In 1932, J.M. Custer of Piggott, Arkansas had an idea for a car that would run on compressed air. He not only built the car, but it actually ran. He used an engine that resembled a radial airplane motor in appearance. It was mounted upright in the same space occupied by gasoline motors in standard cars. Four tanks filled with compressed air powered the car 500 miles at a speed of 35 miles an hour. The engine did not require a cooling system, ignition system, carburetor, nor the hundreds of moving parts included in a standard gasoline motor.
The technology didn’t attract much interest for 75 years. But it’s resurfacing, using today’s high technology.
A research and development company called Magnetic Air Cars, Inc. is developing an air-powered prototype car in Silicon Valley. They believe that their design will be sufficient to power a modern new vehicle, or retrofit a used vehicle -- even a large SUV or truck.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the idea of making a car that could run on something as innocuous as air or water seemed completely preposterous. But fortunately, things do change, albeit slowly.
While the Magnetic Air Car is the first to combine a magnetic motor with an air compressor, there are other cars close to commercial production utilizing the compressed air technology.
The Air Car, by Luxembourg-based Moteur Developement Int. (MDI) also runs on compressed air, and, according to a January article in the MIT publication Technology Review, the Air Car is already set to go into commercial production. MDI has struck a deal with India’s largest carmaker, Tata Motors, to put the non-polluting vehicles on the streets of India sometime this year.
The MDI Air Car may also offer up some healthy competition against the Magnetic Air Car here in the U.S.
According to an article in Popular Mechanics, Zero Pollution Motors -- the U.S. licensee for MDI -- expects to produce the world’s first air-powered car for the United States by late 2009 or early 2010.
Folks, this is a much better option than a hybrid or electric car, which literally envelopes you in strong electromagnetic fields. Best of all, it has NO EMISSIONS whatsoever.
We are simply running out of excuses for not converting to safer (and cheaper!), renewable energy sources that don’t turn the Earth into a toxic waste dump with every mile we drive.