Viva la France! French engineer Guy Nègre has been working on the concept of an air-powered car for the past 15 years. Thanks to a new contract with India’s main car manufacturer, Tata Motors, Nègre’s technology is about to reap the benefits of a major corporate backer; not to mention access to a massive, growing market. Geeks Are Sexy lays out the details on the tech,
“The principle that makes this car work is very simple. Instead of using gas to create an explosion and make the pistons move, the vehicle’s engine is powered via three compressed air tanks located under its chassis. Environmentally speaking, this means all that goes out the exhaust pipe is cold, pure air, which can even be used as an air-conditioning source on a hot summer day.”
Put it all together and you get a vehicle with a top speed of 110 kilometers per hour, and a range of around 300 kilometers! All that’s needed for a refuel is a compressed air station — or in case of emergencies — an outlet. An on-board air-compressor will refill the tank in about 3 hours once plugged in.
Whether this tech will ever make it to North America (whose futures seem firmly tied up in electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles) is debatable. Either way, with environmental concerns over India’s fast-growing vehicle population (especially in light of the newly announced $2,500 car), any alternative-energy technology with impact potential would be welcomed.