Fluid Power Talk

A Car that Literally Runs on Air

We've all joked at one point or another about our cars running on fumes when we're low on gas, but a French company is working towards a car that runs on air — compressed air, that is.

Motor Development International SA is marketing their cars under the title "the Air car" and while they look futuristic (and honestly, just very European!), they make great promises, some of which are a bit far-fetched, but some which merit further review.

Although air may be free, compressed air is not, so to say it can run virtually without any costs is untrue, and in fact, they do admit in print that adapted petrol stations will administer the compressed air at about $2 for 125-175 miles or so. Additionally, there is no such thing as any vehicle that does not cause pollution — the manufacture of the car and even the electricity used to generate the compressed air causes pollution, so it's not 100 percent environmentally friendly.

But it is an interesting idea. They have five functional prototypes developed, including a five-seater, three-seater, and more. Compressed air tanks are stored underneath the car for propulsion. A built-in compressor can be plugged into a standard electrical outlet and refill these tanks in about four hours.

We probably won't be driving cars such as these in the U.S. anytime soon, but with the government pushing for more alternative-energy driven vehicles, it may not be too far-fetched of an idea after all.

See a video about the car and its technology here.

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