Tata Motors Introduces The Air Car
Tata Motors is taking giant strides
and making history for itself. First the Landrover-Jaguar deal, then the
world’s cheapest car and now it is also set to introduce the car that
runs on air, compressed air to be specific.
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 Nègre 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 in August of
The Air Car, called the MiniCAT could cost around Rs. 3,50,000 ($8177)
in India and would have a range of around 300 km between refuels.
The cost of a refill would be about Rs. 85 ($2). Tata motors also plans
to launch the world’s cheapest car, Tata Nano priced famously at One
lakh rupees (1 lakh rupees in India is worth approximately
around $2250.00 in U.S. dollars.) by October.
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, indicators etc.
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 100Km (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
the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. 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
50,000Km. 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
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