Compressed Air Car is Coming by Elise Thiel
For more than a century the automobile has been burning vast quantities of petroleum based fuel, polluting the air, creating greed and wars over oil. Electric cars have zero emissions where they are being driven, but coal, hydro or nuclear power plants produce the electricity on which they run and themselves cause pollution and problems for our planet. So, what’s the solution to gas guzzling, carbon emitting engines?
The compressed air engine has been invented, finely tuned and will be available here in the U.S. in two years from Tata manufacturers of India. Yes, the engine is driven by large compressed air tanks built into the chasse. See the Earth Times article www.fashionfunky.com/2008/02/tata_air_coming_to_usa_by.php and watch the short video showing the inventors, how the engine runs and the vision they have for this wonderful car.
According to the video and articles I’ve read the car can run up to 80 mph with a distance of 125mi before the tanks need compressing. A built-in compressor allows you to do it yourself at home, but takes a few hours. A compression station can fill the tanks in only three minutes, $2.00 of electricity and you’re on your way again. The cars are a contemporary style and will sell for about $15,000.
I wrote to Governor Kulongowski here in Oregon encouraging him to be the first state to import the car, have compressed air stations, teach mechanics how to work on them, give tax rebates to buyers and even become the first state to franchise a manufacturing plant. I envisioned compressed air stations up I-5 and in every town. Sure we’ll have to stop a few times for air on our way across the state, but for a zero emissions car we’ll all be proud to make a minor life-style change. Right?
However, my biggest concern is the oil lobbyists suppressing the technology. The most recent article I’ve read proves some alteration to the original vision. You can read it at the above site. To satisfy the oil companies, the car being designed for the U.S. will be a hybrid. Driven at speeds under 35mph the car runs on compressed air. So, on the highway it will get only 37mpg. The fuel also compresses the tanks as it’s driven, so it is petrol fuel which will need to be purchased, not compressed air. But the CO2 emissions will be half that of the Prius.
I admit to being disappointed, but oil companies certainly will hold on until the bitter end. The good news is that the compressed air car is on its way, however modified, and reading about it has helped me feel hopeful for the planet and all its inhabitants, and happy for the inevitable, positive changes about to take place here on earth.
“All i can say about myself is that i’m an environmental activist, RN and good news seeker.” Elise can be reached at: [email protected]