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The Air Car Hybrid


The Air Car (http://www.theaircar.com) is an interesting hybrid indeed. Using the age old technology of compressed air, it allows the car to be run, on a tank of... compressed air. Compressed air has been used for a long time for storage of energy and propulsion. The old steam trains used to burn coal, heat water, and store the compressed steam in a big tank which was then used to power the engines. The compressed air provided a stable supply of energy to the engine which could easily be regulated, unlike the heat from the coal which was harder to control.

The Air Car Hybrid

The Air Car Hybrid


 

Today in several part of the world, compressed air is also used to store energy, such us the the CAES (Compressed Air Energy Storage) plant in Germany, which uses natural underground caves to store the air and and take advantage of the surplus energy produced by the generating plants. Also similar plants were installed in the United States (Alabama and Ohio). These plants collect energy when it is cheap such as in off peak energy times, and allow it to be used during peak times.

The Air Car uses a tank which can be filled from a special compressor, or plugged in and charged via its own compressor. The car is very cost-efficient to run, as it costs less than one Euro per 100Km (or about 1/10th that of a petrol car). Its mileage is approximately double that of the most advanced electric cars (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), something that makes a great choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car has a top speed of 68 mph.

Currently the company who holds the technology is looking for people to buy licenses to build factories or sell the cars, and they estimate that by the end of 2009 they should be available for sale and people should be able to buy this hybrid car for around 10 000 Euros. Shares are also available in the company.

The air car emits no emissions, except those emitted by the power plant for charging the tank, but this is many times less than that of a normal fuel vehicle. And if the air is compressed via renewable energy such as solar, then there is no emissions whatsoever.

Another great feature of this technology is that the air expelled from the engine is cold (between 0 and minus 15 degrees Celsius) and is also very clean so it can be used for air conditioning. And because of the clean running engine, the oil (vegetable) only needs to be replaced every 50 000km. This car possibly represents one of the best options, apart from vegetarianism, to help slow global warming.