Tata Motors and ex-Formula One engineer Guy N. from a Luxembourg MDI have come up with a car that runs on air. Dubbed the Tata Mini CAT, or Air Car, the environmentally-friendly car uses no petrol, requires little maintenance and has a range of around 300km between re-gassing. Tata hopes to have it on the market in India in 2012.
The way the Air Car is propelled is fairly straight forward. There are two tanks of compressed air which turn an almost-conventional piston motor and drive system. The system is said to propel the small van to a top speed of around 105km/h.
Tata says the Air Car stores enough compressed air to offer around 300km worth of motoring. Users will then be able to re-gas the car at certain filling stations that are equipped with special tanks of compressed air, in around three to four minutes for around $2. It will also come with its own generator pack which can be used at home capable of re-gassing the tanks in around four hours.
The vehicle itself is a six-seat mini van using two 340-litre carbon fibre gas tanks which are filled with air to 4350psi. It also uses a tubular chassis design with fibreglass panels that are glued together, helping to keep weight down.
All the accessories and in-car equipment are powered by a microprocessor. From the exhaust the only thing that is emitted is air, of around zero to minus 15 degrees in temperature.
Tata is aiming to release the Mini CAT Air Car in India next year with prices starting at around $12,700.