Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Air Car

The think tanks at MDI must have had a breath of fresh air before conceptualising the Air Car. The idea was to build a city car, that could comfortably seat four. But the real deal was to make the car extremely fuel efficient and non-polluting. So instead of making one that runs of petrol or other liquid fuels, they designed one that runs, well, on air!

What's interesting is that there is no residue left behind once the air is used.
Instead, once the air leaves the engine chamber, its temperature falls almost 15 degrees below zero. Due to this low temperature, this same air can be used for air-conditioning the car.

The car requires only a litre of vegetable oil for the engine and the same is good enough to last for 50,000 km (usually, regular cars require an oil change every 5,000 km).
The exterior of the car is made up of fibre-glass body and the vehicle parts are glued and not soldered. An onboard computer takes care of displaying vital info so you won't find meters inside the car displaying speed or RPM.

What's unique about the computer is that it can be adapted to work together with various co-systems such as GPS, emergency systems, internet connection, voice recognition and so on. Current tests show that the car can run for 100 km on one Euro. The car's top speed too is impressive at 110 KMPH.

An electric pump compresses air into the tank at a pressure of 300 bars. The pump plugs straight into an ordinary household socket and takes four hours to complete the recharge.

The already attractive economics of the Air Car - MDI claims a recharge costs just $2.50 at French electricity prices - can only get more persuasive if oil prices stay high. The Air Car's pistons, pumped by the escaping compressed air, can take the vehicle up to 70 miles per hour. It can travel 50 miles at top speed on a full tank, or further at lower speeds.

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