According to a report in Environmental News Network (ENN), Zero Pollution Motors is developing a vehicle that can motor around all day on nothing but air and a splash of salad oil, alcohol or possibly a pint of gasoline. The science behind building the compressed air car, or CAV, is not new as off-the-shelf technology already uses compressed air to drive old-fashioned car engine pistons instead of combusting gas or diesel fuel to create a burst of air.
The air car can tool along at a top speed of 35 mph for some 60 miles or so on a tank of compressed air, a sufficient distance for 80 percent of consumers to commute to work and back and complete daily chores.
On highways, the CAV can cruise at interstate speeds for nearly 800 miles with a small motor that compresses outside air to keep the tank filled.
The motor isn't finicky about fuel, as it will burn gasoline or diesel as well as biodiesel, ethanol or vegetable oil.
Even if it used only regular gasoline, the air car would average 106 mpg, more than double today's fuel sipping champ, the Toyota Prius.
The air tank also can be refilled when it's not in use by being plugged into a wall socket and recharged with electricity as the motor compresses air.
The vehicles will be built in factories that will make up to 8,000 vehicles a year, likely starting in 2011, and be sold directly to consumers.
There will be plants in nearly every state of the US, based on the number of drivers in the state.
While California will have as many as 17 air car manufacturing plants, there will be around 12 in Florida, eight in New York, four in Georgia, while two in Connecticut will serve that state and Rhode Island.
TATA doesn't plan to produce the cars in the US. Instead, it plans to charge 15 million dollars for the rights to the technology, a fully built turnkey auto assembly plant, tools, machinery, training and rights to use trademarks.