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Compressed-Air Car Nears Trial

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the under-pressure dept.

Transportation 173

DeviceGuru writes "Air France and KLM have announced plans to conduct a six-month trial of a new zero-emission, compressed-air powered vehicle. The AirPod seats three, can do 28 mph, and goes about 135 miles on a tank of compressed air. Motor Development International, the vehicle's developer, expects the AirPod to reach production by mid-2009, and to sell for around 6,000 Euro. Initially, it will be manufactured in India by Tata Motors, and distributed in France and India."

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i for one... (4, Funny)

zxnos (813588) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693089)

...would hate to see someone siphon fuel from this car!

Re:i for one... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693135)

yeah, that would really blow your mind...

Re:i for one... (4, Funny)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693165)

...would hate to see someone siphon fuel from this car!

Siphoning the first half would be easy. The second half would be ...interesting.

Re:i for one... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693915)

But on the other hand when the AirPod runs out of compressed air the driver only needs to get a blow job to keep on going.

That's a seller right there.

Brrr. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693103)

Parts of this thing will get fucking cold. Just imagine all the heat lost when the compressed air is let to cool down.

Oh well, not like I care about the environment or anything.

Re:Brrr. (4, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693133)

Parts of this thing will get fucking cold.

In India thats a feature.

Re:Brrr. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693305)

Again. 1st law of thermodynamics... the enviroment will be cooled down as much as its been heated up by the compressors used to compress the air minus the the entropy.

Re:Brrr. (1)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693533)

Lhisa, ihn dhis countghy ve obay de laws of shermodynamics!

28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street... (2, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693105)

28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street travel.

The concept is not entirely worthless though. If you apply the power train to a bicycle frame you have a very powerful upgrade to a standard bicycle, and with the even higher power to weight ratio you have a considerable speed upgrade as well.

I predict this will flop pretty badly because of this speed limitation, and if it starts to take off people will have them banned as "moving road blocks".

I, for one, would not tolerate an urban landscape clogged by a bunch of people who can't go faster than my grandmother. I hope they also come standard with the requisite continuously running directional indicator for those speeds.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693131)

I hope they also come standard with the requisite continuously running directional indicator for those speeds.

I don't understand what this means.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (3, Funny)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693147)

you've never been behind someone going 15 miles under with the blinker on?
where do you live, rural north dakota?

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693181)

Close. Australia. The connection between indicators running and driving slowly wasn't obvious to me. Must be a meme specific to your locale.

Here we would say that slow drivers are always wearing hats.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

Eddi3 (1046882) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693763)

"Here we would say that slow drivers are always wearing hats."

wat

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694325)

Yeah. We dont call them 'memes' outside Oz though.

We call them 'laws'

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

digitalchinky (650880) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693197)

If you mean hazard lights, then just say 'hazard lights' and we will know what you are talking about, no need for the esoteric corporate buzz words.

I'm Australian living in Manila, it's not often you get above 20mph in this city. Even at the few times you can, since the locals have absolutely no concept of or ability to build a flat surface, it's not really going to happen anyway. I'd say it'd be a sure thing here.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

mikkelm (1000451) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693461)

So you crazy Australians have direction indicating hazard lights? IT'S OVER THERE! LOOK AT WHERE I'M SHINING!

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (2)

TapeCutter (624760) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693999)

"IT'S OVER THERE! LOOK AT WHERE I'M SHINING!"

If you hear that in the bush and the lights on you, best hit the deck quick smart.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25695019)

I've read somewhere that "turn signals" are called "blinkers" in the US and "winkers" in the UK. They're not talking about hazard lights though.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693161)

There are many jokes about old people and/or women and/or various ethnic groups being bad drivers. In these jokes, these people often drive slowly and forget to turn off their blinkers.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

WK2 (1072560) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693177)

That's exactly what I was thinking. This seems to be in the "go-cart" class of cars.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (3, Insightful)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693243)

28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street travel.

I don't know about the US, but most European cities have speed limits of 50 km/h (around 31 mph), so it's not that far of.
Actually, I would not mind this type of car getting popular, since it would lower the air and noise pollution in crammed cities quite considerably.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (2, Interesting)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693445)

I don't know about the US, but most European cities have speed limits of 50 km/h (around 31 mph), so it's not that far of.
Actually, I would not mind this type of car getting popular, since it would lower the air and noise pollution in crammed cities quite considerably.

Zero-emissions, true, but I'd watch the videos before claiming this would lower noise pollution. It seemed sort of loud, at least in the video I watched.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693517)

So on a flat surface it can't even reach the laughably slow speed limits imposed in most built-up areas. My route to work involves a steep incline with a 40 limit, I'd hate to be stuck behind one of these things going 5mph.

The main benefit of this of course is that you can refill it for free at the tyre-inflater.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

joaommp (685612) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694345)

if this catches up, the tire inflaters won't be free anymore... it will mean people buying less gas and the gas stations are bound to have profit...

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

danpat (119101) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694597)

The big difference is that you can buy an electric powered air compressor for your home and refuel there (hell, the car might even have one built-in).

You can't (easily) produce gasoline at home, which gives gas stations a form of monopoly.

I doubt gas stations would be able to gouge like you infer, there's going to be a lot more competition for producing compressed air if the idea takes off.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694899)

Laughable? Around here this thing'll go fast enough to lose control on some of our streets, and that's without them being down hill.

The 25mph speed limit for non-arterials is really pushing the limits of safety or sense. Anything pops out on the narrow streets and you've got to slam on the breaks.

There's a reason why speed limits are placed where they are. Roads are generally designed for a certain speed of traffic and that's usually the posted speed limit.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (2, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693967)

Yup, in the UK the speed limit is 30mph in built-up areas. There are a few bits where the speed limit is 50mph in bits of town that have major roads running through them, but if it can actually go at 28mph, then it's fast enough for in-town driving. You wouldn't want to drive it between cities though.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694885)

It might depend on where exactly you live, but cars tend to go 35-40 when there isn't a lot of traffic to slow them down. And for in town driving you really want decent acceleration so you don't have to wait for a large gap when turning onto a busy road, if it's top speed is 28 mph I doubt it'll be able to accelerate very quickly.

I live in London and I wouldn't want to drive a car that can't do at least 40 and get to 30 fairly quickly.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694271)

28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street travel.

I don't know about the US, but most European cities have speed limits of 50 km/h (around 31 mph), so it's not that far of.
Actually, I would not mind this type of car getting popular, since it would lower the air and noise pollution in crammed cities quite considerably.

very little noise pollution is from the engine, it's mostly road-tire noise. not that i disagree.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

Methuselah2 (1173677) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694901)

Washington DC, of course, would have a ban on air powered vehicles within city limits, as there is already too much hot air.

One of the problems is how to compress the air without using polluting means. Er, wait a minute, they've found a way to harness most politicians' speeches! Brilliant!

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693317)

Read TFA and you will know there is a 70mph version planned.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693335)

In London 28 MPH is optimistic.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693351)

Where are you? The usual in-city speed limit here is 31 mph (50kph).

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694155)

Where are you? The usual in-city speed limit here is 31 mph (50kph).

I've seen two major types of urban design pattern here in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA, population ca. 200,000, the speed limit on arterials [wikipedia.org] is closer to 40 mph (64 km/h). If an arterial is the only road between where you live and where you work, and you drive a slow-moving vehicle such as a 20 mph bicycle or an air-powered car that can't break 28 mph, you must become an obstruction.

The second problem is efficiency (3, Interesting)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693557)

It's a heat engine, no more efficient than a petrol powered engine, but with the problem of low density energy storage. Basically it doesn't look good compared to batteries and electric drive.

 

It's a what now? (1)

The Creator (4611) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693995)

"It's a heat engine"

No it's not.

"Yes it is"

Allright then.. what's the heat source?

Re:It's a what now? (2, Informative)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694185)

Allright then.. what's the heat source?

The environment.

The compressed gas enters the expansion cylinder at environmental temperature and as it expands, it cools, in exactly the same way as the combustion gases in an Internal Combustion Engine cool as they expand.
 

Re:It's a what now? (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694367)

Uh, no. It's not a heat engine, because heat is not causing expansion. In fact, as you point out, as it expands, it cools. This actually robs power from the engine! If the engine were to be heated somehow, it would probably be substantially more efficient. It is no more accurate to describe MDI's air engine as a "heat engine" than to describe a single pneumatic cylinder being driven by a compressor and used to do work as a "heat engine" - or by extension, a hydraulic cylinder. (Saying that liquids "don't compress" is a simplification of real-world physics, after all.) The heat is A) a byproduct of the gas compression problem, B) is not used to do work, and C) does not increase overall anyway. You don't actually increase heat energy when you compress a gas, aside from the wasted energy converted to heat by the compressor. You increase temperature, but only because you've put more mass into the same space. The heat per unit of mass does not change and that is why this is not a heat engine.

Re:The second problem is efficiency (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694195)

On the upside, it's powered by a resource we have plenty of (especially in Washington D.C.): hot air.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693607)

There are more advanced efforts. A car using a petrol motor to compress can give insane millage and estimated speeds of ~110kmh / ~70mph

This was aired on Australia television a few years back http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=J0KXrDpowJk

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

secondhand_Buddah (906643) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693615)

Having traveled in India, I can assure you that 28MPH is plenty of speed for most people, especially when commuting in the cities or rural areas.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (3, Insightful)

Brianech (791070) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693725)

The article says there are 4 other models planned, with one reaching speeds of 70mph... It also seems to hint that the initial models are being used as maintenance vehicles and such. Their first major test buyer is Air France. Its more like their initial models are looking to replace electric cars in the workplace, not for high way driving. But of course you knew all of this, because no one comments without first reading the article.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (2, Insightful)

v1456vqe (981434) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693949)

Here is a vehicle that is not as fast as 28MPH and its so popular that I can continuously hear their sound as I type this: Auto Rikshaw [wikipedia.org]

From TFA (4, Informative)

Noodles (39504) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694423)

"Four other models, featuring speeds up to about 70 mph, are also on the drawing board."

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (2, Interesting)

TBoon (1381891) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694739)

28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street travel. [...] I, for one, would not tolerate an urban landscape clogged by a bunch of people who can't go faster than my grandmother.

Check out French "car" maker Ligier. They, and others, have been producing similar vehicles for several years. Just diesel-powered, and less silly-looking. They are classified as mopeds, and are therefore not allowed to go faster than 45km/h (28mph). (Some models are classified as 4-wheel motorcycles and can go faster).

Not being classified as a "car" means they don't have to pass crash tests, so it's probably a good thing they don't go faster.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (3, Interesting)

yelvington (8169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694757)

Apparently you've never enjoyed realistic street travel in a crowded major city such as midtown New York or central London, where 28 mph would be pretty optimistic and, on some streets, illegal.

The AirPod looks oddly like the auto-rickshaws used in Delhi [nriinformation.com] , or the tuk-tuk of Bangkok. [pbase.com] These devices generally are powered by internal-combustion engines that burn CNG (compressed natural gas) [wikipedia.org] .

They're plenty fast enough for high-density urban surface street travel, and in India I've seen as many as 10 people crammed into one, traveling on rural highways.

I'm puzzled by the KLM-Air France connection, although I suppose these would make fine runabouts for airport workers. Sort of like golf carts.

On another note ...

Most of the comments I'm reading here completely miss the point of the compressed air, which is not a carbon-neutral fuel source but essentially just the equivalent of a wind-up spring. That lets the vehicle be powered by any energy source, depending on how the air is compressed. You get to carbon-neutral by using some non-petroleum power to compress the air, such as nuclear-generated electrical energy.

Electric cars work the same way, but I have to wonder about the environmental impact of disposal of the batteries, which do wear out.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694947)

Apparently you've never enjoyed realistic street travel in a crowded major city such as midtown New York or central London, where 28 mph would be pretty optimistic and, on some streets, illegal.

nope, just rushour in downtown and midtown atlanta, where the public transit is a joke, assuring even more congestion. There are still plenty of places you can exceed 35, and personally I'd ease up and shove one of these little annoyances out of my way.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694993)

Batteries are highly recyclable. Especially the toxic stuff, as it is usually quite valuable.

Re:28 MPH is not fast enough for realistic street. (1)

JMandingo (325160) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694841)

This vehicle would be perfect for me. I have a 3.5 mile commute through 25 mph residential areas. And my favorite pub is only 1.5 miles away from home through residential streets as well :-)

The question becomes: are there enough people like me with similar commutes to make this vehicle commercially viable?

AirPod (1)

pipingguy (566974) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693113)

Sounds like it should be an Apple brand.

How much energy is required to run the compressor to fill the high pressure air cylinders?

Re:AirPod (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693117)

Sounds like it should be an Apple brand.

How much energy is required to run the compressor to fill the high pressure air cylinders?

if it follows standard principles of mechanical engineering, far more than is redeemed through running the engine.

Re:AirPod (5, Insightful)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693139)

How much energy is required to run the compressor to fill the high pressure air cylinders?

Obviously more than you get out of the drive line at the other end of the system. Compressed air does lose lot of energy to heat.

In fact calculating energy loss would almost be a textbook example in thermodynamics.

Re:AirPod (1)

jamesh (87723) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693401)

Even worse than that, when the air is decompressed during use it gets cold. Icing up is a problem in colder climates. Free airconditioning in warmer climates though!

Re:AirPod (3, Insightful)

wisty (1335733) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693657)

Yes, but you can run the compressor with a coal powered boiler, a windmill, a team of oxen, a dam, or a volcanic heat outlet. It's not the power or the efficiency that matters, it's the style with which you transform that energy. Steam-punk FTW!

Re:AirPod (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693707)

This is *not* zero emissions. While the *car* emits no pollutants, the electric plant, petrol engine, or whatever other source used to run the compressor that compresses the air, certainly does pollute. Using compressed air for a power source for a vehicle is absurd except in special circumstances (such as a vehicle to be used in an explosive atmosphere). The work/energy lost as a percentage of that which is usable is very high compared to other sources of energy for transportation.

Re:AirPod (5, Insightful)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693933)

the electric plant, petrol engine, or whatever other source used to run the compressor that compresses the air, certainly does pollute.

Which can be dealt with more effectively than it can on each car.

Re:AirPod (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694413)

Surely you mean iAir, a device that would emit a playlist of scents.

Oh wait, it's not such a bad idea actually. First one to the USPTO wins!

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693115)

first post booyah

Re:first post (0, Offtopic)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693143)

Or not.

Power from somewhere (1)

SigNuZX728 (635311) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693123)

You still have to compress the air somehow, either with an electric- or combustion-powered compressor. I'm curious to see how much these cost to operate per mile versus a battery-powered electric car.

Re:Power from somewhere (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693153)

You still have to compress the air somehow, either with an electric- or combustion-powered compressor.

How about a wind turbine? That might work well in the right environment.

Re:Power from somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693883)

This is important to note. Unless you live in Fantasy city, fantasyland where all energy is produced without emissions then an emissions free vehicle is a violation of the Laws of thermodynamics. You can say exhaust emission free, but not totally emission free. Unless it runs on good intentions or smugness.

Re:Power from somewhere (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693339)

According to the web page the engine can work as a compressor and is just plugged in. Cost is about 0.50 to 1.50 Euro for 100km. 1.50 is around the price of a liter of gas over here.

Re:Power from somewhere (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694099)

You could also use a foot pump if you aren't especially in a hurry.

Compressed air (1)

kaos07 (1113443) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693167)

I never thought the thing I use to clean my keyboard could be used to power a car.

This will be a gas... (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693247)

nt.

Headline (1)

C4st13v4n14 (1001121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693255)

I thought the headline read "compressed air can nears trial". Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the link!

Re:Headline (1)

cadience (770683) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693363)

you *clicked* the link. You must be new here. However, clicking and reading aren't the same thing :)

Great (0)

Alarindris (1253418) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693373)

If people were able to drive golf carts to work they would. Making them air powered doesn't help.

Is it April 1st already? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693397)

That has to be the lamest looking car, I've ever seen.

They've got to be kidding!

at first my eye/mind read (1)

davidsyes (765062) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693417)

"Seats 135, goes 3 mph, and travels 28 miles", then read, "Seats 28, goes 135 mph, and travels 3 miles"...

Lies (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693503)

Tag as vaporware. MDI have been peddling this for over a decade with no results; its always nearing trials.

I'm not sure I get it... (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693539)

As an interesting means of propulsion, it's interesting but I just don't see why compressed air is considered such a good means of storing energy. Surely replacable batteries would be just as convenient for a much higher energy density.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693577)

..only the battery alone would cost more than this complete car.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (5, Interesting)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693645)

I see quite a few actually
  • I assume building and recycling a gas tank/engine is better for the environment than it's the case for batteries.
  • compressors needed to supply the compressed air in the first place are cheap and easy to make, and can easily take advantage of alternative energy.
  • Filling your gas tank is near-instanteanous (at least compared to recharging a battery)
  • it's noisy compared to electric motors, so no worry you get overrun by this pesky 28mph-race machine at night because you didn't hear it coming!

Seriously though, about the 28mph : this is marketed as a city car. Most of the time, in cities, you'd be happy to be driving at that speed. In most bigger cities, the circulation is stop and go for the better part of the day, along with some awfull air polution. Only airpowered car would be a blessing .. I guess there is a reason why India is so interested in this technology.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

ecavalli (1216014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694107)

Seriously though, about the 28mph : this is marketed as a city car. Most of the time, in cities, you'd be happy to be driving at that speed. In most bigger cities, the circulation is stop and go for the better part of the day, along with some awfull air polution.

I don't think this really applies to "most" big cities. New York and LA maybe, but as someone who splits his time between Portland and Seattle 28MPH simply wouldn't work.

Reducing the car's viable market to 3-5 cities in North America where the speed wouldn't be a huge downside certainly wont pique the interest of shareholders.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694169)

As someone else pointed out earlier, 28mph IS approximately the speed limit in european cities. How high is it in the USA?

From personal experience, I'd say that all big European cities, be it Paris, London, Berlin, Rome, Munich, or even smaller ones like Heidelberg, Frankfurt, ... etc suffer from traffic congestion, and actually achieving 28mph is only possible late at night when nobody else is out.

It's definitely not supposed to be an alternative for long-range travel.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

ecavalli (1216014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694219)

As someone else pointed out earlier, 28mph IS approximately the speed limit in european cities. How high is it in the USA?

It depends on where and how far you're driving, but here in Portland, Oregon it ranges from approximately 30MPH on neighborhood streets to 60MPH on the freeway within the city. Once you get outside of the city limits, the limit on the freeway jumps to 70MPH.

There is a bit of variance depending on which state you live in here in America, but our limits are pretty typical for this country.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

Discrete_infinity (192528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694559)

It depends on where and how far you're driving, but here in Portland, Oregon it ranges from approximately 30MPH on neighborhood streets to 60MPH on the freeway within the city. Once you get outside of the city limits, the limit on the freeway jumps to 70MPH.

There is a bit of variance depending on which state you live in here in America, but our limits are pretty typical for this country.

IIRC... The max posted speed on I-5 anywhere in the state of Oregon is 65 mph. As for the freeways running in the city(Portland,OR) I believe most are posted at 55 mph(at least the 405 is). ;)

Cheers.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

ecavalli (1216014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694593)

IIRC... The max posted speed on I-5 anywhere in the state of Oregon is 65 mph. As for the freeways running in the city(Portland,OR) I believe most are posted at 55 mph(at least the 405 is). ;)

Cheers.

You're right. I was confusing Oregon's posted speeds with those of Washington thanks to all the trips I've had to make up to Seattle recently.

Still, my point remains: For most U.S. cities -- even the larger ones -- this car doesn't make a lot of sense.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

Discrete_infinity (192528) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694623)

You're right. I was confusing Oregon's posted speeds with those of Washington thanks to all the trips I've had to make up to Seattle recently.

Still, my point remains: For most U.S. cities -- even the larger ones -- this car doesn't make a lot of sense.

I agree, the vehicle does seem to be a bit of a stretch for most of the U.S. market.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

danpat (119101) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694617)

1. Not all cities are built around the US model with honking great raised freeways running crisscross around them. "Old" cities that pre-date cars by any significant margin often have poor/slow traffic flow. Here's an example of where this car would be good:

http://www.citycoolcab.in/images/mumbai_traffic.jpg [citycoolcab.in]

2. North america isn't the only viable market in the world.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

ecavalli (1216014) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694711)

North america isn't the only viable market in the world.

True, but it is a rather significant one.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

yelvington (8169) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694825)

Most big cities aren't in North America.

In fact, in a list of the 50 biggest cities in the world, [worldatlas.com] the only ones in North America are Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Toronto.

Portland and Seattle are nice places but they don't even rank in the top 100 in terms of population, and certainly not in density.

The American pattern of suburban living and 40-minute freeway commuting is not at all representative of the global market, which is much, much bigger.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694375)

Negative: Far more dangerous 5 years down the line when the air tanks start exploding during fill-up because of fatigue. Expect a few fatalities.

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

sammyF70 (1154563) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694619)

Where I live, we use Butane gas for cooking. Each house has its own portable gas tank, when it's empty we bring it back to the sales point and get a new one. Those tanks are then refilled and re-sold/lent and so far I still have to hear any story about any of those breaking up, or exploding when falling down or during a road crash.

Of course, I don't know how old those bottles can get but if it's safe enough for cooking gas, I guess it should be safe enough for air

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694813)

Where I live, we use Butane gas for cooking.

In Bhutan? :)

Re:I'm not sure I get it... (1)

CheshireFerk-o (412142) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694883)

unless theres a spark or flame it wouldnt burn anyway, i have knocked over a propane tank and had it spray wildly for about 1min30secs or so.

Why two airlines? (1)

Airw0lf (795770) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693559)

So this is a zero-emission motor vehicle. What are two european airlines doing with it?

Air France Industries and KLM Engineering and Maintenance will be evaluating the AirPod from the perspective of safety, ergonomics, deployment, reliability, and maintenance costs, among other factors.

Isn't all of the above a little bit removed from their core business? The only logical use I could think of for these cars in the airline business is transporting staff and luggage around airports, tarmacs and hangars...

Re:Why two airlines? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693721)

Maybe because they have a lot of experience in evaluating things with a large differential pressure?

Re:Why two airlines? (2)

home-electro.com (1284676) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694741)

Perhaps for ground service vehicles in airports.

Re:Why two airlines? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694931)

Thanks for your comment, that was utterly stupid.

Looks like it needs a hole in the floor so you can (1)

George_Ou (849225) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693815)

Looks like it needs a hole in the floor so you can stick your feet out the bottom and help accelerate the car. If you look at the first video they have in link, they had to push it to go.

The amount of energy you can put in to compressed air is pretty lousy and as someone else already mentioned above, you'd lose a lot of heat energy and you have to deal with the freezing effect when you begin to release the air.

Re:Looks like it needs a hole in the floor so you (1)

v1456vqe (981434) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693897)

I thought Fred had a patent on cars with holes

Yup (1)

OverlordQ (264228) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693827)

Damn those evil Automobile companies trying to keep the 28mph car away from the public.

Give the people air! (2, Interesting)

Waccoon (1186667) | more than 5 years ago | (#25693833)

28MPH when the car is fully charged, I assume? How about when the tank is 1/2 full? Does it have a heater for the winter?

A novel idea, but if we're going to make people movers, electric sounds like a more realistic implementation. An electric go-kart isn't that hard to mass produce.

Also, I'm wondering if these guys [promci.qc.ca] have mane any progress, lately.

For the nay sayers... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25693943)

It is not intended to replace your SUV or run cross-country.
It is intended to allow a maximum of 3 people get from A to B where the distance is relatively short. Like home to the super market. You don't need an SUV to do that.

It is not intended to replace a sports car.
Most urban areas have 50km/h speed limits, and in often cases even that is unreachable due to congestion.

It is not intended to be an ultra efficient machine.
The use of compressed air means that in the end, the energy efficiency will be just about the same as a gasoline/petrol engine. But that's not the point. It has zero emissions, and most compressors run off of electricity. That means lower smog in heavily populated urban areas. (Ever been to large Indian cities?) In addition, air compressors are easy and relatively cheap infrastructure to introduce in most areas. Of course, plug-in hybrids are too, but you can't get a plug-in hybrid for 6,000 Euros.

If this car does not fit your needs, then its not intended for you. One size does not fit all.

I've said it before (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694457)

I had a car [ilovethe80s.com] that ran on compressed air back in the early 80s.

These are hardly the best compressed air cars (3, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 5 years ago | (#25694637)

A company called MDI already has compressed air cars on the streets of Mexico city. Here is a youtube video with some interviews with them. They actually make several cars and can get over 60mph and 200mph per fillup. Fillup takes 3 minutes with pre-compressed air or 4 hours off a home compressor.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztFDqcu8oJ4 [youtube.com]

Note, disregard the commentators crackpot statement about perpetual motion at the end. The company isn't making that claim.

You also have pollution where the electricity is produced but that is true of all the alternatives being suggested today. It is far more efficient and economical to produce clean energy on a large scale at a power plant than it is at the vehicle level.

For that matter, with current scrubber technology even coal power is actually pretty clean. It's not renewable and isn't a solution but in the meantime its cleaner than burning gas on a car by car basis. It's certainly cleaner than creation and disposal rechargeable batteries.

Car doesn't run on it's own. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#25694957)

Did anyone else notice the car had to be pushed to get started? Once it drove to the other end of the path it got stuck. I don't see why they demonstrated the prototype in a non working state. This one should have been left in the oven a little longer.

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