Air car

We have gasoline cars, diesel cars, electric cars, propane cars, and hybrid cars. And we have air guitars. But have you ever heard of an air car? It should get great “gas mileage”. And of course the zero pollution (except for electricity powering the air compressor at the filling station) would be very cool. It might even work. Here are some details on the engine.


4 thoughts on “Air car

  1. Joe;

    A cursory look doesn’t reveal the key detail: the pressure they get in the storage tanks. It ought to be a pretty basic spec, and critical to understanding whether the thing will work. To my uncertain belief, I don’t think there is a storage tank alive that can handle the kinds of pressure it would take to drive a vehicle for any appreciable distance (more than a couple of feet). I could be very wrong, but that’s my impression.


  2. Storage volume matters too. They claim 90 cubic meters of air storage. They are claiming the tanks have a maximum effective pressure of 300 bar (4,351 lbs/in^2). If (big if) they can actually do that then the energy might be there. Looking closer there are some other things I have my doubts about. I need to investigate more.

    Thanks for getting my suspicion aroused.

  3. Its all about energy density, and so far nothing beats chemical fuels, unless you go nuclear. They might be able to increase it by liquefying the air, but even with the compressed gas you’ll loose performance in cold weather. With liquid it gets worse– you need more heat input to make it work.

    This, and electric cars, though very interesting, are a bit of a psychological oddity to me– they’re not “powering” the car with compressed air, or batteries, or hydrogen, et al. They’re powering it with whatever it is that’s compressing the air or charging the batteries, or extracting the hydrogen. Hence we’re only talking about sweeping the pollution under the rug here. They’re all powered by coal, oil, nukes, hydro-electric, etc., just like everything today.

  4. Sure, it’s just moving the real energy source further “upstream” but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Economies of scale in price, efficiency and ability to reduce pollution may all benefit from an “upstream” provider. Burning coal at a 1 GWatt plant near the coal mine is benefits from the cheaper transportation of the electricity than the transportation of the coal. Hauling the ash away to a landfill a couple miles from the plant is better than sweeping it up off of the streets or filtering it out of the air with our lungs as distributed vi being burned by the end user. Spending another 20% on the price of the initial investment or even the maintaince of the plant may be better than spending that on every automobile or end user motor to squeeze the same extra 5% of efficiency out of the system.

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