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Author Joel Barker of the website and book called Five Regions of the Future points us to the Air Car, which uses compressed air (and no emissions) to run the engine. The company producing the car, Moteur Developpment International, says they will begin selling the cars in Barcelona, but they are not available yet. Looking at the claims the company makes on its website, these are amazing vehicles for people who need to go short distances regularly (i.e., most commuters and city dwellers). The company claims that recharging the compressed air tanks will take two or three minutes at a gas station (once the network is in place) or three or four minutes when plugged into the electrical grid. A recharge should cost 1.5 Euros (about $2US). This seems ridiculously easy and cheap to me. The air cars will be sold in various engine and body types and can go 220 km/h. The hybrid engines shift to run on gasoline for longer drives and at speeds over 50 km/h. Perhaps this technology really is too good to be true. These air-powered vehicles were supposed to go on sale in 2002. The company’s FAQ was updated in December of 2005 and claims the cars will be going on sale soon. [Source: FIve Regions of the Future]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      And when you run low on air, just fart in the tank. You'll be good for another mile.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hold on there cowpoke!

      20 hp does seem reasonable but you'd rarely being going 60mph for 400 miles. That would be a 6 hour and 40 minute trip at top speed without a stop light or a pottie break. That's at the limit of what most cars (and people) will do.

      It's maybe simpler to look at it another way. 20 horse would need 20 times 746 watts or about 15000 watts. Using 15000 watts from a house with 240 volt services would draw about 60 amps. The cars 60 mph consumption would draw 15,000 watts. That would consume or fill most of a tankful of energy in 6 hours.

      Those with 200 or 300 amp services could fill it faster using 2 or 3 20 hp pumps and still keep the lights on. A 20 horse is a pretty hefty pump though so I'd guess most people would just settle for a 10 hp or just use a service station for consecutive long trips.

      Normally though, the average user would only drive 30 miles a day at 45 mph or so. That would take maybe 10 horsepower for 45 minutes. One could top up the tanks with a 5 HP pump in an hour and a half.

      Nothing is without drawbacks though! I wonder how much power the car would have when it's tanks were nearing empty. You might not want to drive those last miles at 20 mph. As well we've said nothing about heating or a/c.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I don't quite see the math in the compressed air car.
      An auto needs about 20HP to run 60MPH on level ground. Assuming 20 mpg, 20 gallons will get you 400 miles. The elapsed time is 6.7H or 2.4E4 sec. 20HP is 20 x 775W/HP = 15.5KW. 15.5KW x 2.4E4sec = 372MJ of energy to get 400 miles on gasoline, or 20 gallons is approx 372Megajoules delivered to the piston.
      The compressed air car will recharge in 5 minutes for 120 miles, so it will recharge in 16.7 min (1002sec) for 400 miles. Assuming 372MJ for 400 miles from the above, the rate of energy delivery to the air tank is 372MJ/1000sec = 372,999Joules/sec. This is 372E3 watts.
      Does any one know of a house (or a large building) that ca supply 372,000 watts of power??? (323 amps at 115V!!!)
      Pass me some of that grass, dude!