Skip to main content

AirPod Concept Car Runs on Compressed Air

In a world where hybrid and all-electric vehicles are becoming more and more enticing, one car maker decided to take a different route. Slaving away since early 2007, India-based car maker Tata and Luxembourg's MDI have joined forces to create the world's first air-powered car. Dubbed the AirPod, the ultra-light, one seater is designed specifically for the urban environment.

With speeds between 28 and 43 miles per hour, the AirPod won't be joining any races anytime soon, unless it's a race for efficiency. Rather than running on gasoline or electricity, the AirPod is pumped with compressed air at a charging station or sucked in via an onboard electric engine. Like its hybrid cousins, the car is also capable of collecting energy while braking.

While the first concept was finished in 2011, it wasn't until May of this year that the companies completed testing the vehicle. No word on a release date or pricing just yet, but we definitely wouldn't be opposed to seeing a few more air-powered concepts in the future. For more information, tune into the Tata Motors webpage.

Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback

Tuan Mai
Tuan Mai is a Los Angeles based writer and marketing manager working within the PC Hardware industry. He has written for Tom's Guide since 2010, with a special interest in the weird and quirky.
  • A Bad Day
    Hm, I recall seeing a concept/prototype of an air-powered car back in the 2007s.
  • 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...
  • master_chen
    Kickstarter donation page where?
  • madooo12
    mileage please!

    and oh! recharge time
  • belardo
    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.
  • belardo
    Here are some examples of AIR-CARS that are years old: (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.

  • belardo
    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).
  • misterawsome
    but what about air pollution :P
  • HenrikG
    Why oh why is it so difficult to make a 'green' car that also looks aesthetically pleasing for an affordable price?
  • InvalidError
    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.