Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell? - Fuelly Forums

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Old 06-19-2008, 07:54 PM   #1
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Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?

Car runs on compressed air, but will it sell?
Lofty idea initially aimed at French market


http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6138972/

PARIS - Record-high oil prices might seem like bad news for the auto industry. But one European manufacturer plans to make a type of car unaffected by $50-a-barrel crude ? cars that run on compressed air.

Luxembourg-based Moteur Developpment International is gearing up for the launch of its Air Car line next year.

"It's safe, doesn't pollute, doesn't explode, it's not poisonous and it's not expensive," said MDI representative Sebastien Braud.

The company says the cars will initially go on sale in France, where the first assembly line is due to start production in the middle of next year.

The MiniCATS three-seater compact, a commercial version of a prototype showcased at the 2002 Paris Motor Show, will be priced at $9,850. The CitiCATS six-seater sedan will retail for $16,000.

How it works
In both cars, 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.

"When you get home you normally plug in your cell phone," said Braud. "Well, now you do that with your car too."

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.

"It certainly can't hurt," said Braud. "It will help encourage people to switch over."

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.

Slightly pricier hybrid versions achieve higher speeds and longer ranges by running on a combination of compressed air and conventional gasoline, or bio-fuels derived from organic matter.

MDI says the air-only models meet the needs of most urban drivers, who average just 11 miles a day. And the only exhaust that comes out of the tail pipe is cold air.

Limited appeal, benefits?
But auto analysts play down the Air Car's chances of taking off, unless a major car maker buys the technology and markets it through its own network.

"If you buy a Peugeot or a Renault, you know that there's a dealer close by if you have a problem," said Gaetan Toulemonde of Deutsche Bank Securities. "If your car has only one dealer in France, what are you going to do when it needs repairs?"

Toulemonde said about 10,000 electric cars had been sold in France since major manufacturers introduced them a decade ago. Many now outperform the Air Car in terms of speed and range but nonetheless remain niche products.

Environmentalists are also wary about the Air Car's claimed benefits. Converting energy from electricity to compressed air is inefficient, according to Karsten Krause of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, a green lobby group based in Brussels.

By consuming much more energy from the power plant than it delivers on the road, Krause said, it could even do as much environmental damage as some gasoline cars.

"You may not have any pollution from the car itself," he said, "but you're just transferring the environmental burden to another place."

Krause's organization pushes a much simpler recipe for cutting greenhouse gas and toxic emissions from vehicles. If consumers ditched their SUVs and four-liter guzzlers and chose engine capacities reflecting their real needs, he said, fuel consumption would drop by a third.

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old article (2004) but interesting enough.
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Old 06-20-2008, 04:42 AM   #2
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Can we really run the car on water

Can we run our car with water and gas?
Can anybody tell me is the HHO Gas is real working or is another scam?
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Old 06-20-2008, 05:04 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by johnandrews52 View Post
Can we run our car with water and gas?
Can anybody tell me is the HHO Gas is real working or is another scam?

The article is not about HHO it's about compressed air.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:41 AM   #4
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I've followed those cars, neat little designs. I wish they could get the range up to 200mi or so. Or at least have a gas backup for long trips. Those things are so small and light I would think you could add a small scooter motor to it to extend your range.
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Old 06-23-2008, 03:50 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by civic_matic_00 View Post
Environmentalists are also wary about the Air Car's claimed benefits. Converting energy from electricity to compressed air is inefficient, according to Karsten Krause of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, a green lobby group based in Brussels.

By consuming much more energy from the power plant than it delivers on the road, Krause said, it could even do as much environmental damage as some gasoline cars.
I am presuming these idiots think it's magically more efficient to use batteries and variable speed electric motors??? (As opposed to an AC motor designed to run at one optimum efficient speed on the compressor)

Half these groups seem more like roadblocks to progress, "Oh it has wheels it must be bad for the environment"
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Old 06-23-2008, 02:14 PM   #6
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If I had a car that ran on compressed air, I'd have a main HUGE compressor at the house that ran on solar. Perfect car for just around town.

Alternatively, I could use this golf-cart like car just plugged into the grid - again - perfect for around town. Solar could work well to recharge the vehicle in the article.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:04 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by RoadWarrior View Post
I am presuming these idiots think it's magically more efficient to use batteries and variable speed electric motors??? (As opposed to an AC motor designed to run at one optimum efficient speed on the compressor)

Half these groups seem more like roadblocks to progress, "Oh it has wheels it must be bad for the environment"
you got that right.
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Old 06-23-2008, 05:56 PM   #8
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I am impressed with the range and speed. That thing is awesome! Compressed air? I can see the reduced cost in maintenance too, right away (seals and lubrication?). Zero "wasted" energy in stop and go. Refilling available at home...

That thing would even work in sub zero temp! Why aren't they here???
I suppose the batteries would get recharged each time too.
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Old 06-23-2008, 06:28 PM   #9
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Air car

I have been following this car for a couple of years. I have sent numerous e-mails to "the company" with no response! If you go back and research their story they always seem to be "Just about to market and produce" in some other country. I bet if I offered them money in one of my e-mails I would get a response! Maybe I will try that and see what happens, I'll let you know.

I do think the idea is a good one though.


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