Trends: Air Powered Cars

There’s a new addition to the alternatives to using gas to power our car engines. Along with electric and electric hybrid cars being developed and tested, cars fueled by compressed air and hybrids that do the same are the latest trend gaining momentum in car companies’ development plans.

It doesn’t seem like air would be able to be used to make a car run, but it works. It’s the same concept as some of the tools that mechanics use that also use air to function. These kinds of tools are pretty powerful. Hammers powered by air, for example, can separate metals that are rusted together. And this is all done at a fairly low pressure.

Increase the amount of pressure (or compression), and you have successfully increased the amount power. And that’s how engineers are designing vehicles to run on compressed air. But while using compressed air will make a vehicle run, it does come with limitations compared to other energy sources.

A car running on compressed air will only be able to accelerate to about 70 miles per hour maximum. And, even more inconvenient for drivers used to gas, the average amount of miles before a refill is needed is 125 miles.

Right now, car manufacturers are looking to developing countries such as India to market this type of vehicle. In India, the Tata Motors company just successfully sold a model called the Nano, and marketed it as a cheap alternative to a scooter. In India, the demand for cars is high and increasing. And, there are more and more people looking to buy cars in India, which could lead to a lot more air pollution and could be disastrous to the environment.

U.S. companies are also checking into the possibility of introducing cars that run on compressed air to the U.S. market. Ford is currently working to develop a hybrid model of the compressed air concept.

So, as we become more conscious of the damage our cars are doing to the environment, and as we become more dependent on vehicles to get us around, it makes sense to use a renewable, non-polluting resource like compressed air to fuel our vehicles.

By Mazen