gas car. So this little puppy, if it in fact comes to fruition and proves viable, has the potential of lowering its emissions over its lifespan, if we can lower the emissions of the source of energy for the compressor.

I agree it sounds a little scary, but then again, we ride around with highly explosive gas tanks under us all the time now, so, it may be able to be made safe. I'm not saying it is now, or isn't, just that I see potential here.
written by Mammy, January 09, 2008
This car has been in the works for the past decade, if you haven't seen it, I would suggest going to
To Carbon Savings? You do realize savings even if it's coal that powers your grid. It runs on compressed air.
To dangerous? The only real danger it does pose is if you get into an accident with a North American, or even the larger japanese vehicles, sized up nicely for the NA population consumption. Smoosh!
AperatureScience has it bang-on; CAT/electric hybrid!!
It's like the EV has been promised for decades, but it's people that can't see beyond fossil fuels that's holding it back. There will come a time when we will look back and say; why didn't we switch to electric? The technology is there people! Use it!
I mean they put a man on the moon didn't they?
written by Fosferus, January 09, 2008
I would really have a hard time resisting the urge to paint mine up like a toaster. (with little wings like the retro screen saver! :P)
written by co2ok, January 09, 2008
Please be more imaginative! The aircar has already 11 test cars running however the European governments will not support the idea because they can't tax air.
The US however doesn't have the ridiculous taxation on cars and can use this idea to build upon and start again production as world leader in the automotive industry. Beat the European,Japanese,Korean car industry by mass production of environmental sane cars. :)
hybrid cars
written by raymond, January 10, 2008
beste l.s
ik ken geen engels dus ik hoop dat jullie nederlands kennen
het fijd is ik ben invalide weinig geld dus een auto op lucht wil ik wel reclame voor maken
ik rij er graag mee rond dan kom ik ook nog eens ergens
dus zoeken jullie testrijders
mail me maar [email protected]
met groeten raymond staal (man 40 jaar )
Hybrid sales
written by Nick, January 10, 2008
Hm, interesting design (homely) but who knows, running on air and all, it might sneak its way into the market. For a more complete discussion and look at hybrid cars, and the more sales oriented approach, we just ran an issue-of-the-day on the topic at our site, something maybe worth checking out. Here's the link to that particular issue..
Nick |
written by RhapsodyInGlue, January 11, 2008
As one person pointed out, compressing a tank full of air to 4500psi would generate a lot of heat. If done directly to the cars tank it would probably need to be done over a fairly long period of time to allow safe dissipation, such as overnight. Or, a central filling station could compress air, cool with a heat exchanger and only best offers viagra free pills store in a stationary tank, possibly at even higher pressure. If one were clever, they might even have the filling station somewhere that the levitra pharmacy in india heat exchanger could provide a useful service such as heating water. That would certainly improve the energy balance for this technology.

Big drawback, however, is that the energy and power output goes down in winter and colder climates. Plus, heating the interior would require stealing useful mechanical power. Therefore, this looks much more attractive for tropical climates.
Portal on MDI's Air Cars
written by Aircar Fan, January 13, 2008
Yes the car is very real, and so is the technology. Some of us have been fans and following this since 2000 and's been a slow uphill battle for the "little guy" company but finally now with Tata, India's largest company, they have the capital to finish the launch. We have a portal with links to not only news about MDI but also its many affiliated sites (there are two US affiliates, several European etc) so you can find out much more:

written by Bob Davis, January 30, 2008
By the time this car hits America, the damn US Auto companies will give the maker a sweetheart deal, and these things, while selling for $10,000 in India, will sell for $25,000 here..... gotta love capitalism... we want to save the environment, but you we want you to pay for the loss of income we'll have when we aren't selling as much gasoline... wah wah wah..
what will be the future
written by pankaj, February 07, 2008
pls tell me if this model is a success den why other car manufacturers are spending tons on diesel & petrol enginees ? what will the future of gasoline based cars
Then there's gas
written by BRN2RUN, February 08, 2008
You should see how she runs on beans. Can do 150 kph but you don't want to be near the exhaust pipe.
pro's & con's
written by tatiana, February 27, 2008
There are many pro's and con's to this air car >:( :)
pro's con's
cheaper to fill it up
less co2 emmisions
better for our atmosphere
written by curry whatley, March 01, 2008
want to buy send info
Talk about efficiency
written by Gus Ano, May 03, 2008
Most governments will not be able to forbidden the use of air powered vehicles, since they are not burning anything, therefore there is no internal combustion engine.

Furthermore, our internal combustion engines that we use in our cars now are teeribly ineficient since they burn the fuel and therefore they produce innecessary heat that can melt the very same engine, therefore we have to power a very powerful cooling system in order to maintain the engine heat at reasonable levels, which means taking the pfizer levitra uk heat into the air.

That's higly inneficient but we are used to it because oil was so inepexsive. Expanding air can be used in machines as shown above, but also it could be used in turbines, which are a lot more efficient than this engine.

Also no heat is produced whatsoever in the process.

If the air is compressed enough, it could be liquified, meaning you could go for 800 miles in one tank, for about $3.

Talk about efficiency.

Also if we use the breaks to power an small compressor, we could save a lot of energy, in the same way that hybrids use the breaks to restore power in the batteries.
What a great idea
written by Clarissa, May 13, 2008
I think this idea is perfect.It's magnficent.
This is a completely small picture discu
written by Chris, May 13, 2008
Excuse me, but I have 3 kids and a life which actually takes me beyond a city loft apartment and organic, free range coffee house. If I want to take the lads to a ballgame in my 1200lb air car, it sure as hell is going to take a looooong time to get there because of the weight. And in the process, I will use lots more air than a single driver. As well, I can expect to stash one of my kids on the roof, as there'll be no room under it.

Get real. For an urban use vehicle, this rocks. But already we could be driving (as Europeans and enter site buy viagra Japanese already do) micro cars with 1 liter gas motors which are more efficent in terms of power production and conversion than this method.

Weight = the enemy. If you want a safe car, that requires weight. If you want a larger cabin to support more bodies, that requires weight. The petrol combustion engine is no more evil than any other power source which utilizes heat for catalyzation. With appropriate gearing, weight minimalization and low coefficient of drag, we could dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels.

And I'm not a dupe or shill, just somebody who wants to take a measured approach to change. Invariably, down the road, movements be they religious or social have a way of propagandizing away some merit. If someone can simply do an honest comparison of the possible locomotives and their actual power/pollution unit, I'll be happy. And yes, I know coal and gas each have their own pollution matrix.

I dangled a participle or two there
written by Chris, May 13, 2008
I should've said, "driving cars with appropriate gearing...would dramatically reduce our use of fossil fuels."
Nothing new under the sun
written by Ken, May 19, 2008
Back in 1965 I wrote a school science paper about using alternate fuels and the use of air as a power source for autos. In the late seventy's a tv show might have been you asked for it or sixty minutes aired a story about a guy who modified an air moter for more effecent operation. Why not gang a wankel type motor and recycle some of the exhaust (air) to help feed the next cylinder I am not a engineer just like to think.
air powered cars
written by Frank Bonnevie, June 15, 2008
Wow do I buy a aor powered car fron Inda and have it shiped to America
written by Jam Jam, June 27, 2008
This car is a real threat to the oil/gas/coal companies because of the fact you could fuel this car at home with a combination of your own wind mills and solar panels. I watched another video which showed with the combination of gas and compressed air, you could get from san francisco to new york on one tank alone!

Guys, we need to quickly reduce our dependence on oil, for security, environmental and financial reasons. Don't listen to all the hype about drilling in ANWR and the gulf coast. Continuing our addiction to oil in the long term is not the answer. We need to drastically reduce our consumption of oil right now and this will in effect lower the prices at the pump because it's supply and demand folks! Once demand goes down, prices go down. Of course, the oil companies don't want that to happen, so thats why Fox "News" and all those right-wing talk show idiots won't push for wind power, solar panels, compressed air cars or electric cars as a large solution to our problem. Their solution if continuing our dependence on fossil fuel for the benefit of the oil companies.

Individual energy independence is a HUGE threat to their bottom line and are spending millions of dollars to confuse the cheap next day tramadol public and look here canadian levitra all of us have been victims of their propaganda at one time or another. Don't believe the naysayers, look to the future my friend.
Different Air Engine
written by Andy, August 03, 2008
Here is a link to a different air powered engine.
Sure there are probably a few problems with this innovation but it's a start. Imagine if governments put up a whole bunch of cash to perfect it. I wonder why they aren't? ( Actually I know why they aren't, they're gutless bastards that's why)
Bit Of Everything...
written by LoopyLee, August 09, 2008
The biggest problem i see in air cars ,is the large high pressure tanks , the biggest problem in electric cars , is large storage batteries ,mmm I see a patern emerging. (Storaging energy)Maybe a small air powered generator , powering an electric car would be a good combination of both technology.Lets make a large problem a little smaller! ;D There is a hybrid worth driving...
Air beats batteries
written by Pilgrim, September 08, 2008
The carbon-fiber compressor tank has a more favorable power to weight ratio than batteries. To store a comparable amount of energy a compressor tank beats the weight of batteries hands down.

As numerous comments have already observed, there is a net loss recovering mechanical energy converted into compressed air. Few mention that there is also a net loss recovering mechanical energy converted into electricity stored in batteries. I would venture a guess that energy stored as compressed air would actually fare better than batteries for efficiency of recovery.

The size of a compressor tank can be easily accomodated in a vehicle design because it is lightweight and doesn't require heavy structures to support. Conversely, batteries require heavy additional structural support plus expensive corrosion resistant materials adds to production costs.

Once air hybrids hit the streets, 2nd and 3rd generation improvements will further refine the breed. Electric hybrids will then be destined to dinosaur status.

written by Yvelle, September 28, 2008
I like the Australian Di Pietro engine more.
written by Elizabeth LaZella, October 11, 2008
Want to buy one and also interested in selling them from our electric car store. :)
Finally your flying car of the future
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An education helps to understand the tru
written by avagadro, February 19, 2009
It is a shame that so many of the people who love the air car have no education in science. If they did have knowledge of the science involved they would readily see that the air car promises what they can not deliver.
If you understood the processes involved and followed the energy through the system, you would realize that air is a very poor energy storage medium. The amount of air in the atnk at 4500 psi can not move a vehicle more than a few miles.
All of the info you need to evaluate the concept is readily available on the internet.
The air car company understands that people like to believe in ideas that will benefit them, if people were objective they would take the time to understand what was being discussed instead of blindly believing what a promoter claims. All we have from the air car company is claims, no proof whatsoever, isn't that odd? Just what are words worth? To me they mean nothing without proof.
10 years of promises that have never materialized tells you something.
Get a clue and use common sense plus sci
written by John, February 22, 2009
The ignorance and gullibility of the public in matters of science is a disgrace. Did anyone out there ever learn how to independently analyze a company's claims. To simply believe what is posted on the website of a company or or to believe information that is taken from the company's press releases and published on another site, is evidence of the laziness and gullibility of the general public.
If you believe the claims that have never been proven, you do yourself a disservice. The claims made by MDI have never been independently verified and order levitra canada are in violation of the laws of thermodynamics. But forget the laws of thermodynamics for a second and ask "why has there never been proof of the claims made by MDI"?
Answer: The cars can not perform as claimed... simple answer.
written by Classic car classifieds, March 26, 2009
Gr8 article...Yes of course if chemical energy of gasoline or fuel are not invested in transportation, definitely the resources used for these kinds will be saved and can be used for the purposeful things. And if talking about the compressed air energy, it is really an interesting and very much useful technology, as it will be helpful in saving the fuel. When you compress a gas, it heats up, as that heat dissipates it cools and a significant portion of the pressure is lost.
written by Linda, February 20, 2010
What about a car that uses an electric engine to start the car, then powers the air motor to compress air and also start the Air engine when the compressed air is at its maximum which then switches off the electic engine and also charges the battery, when the battery is full starts the electric engine and so on. To start this process you can either put in compressed air or even charge the car through the mains or even both.
modified cars in india
written by sonam, May 17, 2010
Good information. There are much more selling of modified cars in india. Peoples are liking hybrid cars.
saga remy
written by saga remy, July 19, 2011
Individual energy independence is a HUGE threat to their bottom line and are spending millions of dollars to confuse the public and all of us have been victims of their propaganda at one time or another. Don't believe the naysayers, look to the future my friend.
written by z-wave, October 01, 2011
As numerous comments have already observed, there is a net loss recovering mechanical energy converted into compressed air. Few mention that there is also a net loss recovering mechanical energy converted into electricity stored in batteries. I would venture a guess that energy stored as compressed air would actually fare better than batteries for efficiency of recovery.
written by z-wave, October 01, 2011
And if talking about the compressed air energy, it is really an interesting and very much useful technology, as it will be helpful in saving the fuel. When you compress a gas, it heats up, as that heat dissipates it cools and a significant portion of the pressure is lost.
written by Ashwin, November 12, 2012
This concept is pretty cool , we are actually working with someone who designs cars.
Have a look
written by Half Wigs, January 07, 2014
I agree with the other posters, the idea of these types of cars would greatly reduce the impact of pollution on our environment. Hopefully, we will see some action on this in the near future.

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