Anyone interested in a car that costs $3 to fill up, goes 125 miles between fill-ups and does not emit any pollution? Oh yeah, and it only costs about $7000. Any takers? The BBC reported this weekend that French company MDI has signed an agreement with innovative Indian automaker Tata Motors to begin production of just such a vehicle. The car, designed by a former Formula One engineer, is a completely rethought-out vision of the automobile, and uses compressed air to propel itself. Other interesting features include brake power recovery and an exhaust pipe that emits clean air. The first few models should be available in India and in Europe by the end of 2008. In the future, the body of the car may be created out of hemp fibre and coated with natural varnishes.
The compressed air-propelled "Mini CAT".
Meanwhile, Tata Motors, is planning to unveil the world's cheapest car during the coming week in New Delhi. The "Peoples' Car," priced at around $2500, will initially be marketed to Indian's rapidly expanding middle class, but may soon conquer other developing markets.
Of course, a car is still a car. Even an air car needs an electric engine to compress the air it runs on, and is made out of materials will require plenty of energy to produce. However, if successful, the air car could prove more treehuggable than the electric car. If these concepts catch on, expect it to affect car prices and efficiency worldwide. Who knows, you may even see a few of the little buggies next time you're stuck in traffic.