All you need to know about compressed air car

With the world’s gas prices continuing to rise, many are wondering if there are other alternatives to fossil fuels. Tesla and other electric car makers are already trying to meet the need for improved emissions, lower energy costs, and a better environment, but is there a better way?

One unique solution to this problem is the air we breathe, literally. The pneumatic car is a technology you may not have heard of, but it produces a different experience for the zero-emission cars of the future.

Related: The truth about hydrogen as an alternative fuel

What is compressed air car all about?

AirPod car display
Via: Wikimedia Commons

While air is partly responsible for how an internal combustion engine works, it still needs fuel to be burned. This creates energy to move the pistons, which then translates into moving the wheels.

There is more than that, but the basic principle is there. What makes the pneumatic car different is that it does not require any fuel. By compressing the air in the tank, the stored air will be released which can then move the pistons, shaft, and then wheels.

Advantages of compressed pneumatic car

The main benefit of a pressurized car is that it causes absolutely no pollution from the exhaust pipes. There is no fuel burned to move the pistons in the engines, so they are theoretically some of the cleanest cars.

Because compressed air cars are designed to be extremely lightweight, they will be able to travel much longer distances with less energy. Since the compressed air tank will be the main source of fuel in this vehicle, filling the tank will be very cost effective.

If you’ve ever worked with compressed air, you’ll know that compressors aren’t that expensive to run. With much less pollution and cheaper running costs, the pneumatic car looks like a real possibility of the future.

Compressed air car cons

The pneumatic car produces a lot of potential benefits, but there are many drawbacks to this technology. The first is speed. A compressed air vehicle can only achieve speeds of around 35 mph, which is simply not fast enough for most consumers who need at least 60 mph.

For a pneumatic vehicle to be a viable solution, it would need some type of internal combustion engine or hybrid electric system to be implemented at high speeds. While this would still be more efficient, it still caused contamination.

Then there is the issue of refilling the tanks. You could have an air compressor in the car, but this would require some type of fuel source, be it fossil fuels, hydrogen, or an electric motor.

If you just have a compressed air tank in the car, you will have to implement some kind of gas station network that can speed up the process with high pressure air pumps to refuel the air tanks. Refueling in compressed air at home can take several hours, which is not bad compared to recharging an electric car overnight.

A pneumatic car sounds like a great idea in theory, but the implementation in its current form likely won’t work. People want performance and comfort in their transportation. Until technology improves, consumers are more likely to buy fully electric or hybrid cars or just stick to their internal combustion engine vehicles.

compressed air cars for sale

compact cars
Via: Motor Development International SA, YouTube

Although there is a lot of excitement regarding pneumatic cars, there are only a handful of cars that will ever see the light of day. Zero Pollution Motors has produced the AIRPod 2.0 compact pneumatic car. This appears to be the most popular pneumatic car on the market.

Priced at just over $10,000, the AIRPod could be an excellent alternative to more expensive all-electric vehicles.

The AIRPod can achieve city speeds of about 20-30 miles per hour with a range of about 100 miles per tank of compressed air. In order to refill the tank, you can take the car to a gas station air compressor and refill it in three minutes.

However, it appears that their website has not been updated since 2019. If you are interested in purchasing an AIRPod, you can contact Zero Pollution Motors on their website.

Related: Here’s How Automakers Plan To Get Zero Emissions In The Next Several Years

Other clean fuel source cars

2018 Tesla Model S in red
Source: Wikipedia

While a pneumatic car is a great idea, it may not have the practical applications and comfort that people want in their daily lives. Here are a couple of clean fuel source alternatives that offer more power, convenience, and overall practicality. Electric cars have a huge advantage over compressed air cars, especially in terms of performance. Vehicles like the Tesla Model 3 and Ford Mustang Mach-E are zero-emissions vehicles in operation, but still have a decent carbon footprint.

Not only do you need to burn fossil fuels to charge the batteries (unless you have solar panels), but there is also the problem of building and maintaining the batteries. Once the batteries die, they must be disposed of properly. The chemicals in batteries are highly toxic and polluting.

However, people tend to overlook environmental issues related to the use of batteries in electric cars since the Tesla Model 3 became the best-selling model in Europe in 2021.

Toyota Mirai hydrogen car
Source: Wikipedia

Hydrogen fuel cells are another clean fuel source that has been getting some publicity lately. The reason is the release of Toyota Mirai. The car is powered by a selective engine that has hydrogen fuel cells as the main source of energy.

The main advantage of this technology is that the only waste from the system is water. Unfortunately, there are not enough refueling stations to make this a viable option at the moment. If infrastructure can catch up, it could be a solid alternative.

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