A company named Zero Pollution Motors says it plans to bring a car powered by air to the U.S. sometime in 2009 or 2010. The six pistons in the Air Car's engine are pushed by compressed air rather than gasoline combustion, an idea developed by F1 race car engineer Guy Negre. The car carries a compressor, making it possible to fill its compressed air tank by plugging it into an electrical outlet. At low speeds, the engine is cranked solely by air from the tank. At high speeds, it uses gasoline to heat a chamber, giving the air pushing the pistons more pressure. In high speed mode, it also compresses air to inject into the cylinders. According to its initial, estimated, specifications the Air Car will go 848 miles on an 8 gallon tank of gas. The size of the compressed air tank isn't included in the specifications. Further, the car has a top speed of 96 mph, with its power plant putting out 75 horsepower. When traveling at low speeds, the car has zero emissions, while in high speed mode it has some emissions because of its use of gasoline.
The Air Car was developed by The MDI Group, which received funding from Indian car maker Tata Motors to build the car for the Indian market. Zero Pollution Motors intends to market the Air Car in the U.S. The body of the car is made from fiberglass and foam, and is built as a six seater. Instead of the usual speed and RPM gauges in the dashboard, the Air Car will use an in-dash computer with displays for speed and engine revolutions. This dashboard computer will also be used for navigation, media playback, and communication. The Air Car sounds promising, and we will be eager to see if it really lives up to its specifications.