India’s largest automakers,Tata Motors has been taking giant strides and making history for itself. First the Land Rover/Jaguar deal, then the world’s cheapest car, and now Tata is set to introduce the car that runs on air—compressed air the MiniCAT.
With gasoline prices projected to hit $6.00 a gallon in the middle of 2011, this car is great news.
The Air Car, dubbed the “MiniCAT” could cost around $8 thousand in India and would have a range of close to 200 miles between refuels.
The MiniCAT is a simple and light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fiberglass powered by compressed air. Micro controllers 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.
The MiniCat is a perfect choice in cities where 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car runs at top notch speed of 105 KMPH (statistics reveal that most of the users won’t ride beyond 60 KMPH). The car doesn’t use an internal combustion engine to get energy, instead it runs on compressed air. “We have to fill the air tanks by a mini compressor powered by electricity, but we have to refill the lubricating oil for each successful drive of 50,000 Kilometers,” says a Tata official. Oil for lubrication may be inorganic (or) simply natural vegetable oil.
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 two dollars, the car will be ready to go another 200 miles.
The potential energy (or) pressure energy stored in compressed air is converted in to mechanical energy to drive the vehicle, the low pressure air which is exhausted to atmosphere is well below atmospheric temperature and it is utilized for comfort air conditioning.
The MiniCAT (Compressed Air Technology), invented by French madman and ex-F1 engineer Guy Negre and his company Motor Development International (MDI).
Some 6000 zero emissions Air Cars are scheduled to hit Indian streets by August of this year.