AIR CAR SET TO ENTER INDIA
Monday, 06.30.2008, 12:16am (GMT-7)
India Post News Service
NEW DELHI: With environment on everyone's mind, fuel prices shooting and global warming hitting economies eco-friendly cars are ruling the day. They have become the hot item in the eyes of the public and more importantly the green item. One such car which uses compressed air as fuel is the "Air car." French company "Moteur Development International" (MDI) has researched and developed the MiniC.A.T .
Tata Motors, India's largest automobile company, has signed an agreement with MDI for application in India of MDI's engine technology, and believes the engine is viable - It's press statement describes it as "efficient, cost-effective, scalable, and capable of other applications such as power generation". The MiniCAT could cost around $ 8177 in India and would have a range of around 300 km between refuels.
The cost of a refill would be about $ 2. Although there is no official word on when the car will be manufactured in India, report says it will be sooner than later. Tata motors will also launch the world's cheapest car, Tata Nano for $2500 by October, in India. The MiniC.A.T which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fibreglass powered by compresed air. Microcontrollers 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. Most importantly, it is incredibly cost-efficient. According to the designers, it costs less than one Euro per 100Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car has a top speed of 68 mph. 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 $2.3, the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometres.
As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4 hours. Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 50,000Km.] The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0-15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.
Zero Pollution Motors(ZPM) expects to produce the world's first air-powered car for the United States by late 2009 or early 2010. As the US licensee for Luxembourg-based MDI, which developed the Air Car, ZPM has attained rights to build the first of several modular plants, which are likely to begin manufacturing in the Northeast and grow for regional production around the country. And while ZPM is also licensed to build MDI's two-seater OneCAT economy model (the one headed for India) and three-seat MiniCAT (like a SmartForTwo without the gas), the New Paltz, NY, startup is aiming bigger, company officials want to make the first air-powered car to hit US roads a $17,800, 75-hp equivalent, six-seat modified version of MDI's CityCAT that is said to travel as far as 1000 miles at up to 96 mph with each tiny fill-up. Another car gaining popularity because of its features is the Mercedes-Benz Smart.
To date, over 900,000 smart vehicles have been sold in 36 other countries throughout the world. In January 2008, the United States became the 37th country to sell the Smart Fortwo. The models available in the United States are the smart fortwo pure coupe (entry-level), the smart fortwo passion coupe (well-equipped) and the smart fortwo passion cabriolet (well-equipped convertible). The smart fortwo ranges from $11,590 to $16,590. The most fascinating feature is that one can book this car for just $99.
The top speed of the smart fortwo is 90 mph (Electronically limited). Protecting the environment, energy efficiency and preservation of natural resources are hallmarks of smart brand. For example; only water-soluble paints are used for the Smart's three basic colors - black, white and yellow. Painting of the tridion safety cell is done by the powder-coating process. This removes the need for solvents.
The body panels with molded-in color are fully recyclable. Environmental management is a high priority. Smart is dedicated to protecting the environment with future focused recycling and an environmental policy that makes a strong statement.
The smart fortwo is also classified as an Ultra-Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) on account of its extremely low exhaust emissions. The catalytic converter is positioned close to the engine for a quick response. An electric pump blows fresh air into the exhaust port when the engine is cold to almost completely oxidize the carbon monoxide (CO) and hydrocarbons (HC) and render them harmless.