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Car Powered by Compressed Air

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the switched-from-suck-to-blow dept.

Power 409

gripperzipper writes "CNN reports that a Korean company created a small car powered by compressed air. ENERGINE created its PHEV, or Pneumatic-Hybrid Electric Vehicle, which uses a two-stroke compressed air engine for start, acceleration, and uphill climbs. The car switches to an electric motor when its speed reaches 20-25 km/h (32-40 mi/h). Although major auto manufacturers have invested heavily in gasoline hybrids, it will be interesting to see if a market will open for this type of vehicle." Update: 04/04 17:18 GMT by T : Reader Tapsu spotted the incongruity here, writing "Interesting post, but the speed conversion has gone wrong way: "20-25 km/h (32-40 mi/h)". ... Thus the correct speed range in miles would be something like 12-15 mi/h."

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Say goodbye to free air (4, Interesting)

BobPaul (710574) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131614)

I hope it has an external refil port for the compressed air tank. This will be a great way to take advantage of stations that offer "Free Air" (and also, unfortunately, prompt a decrease in the number of stations offering "free air"...)

Re:Say goodbye to free air (1)

caston (711568) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131631)

Funny and insightful both at the same time. :) I could see it now.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131647)

one strange thing: 20-25km/h is 12.5-15.5mi/h
and 32-40 mi/h is 51.5-64km/h
so there is something fishy about this comment ;)

Re:Say goodbye to free air (2, Funny)

camelrider (46141) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131753)

I hope these guys aren't designing Mars landing craft!

Re:Say goodbye to free air (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131650)

Doesn't matter that actually you can buy many kind of 'air' gases - oxygen and carbon dioxide included, helium too - in many places of the world :)

Free air is what outside is, go and breathe it while it is... here :)

Re:Say goodbye to free air (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131651)

On the contrary, the pressure available at a gas station might be as high as 140 psi (if you're lucky), but the diagram in TFA indicates that the high pressure tank is pressurized to around 300 bar, or ~4200 psi. This doesn't seem much of a threat to the station's business model.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (5, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131657)

The compressed air from a gas station could barely provide any stored energy.

Compressed air has great power density, but awful energy density. I.e., you can unload power incredibly quickly from it, but can't store much at all. Even batteries store far more energy in a given mass. This sounds like a big step in the wrong direction, honestly.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131675)

By law those gas stations must provide free air to any paying customer.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (1)

JeremyALogan (622913) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131700)

By law where? I've never heard of this. Why do some stations not have air at all? Why do some charge? I'd like to see this backed up with somehting.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131714)

kalifornia.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (4, Informative)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131727)

California auto stations are required to provide [ca.gov] compressed air, water, and a gauge for measuring air pressure to any paying customers at their station. They can be fined if their pumps do not work correctly for more than 5 consecutive days.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (1)

myowntrueself (607117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131799)

"California auto stations are required to provide ... to any paying customers at their station."

So one could buy, say, a single packet of cigarette papers and fill up with all the compressed air you like?

Re:Say goodbye to free air (1)

JeremyALogan (622913) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131829)

Now see... that's an informative post. I would still argue with the OP though... He said "By law those gas stations must provide free air to any paying customer" and that is not the case everywhere.

Re:Say goodbye to free air (2, Informative)

Rii (777315) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131830)

I live in California, and the gas station nearest my house has an air compressor and water dispenser (for radiators), and it costs $.50 to use. The air hose has a guague, but it's crappy.

Your local station's pump isn't nearly enough (3, Informative)

joetheappleguy (865543) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131693)

The high pressure tank in that vehicle is charged to 300bar, or 4350psi.

That's higher than a SCUBA tank and it requires some heavy duty air compressor rigs to charge it.

I'd hate to be anywhere around that car in a crash or if it catches fire...

Re:Your local station's pump isn't nearly enough (2, Insightful)

Harassed (166366) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131822)

Yeah. Compressed air would be far more dangerous than 60 litres of highly flammable liquid or compressed liquid petroleum gas or even hydrogen (think of the Hindenberg!)


What are they thinking?

:)

I've got (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131618)

a lot of compressed air that I need to let out right now...

Entertain the rest of us (1)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131639)

www.farts.com [farts.com]

(coming from a forum member)

PHEV? (1)

paughsw (620959) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131619)

PHEV? More like PHEW when you finally make it up a steep hill

Let's get this out of the way. (0, Offtopic)

rhennigan (833589) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131623)

Not in my backyard. Compressed air tanks can EXPLODE!

Re:Let's get this out of the way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131636)

yes, it is really inflamable!

Re:Let's get this out of the way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131672)

No, he's saying that they explode. Not that they can't explode.

Are you serious? I'll assume you are... (4, Funny)

cfalcon (779563) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131638)

I hear they're almost as volatile as tanks filled with explosive refined hydrocarbons!

Re:Are you serious? I'll assume you are... (2, Insightful)

FluffyPanda (821763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131674)

I believe they are actually rather more dangerous. Compressed air tanks are inherently prone to explosions when damaged. You get a little hole in your petrol tank, you'll lose your petrol and run a risk of fire if you catch a spark. A hole in a compressed air tank equals instant explosion.

Remember, life isn't like hollywood, not every car crash ends in a massive petrol explosion (or four... how many tanks do they keep in those cars?), but these compressed air tanks sound like shrapnel waiting to be flung.

there are propane powered buses (1)

Vitriolix (660279) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131706)

there are city buses and trucks powered with propane, which would be much more dangerous than compressed air, somehow those are street legal.

Re:there are propane powered buses (1)

Rakishi (759894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131750)

Trucks and buses vs cars...hmmm...nope no difference at all in terms of damage during accidents.

No, they're not. (5, Informative)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131751)

Lots of cars and vans in the UK and EU are powered by LPG. They're not dangerous. The tank can't burst, and there is a check valve on the outlet regulator block similar to the valve on the gas meter in your house that prevents gas escaping if the outlet is left open.


They are far safer in a fire, too. If there is an overpressure in the cylinder, the gas is slowly vented, where it burns. With a petrol tank, as the fuel heats up the pressure rises until the tank bursts (because they're either plastic or thin steel).

Still energy (5, Insightful)

Zorilla (791636) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131626)

But does it take more electricity to compress the air into the tank than it does to just run the car on electric power? Sounds like just another degree of separation from energy we'll be getting from oil, anyway.

Re:Still energy (5, Funny)

FluffyPanda (821763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131643)

Not in china, there you can pay 20 small children and a man with a whip to squeeze balloons all day for less than the cost of a sack of coal.

Re:Still energy (0)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131685)

You're kidding, right? Those air bottles are pressurized to 300 bar.

Re:Still energy (5, Funny)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131720)

Really strong children.

Re:Still energy (2, Funny)

FluffyPanda (821763) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131826)

You're kidding, right? Those air bottles are pressurized to 300 bar.

Right.

*Rolls eyes*

Re:Still energy (5, Interesting)

homer_ca (144738) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131699)

Yes, but it might be cheaper than a pure electric car because they they can get away with a less powerful motor and power controller. The motor charges up the air tank when the car is idling or braking. Then the compressed air is used for short bursts of extra power when needed like accelerating or climbing hills. Otherwise it's just like a battery electric car with a heavy, expensive battery pack.

Re:Still energy (1)

CrabbMan (724775) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131702)

It doesn't seem to say in the article, but I would imagine that the air could be compressed using the electric engine while the car wasn't in use (or perhaps even while going downhill). Electric engines have the disadvantage of having little power, so a bit of that compressed air can come in handy when you need that extra boost. I doubt that this will be the next big thing, but it's always encouraging to see another alternative to gasoline engines.

Re:Still energy (5, Informative)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131795)

Electric engines have the disadvantage of having little power. . .

Beg pardon? Not to mention the fact that their torque curves are the stuff that give drag racers wet dreams.

The only disadvantage electric motors have over combustion engines of any kind is, well, that they run on electricity, which has to come from somewhere.

Which turns out to be rather inconvenient.

The compressed air booster is just one way of finding some sort of dodge around the whole battery issue, and I'm not convinced it's a good one. A true hybrid seems a better solution to me, although it lacks the politically correct advantage of hiding its energy use and emissions from public view.

Bear in mind that I'm actually quite fond of compressed gas engines and have actually built a few small ones, just for my personal enjoyment and edification, but I haven't, outside of the realm of entertainment, found any problem for which they are the solution.

KFG

caveat (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131824)

". . .but I haven't, outside of the realm of entertainment, found any problem for which they are the solution."

Perhaps I spoke too loosely there, loosely enough that someone is likely to upbraid me for it,so I'll point out that one of the things that led me to play around with compressed gas engines in the first place was that they have certain advantages in highly specialized applications, such as the need to operate a motor within a combustable gas.

KFG

think long term (1)

Vitriolix (660279) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131755)

there are huge benefits of decoupling the direct use of energy from the use of petroleum. 1) efficiency: large power production facilities are much, much more efficient than small power plants (like car engines) 2) upgradability: if there is new exhaust cleaning technology invented, its much easier to upgrade central plants than millions of indiviual cars, and ther is a transiition path to large scale alternative power sources like solar towers, wave power, geothermal, nuclear, whatever. 3) cleaning air of urban environments: people in inner cities have really high rates of asthma from all the particulate matter thrown into the air in car exhaust.

Re:think long term (2, Insightful)

Monkelectric (546685) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131778)

You forgot the real reason -- that it looks like (after 40 years of speculation), that we may finally be at Peak Oil may have finally happened -- and that we might be in for one of the largest societal changes in the history of man.

Re:think long term (1, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131814)

I'm for that. Dropping oil because it's expensive (and sooner or later it will be) is a lot better reason than dropping oil because we care more about vague environmental dangers than we do about human prosperity. Frankly, I think peak of oil production is at least ten years in the future (though not much more). A lot depends on how much oil reserves in OPEC countries have been distorted and how much new oil can be discovered and exploited. The current price of oil, adjusted for inflation has gone up. This may indeed be the peak. But I expect oil will stabalize at a new level until reserves available at that price start to get depleted.

Re:Still energy (2, Interesting)

qewl (671495) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131783)

My question is why does the engine still look like a gasoline engine with compression chambers, pistons, cylinders, and the works? Is that just like some clipart, or am I completely missing something?

Re:Still energy (2, Informative)

qewl (671495) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131811)

Okay, the compressed air tank powers the engine, which works like a hydrogen powered engine which requires compression. The electric motor is relatively small and only used in certain low power requiring situations.

Re:Still energy (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131827)

Why does this type of comment end up in every alternative energy thread, and get modded up as 'Insightful'?

Centralizing the energy generation can take advantage of (a) economies of scale for better efficiency and (b) a varied portfolio of generating sources like hydro. For electric or fuel cell cars, this allows you to take advantage of the network effect of everyone already having electric wires as a means of transporting energy. I agree, compressed air is a bit silly b/c of its poor energy storage, but to knock it because of off-site production is simply wrong.

In this era of high oil prices, why are people so quick to complain about any alternative fuel?

If rapid depressurization is any indication... (2, Funny)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131629)

...this thing is gunna be loud.

Re:If rapid depressurization is any indication... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131689)

> rapid depressurization (..)

Just pretend it's a huge dump valve :)

New? (4, Informative)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131633)

Havn't they had something like this comercialy avalible in France for a while IIRC? Its has a ridiculously strong carbon fiber airtank that's presurised at home by a compressor using off the grid electricity. Its basically a small comuter car, but it has decent range and speed.

Re:New? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131656)

IIRC Top Gear reported on that car once. It was noisy, slow and had short range.

Re:New? (1)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131716)

Havn't they had something like this comercialy avalible in France for a while IIRC? Its has a ridiculously strong carbon fiber airtank that's presurised at home by a compressor using off the grid electricity. Its basically a small comuter car, but it has decent range and speed.

No, this is a hybrid that charges itself. RTFM, etc.

At some point I read that Ford was considering a hybrid pneumatic system for their heavy trucks. Braking would charge a cylinder which would later be used to drive acceleration, cutting out the dirty work of bringing a truck up to cruising speed. Wish I could find a reference.

Perfect for us! (5, Funny)

Dancin_Santa (265275) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131634)

This website provides the perfect fuel for this car.

But I'm probably just repeating the first several dozen comments...

It all sounds (0, Redundant)

Jason Mitcheson (837556) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131637)

like hot air to me!

Wrong conversion (4, Insightful)

evn (686927) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131646)

when its speed reaches 20-25 km/h (32-40 mi/h).

The car swtiches to electric when it reaches 25 km/hr according to the Energine website which is actually more like 15 miles per hour [google.com] .

Re:Wrong conversion (1)

fizze (610734) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131705)

who knows, if it uses compressed air, maybe it also uses compressed time ;)

Re:Wrong conversion (2, Funny)

KinkifyTheNation (823618) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131785)

You mean "kompressed" time

Don't Crash! (5, Funny)

nacturation (646836) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131648)

From the manual:

"Should you find yourself approaching the state of being in an accident, please yourself to duck so as to avoid looking at your previously attached body before the shrapnel took off your head." (Safety tips, Appendix A, P.232)

Nothing But Hot Air (5, Interesting)

pressesc (873084) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131649)

Here [pressesc.com] is another take on the same story, but with a little bit more science. The bottom line is there's no such thing as free energy... or lunch. You don't get owt for nowt. CNN needs to learn science

Re:Nothing But Hot Air (1)

Feztaa (633745) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131816)

You don't get owt for nowt.

I'm not sure that anybody was claiming you could get an OverWeight Truck for neat cattle [ncl.ac.uk] . Perhaps you meant "aught for naught"?

Two sides to every story... (3, Insightful)

SSChicken (872688) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131660)

First off, like someone said, that the energy it takes to compress the air can be inefficient and still polute the air if the energy to compress came from fossil fuels/coal. Secondly, while it is an "Engineering Marvel" to drive up a hill using compressed air, it's very dangerous. For any of you who have ever worked on high pressure AC systems, any pressure higher than 500psi or so can be deadly if anything at all goes wrong. It's not like a battery, where a little acid can spill if it's broken. Nor is it like gasoline, cars are built to prevent explosions, and the worst case scenario is lots of fire. If you puncture a high pressure tank or lines, you have a disaster on your hands; theres no avoiding it. Besides, the entire problem with a gas induction engine is that they are horribly inefficient anyways unless they are running at their optimal RPM.

Re:Two sides to every story... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131819)

any pressure higher than 500psi or so can be deadly if anything at all goes wrong
We've been dealing with high pressure differences since the days of Hooke.

There are a lot of things in an industrial setting that can kill you, you just need decent design and precautions to make sure it doesn't hurt people. While a typical oxygen cylinder used in oxy-acetylene cutting can blow a decent sized crater in a concrete floor and take out the building above, it's a very unlikely occurance due to people sticking to the safety standards in manufacturing.

These things are inefficient, but you use compressed air to get smoother control or in this case to move the pollution somewhere else. With various means of energy storage you can also have your time dependant generation and use it to charge them up when the power is available - so tidal, wind etc. looks a lot better, and conventional energy is more efficient with constant output, so charge these things up off the peak times and even out the load.

To sum up, the capital cost is low and the technology is established - those are the advantages and why something like this is being used in the first place, despite low efficiency. It's a trade off - if we just wanted heaps of cheap energy we would be burning really crappy coal with no pollution controls and living in pea-soup fog. We don't want the pollution where we live, so there is the option to have various types of power plants with decent pollution controls outside built up areas - and furthur options like this to cut emissions in crowded areas. Stuff like this and hydrogen cars make no sense at all unless placed in the right context - stopping cities becoming pollution death traps like Victorian age London. If capital costs weren't the issue big public transport infrastucture projects would be the go.

Conversion Factors (5, Funny)

Ray Radlein (711289) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131664)

The car switches to an electric motor when its speed reaches 20-25 km/h (32-40 mi/h).

Now we know why this car keeps crashing into Mars.

Slashdot editors... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131779)

It's funny to see that the Slashdot editors do not READ the stories submitted and just accept what ever comes in. This conversion mistake is so grave, it burned my eyes when reading over them. ...Oh ... timothy...

Rocket scientists wrote this one!!!! (0, Redundant)

anagama (611277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131666)


20km/h != 32m/h
20km/h = 12.4m/h

Re:Rocket scientists wrote this one!!!! (2, Interesting)

anagama (611277) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131680)


In my (unsucessful) haste to be the first to point this error out, I missed pointing out the cause of the problem. There are roughly 1.6 km/mile. To convert km/hr to m/h, divide, do not multiply km * 1.6 (20*1.6=32).

you lost (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131733)

looking forward to the (Redundant, -1) tag

Compressed air... (1)

vidarlo (134906) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131667)

Is high torque. This means that it can take the work that electrical engines don't like, low speed high torque work. A air engine give a damn about the speed it is running at...

futility in motion (2, Interesting)

Homo Stannous (756539) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131668)

This technology will never go anywhere. I worked on a liquid nitrogen powered car at UNT, which is basically the same as this thing except the nitrogen can be stored more densely when it liquifies, at moderate pressures. Expanding the nitrogen requires a rack of heat exchangers on the roof. However, since all the energy is stored mechanically rather than chemically, the Joules/Kg is about 40x lower than than of gasoline. It's even less dense than batteries. About the only market for this technology would be indoors where exhaust fumes are not allowed. But an electric vehicle would do better.

Our car was a VW bug, had 9 hp, got 1/3 mpg in the summer, and once reached 30 mph.

Re:futility in motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131732)

RTFA. Primary energy storage is a battery, the compressed air is for short bursts and is the supply is generated on board. Thus, the energy capacity of the compressed air needs to only be enough to get up to speed or up a long hill.

Adding an extra step for efficency loss makes sens (1, Redundant)

frovingslosh (582462) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131670)

From The FA: "The air is compressed using a small motor, powered by a 48-volt battery, which powers both the air compressor and the electric motor." and "The system eliminates the need for fuel,..."

Oh yea, this makes sense, because we all know you get more energy by first compressing air with a battery and then using it to power a motor than you would by powering the motor with the batter directly. Right. And it's not dangerous at all haveing a high pressure air tank sitting in a hot car that sits in the sun, all scuba divers know that. And the inches of travel that you'll manage to get out of any such system if the tank actually fits in a car makes this so worth while.

Does no one think before publishing this stuff???

Re:Adding an extra step for efficency loss makes s (-1, Flamebait)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131709)

Quit being stupid, the compressed air is for when you need more strength than your electric motor will provide.

Re:Adding an extra step for efficency loss makes s (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131734)

this is going to be much safer than the compressed propane tanks that are in city buses... and fricken BBQ grills all over the world. you are blowing (har har) this way out of proportion. as to why compressed air, if you read their site you would see that this compressed air engine gets double the power electric motors. as to emissions, if you centralise power production you get enormous efficiency and air quality boosts.

Units error? (0, Redundant)

TWX (665546) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131673)

"The car switches to an electric motor when its speed reaches 20-25 km/h (32-40 mi/h)." Isn't that conversion factor waaay off? I thought kilometers were something near three fifths of a mile, so 20km/h would be something just above 15MPH...

Shameless Joke (2, Funny)

Elenthalion (854567) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131690)

Man, this gives a new meaning to the phrase "passing gas" ;-)

you mean... (1)

torrents (827493) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131692)

the average person isn't willing to put their life at risk to try and "save the environment"... what a surprise...

32 - 40 mi/h? (0, Redundant)

Purifier (782794) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131694)

Please divide the kph values by 1.6 instead of multiplying it to get the correct mph results! ;)

Flux capicitor optional? (3, Funny)

EdZ (755139) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131696)

It switches to electric at 25, what happens at 80?

Good for torque (1)

nickovs (115935) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131697)

If you can find a good way to store the compressed gas this is an excellent idea. Expansion engines like this air engine (and steam engines) produce maximum torque at zero RPM, which is perfect for pulling away from a standstill without the complexity of a clutch and a gearbox, whereas internal combustion engines (and turbines) need to be turning quite a bit before they produce and torque.

As always: what's the power density? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131698)

The tank contains 40 liters of oxygen at 300 bar. According to the specs, it'll run 130~150 times for 3~4 sec. Best case that's 600 s = 10 minutes. Which is pretty awful for 60 kg of added weight.

Re:As always: what's the power density? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131820)

On the other hand, there is no need to build a cooling system, fuel tank, spark plugs or silencers. Oh, and are you sure that they use oxygen instead of air? Air is less dangerous in case of fire.

Where's the savings? (1)

pair-a-noyd (594371) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131708)

It takes a LOT of energy to compress air.
And an air tank can't possibly hold enough air to power a compressed air motor for more than a few seconds.

MAYBE, if the air were liquefied, it might be feasible but still, the energy consumbed to liquefy the air would negate any possible savings that the vehicle would hope to achieve.

Sorry, I don't buy it..

ehhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131713)

34 posts and no references to the elderly in Korea?

What is this site coming to!

I demand some form of witty meme regurgitation!

No kidding (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131744)

I have to turn to competitors like Time Magazine [wikipedia.org] for my occasional goatse fix. Slashdot trolling is dying.

Why bother? (1)

hcdejong (561314) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131715)

The air engine is only used to accellerate the car from a standstill, and from TFA:
"EV usually needs 30(A) of electrical current on driving and it consumpts 3~4 times more by starting or go up a hill."
Getting past 'All your base', they're doing all this to get past the high initial power requirements of a pure electric vehicle. IDK if the weight and complexity penalty is worth it, though.

French (3, Informative)

deafff (604798) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131718)

There are french cars that run completely on compressed air around for years.

http://www.gizmo.com.au/go/3523/ [gizmo.com.au]

slashdot, wake the fsck up.

Re:French (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131772)

They cant wake up.

That would detract from shooting down ideas published by people way way smarter than the general slashdot public.

Its funny to see people claiming stuff so sure they are right. and knowing nothing about what they are talking about.

Great entertainment!

Hint: I just insulted you all for being such geeks. And dumb geeks at that.

Ideal second and third world city vehicle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131721)

No, you won't be seeing such cars in western countries. We would use higher tech subsidies to allow for powering bigger vehicles.

But it is ideal for countries where the bike is being replaced with small cars and smog is becoming a problem. All you need is a left wing city council who says no to personal petrol vehicles to reduce the smog, and these tiny compressed air vehicles will take the that market by storm as its the cheapest alternative.

Incorrect conversion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131729)

Since when did 20-25 km/h approx to 32-40 mi/h?
It would be 12-15 mi/h.

this is true but it will never work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131736)

its true but will never work. it takes way more energy to compress the air. then you have liquid co2 or nitrogen or other things others will suggest. it wont work. it costs more. be easier to just stomp your own palm oil and use a diesel

Not the first Aircar... (1)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131737)

Well, I've been keeping my eyes on thse guys for quite a while.

http://www.theaircar.com/index.html [theaircar.com]

in fact, I even think I got the link... here?

seems to be a better choice, given higher speeds on pure air, and the possibility for a hybrid engine, a low pricetag and yadda yadda.

Check it out, I've signed myself on the wishlist.

Re:Not the first Aircar... (1)

phobonetik (522196) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131759)

What's the point of having a hybrid when the AirCar seems to operate perfectly just on air? (And it also purifies the air). Actually, I've always been skeptical about the AirCar... I presumed if it really was legitimate, it would have proliferated and been covered extensively by the media. (Or are we to think the oil companies are keeping it quiet until we finally run out of oil?)

Re:Not the first Aircar... (1)

Havenwar (867124) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131794)

The point of having a hybrid is distance traveled. Anything above 20-30 miles (IIRC) will make you happy you do not rely entirely on air.

It takes a four hour recharge if you use electricity, and a four minute one if you find a gas-station that sells compressed air at the right pressure. Since the latter still doesnt exist, you'll either have to rest four hours per 20-30 miles, or use a hybrid that automagically recharges the air every time teh gaspart starts working.

i.e. a lot of frikkin miles to the gallon.

And yes, I am also suspect of it, but it is still worthy of a checkup and a sign... Non binding, just gets info when (if) it gets done.

Lets just say that with the major competition them oil companies dish out, startups like this is inherently slow and painful.

And I am sure they HAVE been covered by the media... in whatever country they originate.. I think it was spain. Until they actually roll on our streets no swedish media will more than mention them as a curiosity.

Re:Not the first Aircar... (2, Interesting)

sxpert (139117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131800)

the dude that invented that vehicle (Guy Nègre, whom that I talked to at the paris car show a couple years ago) received death threats from unknown people that called him at night and stuff...

Come on, READ the article. (4, Informative)

ihavnoid (749312) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131738)

This compressed air engine isn't directly related to a environment-friendly fuel. The fuel of the car itself isn't compressed air - it's electricity, the battery. Electric cars, or hybrid cars, have the problem that they can't obtain high torque instantly. However, compressed air does give high torque. The idea is to store compressed air in a tank, and use it as a booster when high torque is needed. The air will be compressed later on with another compressor.

Now, combine the compressed air engine with an hybrid car. You get an hybrid car with instant high torque when needed.

Old News (2, Interesting)

pklong (323451) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131740)

This is old news. The Frenchies have been there and done it [bbc.co.uk] .

It's even been tried in African [bbc.co.uk] (same company).

The company's own website seems to have gone. I would be suprised if this wasn't because the company has also gone out of business.

Why does it only get on Slashdot when it's an American company?

Re:Old News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#12131793)

Did you even read the *post*? It's a Korean company.

Don't say anything logical regarding efficiency (1)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131742)

If you say anything logical regarding effiency (A power plant running diesel, to power an air compressor, to power a car, which then generates electricity, to run an electric engine). The Slashdot thought police will get you.

decimal system - slashdot 1-0 (0, Redundant)

incuso (747340) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131747)

1 mph = 1,6 km/h not viceversa ;)

Nitrogen cars (1)

asciimonster (305672) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131766)

This idea isn't particularly new. There are several prototype cars which run on liquid [unt.edu] nitrogen [findlay.co.uk] .

P.S. The speeds mentioned in the post are probably switched.
The car switches to an electric motor when its speed reaches 32-40 km/h (20-25 mi/h).
But I guess you figured that one out already... ;-)

Same car, car, one year ago, in France (2, Informative)

VDM (231643) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131774)

We had great news of this kind in Europe exaclty one year ago, but at the end card didn't show up in our roads. News in Italian: http://www.ecotrasporti.it/eolo.html [ecotrasporti.it]
Site of the company in English: http://www.theaircar.com/Lucerne.html [theaircar.com]

compressed air car (1)

sxpert (139117) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131776)

another (small and under the radar) company also has a working 100% air powered car that can either be refilled by plugging it in, or with a high pressure external compressor that could be found at gas stations:

see

http://www.theaircar.com [theaircar.com]

Units are the problem... (3, Insightful)

TigerX (859482) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131796)

The author of the post got the units backwards...

The line should read:

The car switches to an electric motor when its speed reaches 20-25 mi/h (32-40 km/h).

It's probably already obsolete (3, Interesting)

panurge (573432) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131798)

If the Toshiba announcement about a better traction battery is correct. Electric motors can have practically an ideal torque/rpm curve, but the current demands for high starting torque are a problem. The holy grail is a battery which has effectively an enormous surface to the electrodes without corresponding fragility, and so can be quickly recharged and discharged. (Traction batteries currently have a long service life but relatively slow charge and discharge. Starter batteries have a fast discharge for starting but are fragile and do not deep discharge well). Such a battery would completely supersede the inefficient compress air/decompress air cycle. So whichever compressed air tools division of this Korean manufacturer came up with this job preservation scheme - forget it and retrain as battery engineers.

Some car innovation at last (1)

bensch (261884) | more than 9 years ago | (#12131810)

At least some people are trying new car ideas instead of critizing or promoting out dated SUVs.

I think this idea is great (assuming the air tanks don't explode...)

Ben
PS. Funny how not one new innovative idea has come out of Detroit since the EV1. Fuck the big 3...
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