I've been getting emails from fellow motor-heads about this revolutionary car! Tata Motors of India has scheduled the Air Car to hit Indian streets by August 2012.
The Air Car uses compressed air to push its engine's pistons and make the car go. Called the "Mini CAT", it would cost around 365,757 rupees in India or $8,177 US.
The Mini CAT which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis, a body of fibreglass that is glued not welded and powered by compressed air. A Microprocessor is used to control all electrical functions of the car. One tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, turn signals and every other electrical device on the car. Which are not many.
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.
There are no keys, just an access card which can be read by the car from your pocket. According to the designers, it costs less than 50 rupees per 100 KM, that's about a tenth the cost of a car running on gas. It's mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car, a factor which makes it a perfect choice for city motorists. The car has a top speed of 105 KM per hour or 60 mph and would have a range of around 300 km or 185 miles between refuels. Refilling the car will take place at adapted gas stations with special air compressors. A fill up will only take two to three minutes and costs approximately 100 rupees and the car will be ready to go another 300 kilometres.
This car can also be filled at home with it's on board compressor. It will take 3-4 hours to refill the tank, but it can be done while you sleep.
Because there is no combustion engine, changing the 1 litre of vegetable oil is only necessary every 50,000 KM or 30,000 miles. Due to its simplicity, there is very little maintenance to be done on this car.
This Air Car almost sounds too good to be true. Reports are, Tata is working out the bugs, but wouldn't it be great to wave as you pass the gas pumps?
We'll see in August. 2012