I mean, if you're going to radically change the way a car is powered, you might as well radically change the way it looks too...right?
I guess that's what MDI (the company who has been pioneering, or at least attempting to pioneer, the compressed-air-powered car for the last 20 years) was thinking when they created the AirPod. I'm not getting any press releases in English, and my French is horrible, but from what I can tell, this new concept is going to roll off the production line in 2009.
The car will be powered by MDI's compressed air system, which uses electricity to compress huge amounts of air in small tanks. The air is then slowly released from the tanks, driving pistons that move the car. This system is hopefully going into American cars by 2010, and was licensed by Tata Motors for use in India and Europe.
The AirPod seats three (one facing backward) and the "playful and futuristic" design allows for an extremely light-weight and inexpensive vehicle. The top speed of the thing is just over 40 miles per hour and it has a range of only 130 miles before a refill is needed, so...obviously it will be just for city use.
Refilling an air car can be extremely quick (if you happen to have an aircar fueling station nearby) or quite slow (if you have to charge using an inexpensive home compressor.) But these cars are never dirty. Even if the power used to compress the air is pure-coal-fired power, these things are way cleaner than gasoline, and even cleaner than electric vehicles.
Why? Two reasons. First, their tiny city-specific design means that they're just going to be more efficient. But, second, the fact that the cars require no complicated, metal-filled batteries means that the environmental impact of construction is significantly lower.
Unfortunately, the trade-off is slow speeds and short ranges, which hopefully won't be too much of a detractor...at least in Europe, which is sure to be the AirPod's initial market.
Of course...I want one, but here in America we'll have to wait for the more expensive version that will (hopefully) go on sale in 2010.
Video of another Air Car below
Thanks to Bruno for the tip
written by Matthew Mogen, October 10, 2008
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written by FuglyRides, October 14, 2008
written by Dana, October 14, 2008
written by AvgasStew, March 05, 2009
written by Julien, March 13, 2009
written by Auto Movers, February 06, 2010
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