Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A car that runs on air?

Aircar. Image: BBCAccording to this article in today's edition of the BBC, the Tata company is going to begin selling a car that is powered by air in India. Tata is the same company that recently released the people car - a car that sells for about $2500.

The car was developed by a French inventor.

A car that runs on air - would mean that it would be zero emissions Though its carbon footprint wont be zero - as the power required to compress the air would have to come from somewhere. The important thing would be that instead of the emissions occurring in a city - they would occur some place remote. And if the power came from a fossil fuel fired plant - the emissions can be scrubbed or sequestered into the ground. Though the ideal case would be if the power came from a sustainable source such as a wind or solar farm.

For a city like Denver, where emissions are such a huge problem - these cars would be great.

The biggest question is the safety of carrying high pressured air in your car. According to the inventor - the air is stored in carbon fibre tanks - which wont blow - but will rip - and so wont be an issue.

Another issue is that these cars have to be made extremely light - and so air-conditioning equipment might not be available. Without that - this car would be unusable in the winter out here in Colorado.

But the bottom line is - I would buy a car like this for daily city driving.

India's Tata backs air-power car
BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | India's Tata backs air-power car

Tata press release:

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