thing? Tata Motors is taking giant strides and making history for
itself. First the Land Rover/Jaguar deal, then the world's cheapest
car, and now it is also set to introduce the car that runs on
With spiraling fuel prices it is about time we heard some breakthrough!
India's largest automaker, Tata Motors, is set to start producing the
world's first commercial air-powered vehicle.
The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy N?gre for
Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air, as opposed to the
gas-and-oxygen explosions of internal-combustion models, to push its
engine's pistons. Some 6000 zero-emissions Air Cars are scheduled
to hit Indian streets by August 2011.
The Air Car, called the "MiniCAT" could cost around Rs. 3,475,225
($8,177.00) in India and would have a range of around 300 km between
The cost of a refill would be about Rs. 85 ($2.00)
The MiniCAT which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular
chassis that is glued, not welded, and a body of fiberglass powered
by compressed air. Microcontrollers are used in every device in the
car, so one tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights,
There are no keys - just an access card which can be read by the car
from your pocket. According to the designers, it costs less than 50
rupees per 100 Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage
is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km
or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in
cities where 80% of motorists drive at less than 60 Km. The car has
a top speed of 105 Kmph.
Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at
adapted petrol stations to administer compressed air. In two or
three minutes, and at a cost of approximately 100 rupees, the car will
be ready to go another 200-300 kilometers.
As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can
be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4
hours. Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of
residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary
only every 50,000 Km).
The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is
between 0-15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by
the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of