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AirPod Concept Car Runs on Compressed Air

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August 26, 2012 10:08:09 PM

Hm, I recall seeing a concept/prototype of an air-powered car back in the 2007s.
Anonymous
August 26, 2012 10:18:33 PM

They don't quite seem to mention what the range of this thing is (the 100 miles figure is for something different), although given its target market, it probably doesn't need that much range per charge.

Now, if only this worked with a hand-operated air pump...
August 26, 2012 10:35:34 PM

Kickstarter donation page where?
August 26, 2012 10:52:18 PM

mileage please!

and oh! recharge time
August 26, 2012 10:57:28 PM

Aircars like these have been around for years. They typically have two tanks. They make them big enough to hold 2~4 people without a problem.

Cool thing about an AIR-CAR, is that there is plenty of AIR, its just compressed... And in a sense, it should be able to run itself.
August 26, 2012 11:01:26 PM

Here are some examples of AIR-CARS that are years old:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJeMnZuOOJU (200 Miles per charge, takes minutes to re-fill / 60mph)
Watch the video above: A possible $15K car... and perhaps the ability for it to-re compress its own air using... compressed air.

This is WHAT we need. No pollution... no gas, no coal, no solar... no wind.

August 26, 2012 11:02:57 PM

BTW: the link above is quite old, but its the same maker of the air-pod seen above. They are also looking at concept air-powered buses (small). http://www.mdi.lu/multiflowair.php
August 26, 2012 11:16:14 PM

but what about air pollution :p 
August 26, 2012 11:25:53 PM

Why oh why is it so difficult to make a 'green' car that also looks aesthetically pleasing for an affordable price?
August 26, 2012 11:58:21 PM

belardoand perhaps the ability for it to-re compress its own air using... compressed air.This is WHAT we need. No pollution... no gas, no coal, no solar... no wind.

You cannot make a self-powered air-car since the air-compression/decompression process is very inefficient. On top of that, you have mechanical losses due to friction, rolling losses in the tires/suspension, aerodynamic losses from drag, more losses from braking, etc. so no matter how efficient you manage to make everything, you still need some form of external energy source to top off the compressed air tank.

The next biggest hurdle is the weight and size of an air tank large enough to store all the energy required for a typical roundtrip. To keep the tank size down, you need very high pressure air (4000+ psi) which means very thick tanks and pipes. Thermal cycling in the propulsion/braking piston would also be a problem with fast heating during braking and cooling during acceleration.

Personally, I would be wary of literally driving a pipe bomb on wheels.
August 27, 2012 12:04:40 AM

belardoHere are some examples of AIR-CARS that are years old:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OJeMnZuOOJU (200 Miles per charge, takes minutes to re-fill / 60mph)Watch the video above: A possible $15K car... and perhaps the ability for it to-re compress its own air using... compressed air.This is WHAT we need. No pollution... no gas, no coal, no solar... no wind.


For the car to compress the air it runs on via its own air supply would result in a perpetual motion machine. This is impossible. See "Entropy."

If the car requires an electric pump to compress the air, then it doesn't actually run on air, it runs on electricity. Compressed air may be what makes the motor run, but electricity is what compresses the air. I suppose you could ultimately use a man powered crank compressor of some sort, but how much work would that take?

From a general perspective, this may seem like a good idea, but if you think about how the entire system works including the charging, you'll realize this might be less efficient than a car that just runs on electricity.

Each time you convert energy from one form to another, you lose some. For an electric car, you need to change the kinetic electric energy from the wall into potential energy in the battery and then to kinetic energy again when you drive the vehicle. For this Air-Pod, you do the same with an extra step: Outlet electricity to powering the compressor to compressed air then finally to powering the engine.

Compressors give off a LOT of heat (put your hand up near the ceiling behind your fridge. That's heat given off from compression). That heat is lost energy. Batteries give off some heat, but not as much. This means a purely electric car would be more efficient. This concept just *seems* better because they tell you it runs on air.

August 27, 2012 12:33:04 AM

"or sucked in via an onboard electric engine"
You mean "or sucked in via an onboard electric motor powered by a battery pack"
August 27, 2012 12:33:26 AM

Another example of deferred responsibility. People get latched onto the idea that cars like this are so great because they create little or no pollution. That's fine, but in order to drive them, you must have pollution. All electric cars have to be charged and so far solar power isn't quite feasible. An air powered car will require the air to be compressed with by electricity or a compressor driven by an engine or something similar. The car itself may make no pollution but all you are really doing is making someone else responsible for the pollution, be it the electric company, fuel supplier, etc. These cars can't make their own energy so they must take it from something else. Even if we get solar power nailed down for electric cars there are still issues with the pollution created when making the batteries. Hell, even if you used a manual pump to compress the air a human still creates it own pollution as it works. Eventually we will reach a point where the efficiency of such things is worth it for the cost but so far everything I have seen fails miserably. I think I'll keep my '80s 4x4. ;D
August 27, 2012 12:44:47 AM

we should see more ngv around the globe by now
August 27, 2012 12:54:08 AM

InvalidError.Personally, I would be wary of literally driving a pipe bomb on wheels.


Ever see a gas tank blow up ? :-)

August 27, 2012 12:55:29 AM

This car really doesn't run on air. It runs on whatever compressed the air. Whether that is electricity from a power plant on the grid fueled by coal or wind turbines. Even batteries have an energy and material cost from their industrial production.
August 27, 2012 1:02:07 AM

ElwenilAnother example of deferred responsibility. People get latched onto the idea that cars like this are so great because they create little or no pollution. That's fine, but in order to drive them, you must have pollution. All electric cars have to be charged and so far solar power isn't quite feasible.


Actually it depends on your location. Germany, located in the Latitude of Canada, produces some 18TWh of solar energy already. Over28GW installed capacity in a country smaller than Texas with weather patterns similar to Canada; and they are building more.

The oil lobby likes to talk down on alternative sources, wondering why :-)
August 27, 2012 1:05:03 AM

antegravityThis car really doesn't run on air. It runs on whatever compressed the air. Whether that is electricity from a power plant on the grid fueled by coal or wind turbines. Even batteries have an energy and material cost from their industrial production.


True, nothing is 100% pollution free. But if you generate your power responsibly, and outside city limits, then electric , air powered or hydrogen fueled cars will clearly help in cleaning up our smog filled downtowns.

August 27, 2012 1:50:06 AM

Quote:
Now, if only this worked with a hand-operated air pump...


I envision air compressed by solar powered compressors being sold along traffic roads. This really is
a grand idea and a reason to be optimistic about human ingenuity.... Just when we thought morons like the jury who decided on the Apple/Samsung case ruled the world.
August 27, 2012 1:57:27 AM

antegravityThis car really doesn't run on air. It runs on whatever compressed the air. Whether that is electricity from a power plant on the grid fueled by coal or wind turbines. Even batteries have an energy and material cost from their industrial production.


To charge an electric car, it takes very little energy. So, yes, you do pollute less by removing gasoline operated vehicles from the market.

Look at it this way, You have factories that produces waste to produce gas which produces waste. Or you have a hydro station produce waste to produce electricity which... produces nothing. So now you eliminated 1 extra "waste" step.

On top of this, you have Hydro Electric dams that produce no waste, so now you have a dam producing no waste that supplies energy for a car that produces no waste. What is this? Damn near perfection.

Eliminating "gas" from the field would make this world a LOT better. Oil companies control every single individual heavily, gas goes up = food goes up, products go up, everything goes up in price.

Unfortunately, people are afraid to go mainstream with new technologies. Doing so has the oil companies breathing down your neck trying to either buy you out or shut you up.
August 27, 2012 2:12:22 AM

Air cars are a joke. It would require more electricity to compress the air and fill a tank than it would take to run an electric motor in the car in the first place.

Air cars are very inefficient. The only thing they have going for them is they are much simpler than electric or gas veicles and produce no local pollution (though they produce more pollution from whatever makes the electricity).
August 27, 2012 2:42:21 AM

sacreTo charge an electric car, it takes very little energy. So, yes, you do pollute less by removing gasoline operated vehicles from the market.Look at it this way, You have factories that produces waste to produce gas which produces waste. Or you have a hydro station produce waste to produce electricity which... produces nothing. So now you eliminated 1 extra "waste" step.On top of this, you have Hydro Electric dams that produce no waste, so now you have a dam producing no waste that supplies energy for a car that produces no waste. What is this? Damn near perfection.Eliminating "gas" from the field would make this world a LOT better. Oil companies control every single individual heavily, gas goes up = food goes up, products go up, everything goes up in price. Unfortunately, people are afraid to go mainstream with new technologies. Doing so has the oil companies breathing down your neck trying to either buy you out or shut you up.



How did they build the dam? I bet it was with concrete and steel. The production of both produce pollution. All the electronics required to run the dam? Materials to produce the car? Batteries? All major contributors to pollution. Hell, even the dam itself actually produces a lot of pollution through methane as plant material settles on the bottom of the reservoir and decomposes.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn7046-hydroelectri...

"Hydroelectric dams produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane, and in some cases produce more of these greenhouse gases than power plants running on fossil fuels."

Yes, hydroelectric powered electric cars probably produce less pollution than fossil fuel powered cars, but to say it's damn near perfection is pretty ignorant.
August 27, 2012 2:55:05 AM

looks like a tuk tuk
August 27, 2012 3:23:01 AM

freggoActually it depends on your location. Germany, located in the Latitude of Canada, produces some 18TWh of solar energy already. Over28GW installed capacity in a country smaller than Texas with weather patterns similar to Canada; and they are building more.The oil lobby likes to talk down on alternative sources, wondering why :-)


Given that they use over 600Twh that's still less than 3% of there electricity production. Also, there's less high rise sq footage as a percentage of total footage which is a huge difference. Solar will never amount to more than 8-10% of our electricity production in the USA unless space based energy collection becomes viable.
August 27, 2012 3:26:24 AM

madooo12mileage please!and oh! recharge time

60 cents per 60 miles.
August 27, 2012 3:47:54 AM

So... why not hook up the charging stations to water-mains. They always have fast flowing water and could easily power a air compressor pump with an efficient turbine/alternator. More and more people are looking to small hydro power, heck you can make your own out of PVC pipe and a 5gallon bucket.

Fungi
August 27, 2012 3:51:34 AM

funguseaterSo... why not hook up the charging stations to water-mains. They always have fast flowing water and could easily power a air compressor pump with an efficient turbine/alternator. More and more people are looking to small hydro power, heck you can make your own out of PVC pipe and a 5gallon bucket.Fungi



Because a few of those and the water would no longer be "fast flowing". It flows well because of the lack of obstructions, adding electric turbines would effectively kill that. Nothing is free.
August 27, 2012 3:58:54 AM

ElwenilBecause a few of those and the water would no longer be "fast flowing". It flows well because of the lack of obstructions, adding electric turbines would effectively kill that. Nothing is free.


Yeah makes sense, I gotta put down the Bong. We all use creeks in my region as there is no shortage of year round creeks here on West Coast Canada. I know of 3 people just on my block using home hydro and it just got stuck in my head. I even made a mini turbine out of CD's that can charge a 12v battery (slowly ;) 

on topic : here is another Compressed air engine, apparently works with only 1PSI to overcome friction... and %95 efficient, seems a little unbelievable though.
August 27, 2012 4:28:42 AM

Electric car are more efficient than air cars , but air cars have one advantage- they can be refueled for about 5 minutes(given a proper instalation) , whlile electric will need at least an hour, and lets not forget that metals used in batterys ARE HIGHLY TOXIC. Shure the metal comes form some third world country with life expectancy abaut 45 but that is not what you want to hear when you buy "green" car.

And before i forget , that is the only propulstion where driving with ac on is more eco than windshilds open. :) 
August 27, 2012 4:36:01 AM

antegravityThis car really doesn't run on air. It runs on whatever compressed the air. Whether that is electricity from a power plant on the grid fueled by coal or wind turbines. Even batteries have an energy and material cost from their industrial production.


A gasoline car engine efficiency rate is 20-30% a rest is wasted energy, in an electric plant , efficiency rates are over 60-70%, a car like this one you will spend a lot less money on fuel and are independent of ever-growing fuel prices.
August 27, 2012 5:06:27 AM

If this was actually a good technology, the oil companies would have assassinated the person responsible for this technology. When someone creates alternative energy, and mysteriously dies, then look into what he/she created. I don't even have my tinfoil hat on right now, look at that :) 

Air cars are stupid. Another extra step in the energy process, losing efficiency. May as well go electric. If we have electric cars with solar power, were set. Sure battery production produces waste, but if they were recharged by solar, I'm uneducatedly sure they would be less harmful and less expensive than gasoline.

I do however feel for the grease heads. The ones that turn restaurant oil into bio fuel. They work pretty hard to get that going. Making vegetable oil doesn't produce very much waste, people get paid to cook food with it, we get fat, and someone drives around on it, instead of it getting sent to the giant hill of garbage that we als drive by on the way to work everyday.
August 27, 2012 10:55:44 AM

It all good until a hummer crashes in to you..
August 27, 2012 12:01:22 PM

Solar may sound nice but even if you covered the whole car's painted area with 15-20% efficient cells you would only get 1-2kW net power on a perfect day, barely enough to run the car's AC. Unless the car's profile, tires, suspension, etc. are all optimized to minimize drag and weight (which may make it look and handle like a UFO), you would likely still have to plug it in to finish topping off the charge.

Since it takes around 100HP to give a typical car decent acceleration characteristics, hybrid something+electric is going to stay for the foreseeable future since that level of power on pure-electric is prohibitively expensive and sacrifices too much range.

On the bright side, hybrid gasoline+electric does improve fuel efficiency by 2-3X depending on usage by enabling the gasoline engine to only run within its highest efficiency range and only when needed.
August 27, 2012 12:59:28 PM

I'd like to see one of these with built in pedal inside so you can add pressure as you go, or pump up the pump if you are out/low... sure it'll take a long time compared to an electric pump but hey every little bit helps.
August 27, 2012 2:21:05 PM

belardoAircars like these have been around for years. They typically have two tanks. They make them big enough to hold 2~4 people without a problem.Cool thing about an AIR-CAR, is that there is plenty of AIR, its just compressed... And in a sense, it should be able to run itself.

It can't run itself - that would be perpetual motion

If it runs on a battery charge then it runs on the source of that electricity... which would be Coal or Natural Gas in the United states... which is far from environmentally friendly.
Anonymous
August 27, 2012 11:10:38 PM

A gleaming alloy air car shoots towards me two lanes wide.
August 27, 2012 11:41:30 PM

antegravityThis car really doesn't run on air. It runs on whatever compressed the air. Whether that is electricity from a power plant on the grid fueled by coal or wind turbines. Even batteries have an energy and material cost from their industrial production.


And if you go back far enough, all of that energy came from the sun - heat, water cycles, energy collected in plant matter, eaten by dinosaurs who died and turned into the oil and coal we use... So, using your same logic, I could argue that *everything* is solar powered.

Yes, you are correct in that something needs to power the compressor to compress the air - but the vehicle itself is directly driven by that compressed air being fed into an engine - therefore, an air-powered car.
August 28, 2012 12:13:42 AM

SmaugTDA gasoline car engine efficiency rate is 20-30% a rest is wasted energy, in an electric plant , efficiency rates are over 60-70%, a car like this one you will spend a lot less money on fuel and are independent of ever-growing fuel prices.

Using only information from Wikipedia:
Gasoline engines are 15% efficient. Gas => Motion.
Diesel engines are 20% efficient. Gas => Motion.
Electric engines are 80% efficient. Battery => Motion.
Fossil fuel power stations are 85% of the worlds energy so I will use that for the calculations.
The record peak efficiency of a CCGT plant is just under 60%, but typical efficiency of FF plants is around 30%. This isn't even counting the loss in getting the electricity to your house.
Charging a car battery is also 80% efficient. Wall => Battery.
The efficiency of an electric car charged by the most efficient plant during peak efficiency is 38%, but charged in a more typical setting it's half that at 19%. Gas => Electricity.
TL;DR: Electric cars aren't really more efficient than fossil fuel powered cars in today's world. A turbocharged diesel engine is easily more efficient than an electric car.
August 28, 2012 3:26:32 AM

InvalidErrorYou cannot make a self-powered air-car since the air-compression/decompression process is very inefficient. On top of that, you have mechanical losses due to friction, rolling losses in the tires/suspension, aerodynamic losses from drag, more losses from braking, etc. so no matter how efficient you manage to make everything, you still need some form of external energy source to top off the compressed air tank.

^ This.

Everybody reads about these and thinks "Ohh, it runs on air -- it MUST be earth friendly!" The thing is, the air is not the energy source; it's the energy storage. The energy needed to compress the air is still coming from the same old filthy electicity sources we've been using all along. (Those are the things that really need revolutionizing.) To top it off, air compressors are among the more inefficient electrical devices, so this is actually quite wasteful.
August 29, 2012 3:12:47 AM

theabsinthehareFor the car to compress the air it runs on via its own air supply would result in a perpetual motion machine. This is impossible. See "Entropy."
I'm aware its not perfect... the air itself is still escaping, so why not try to re-capture it? Also, it doesn't take much to re-fill the air tanks. The AIR car is still a very low pollution car compared to gas. Even EVs still require power from the grid.
August 29, 2012 3:22:06 AM

belardoI'm aware its not perfect... the air itself is still escaping, so why not try to re-capture it? Also, it doesn't take much to re-fill the air tanks. The AIR car is still a very low pollution car compared to gas. Even EVs still require power from the grid.



I think you are missing the point. The air is not the energy source, it's just the storage medium. Think of it as a really inefficient battery. You put electricity or fuel into a compressor to compress the air in the car's tanks, it runs off the compressed air in the tanks. Re-claiming the air means you would need an on-board compressor that would have to run on something. It can't run off itself, meaning the compressed air stored in the tanks cannot power the car and then power a compressor also. It's way too inefficient for that even if compressed air power itself was efficient, which it is not. If the compressed air could power a compressor to replace the air it uses in a 1:1 ratio, it would be perpetual energy, which cannot exist. And to ask it to do the same as well as power a vehicle is beyond comprehension. Compressing air is not easy so to even ask it to reclaim a small amount of compressed air would waste a lot of the stored energy in the tank and severely cut the vehicle's speed and range. You may as well just cut out the middle man and buy and electric car.
Anonymous
January 29, 2013 11:37:49 PM

If everyone was as dedicated to saving and preserving our planet as MDI, we would be in a happier world. I believe that they should be encouraged, not scolded.
!