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Airpod, the Car That Runs on Air
Core77 ^ | 8-16-2012 | Perrin Drumm

Posted on 08/20/2012 3:29:40 AM PDT by Renfield

With gas prices rising and the massive drought making ethanol a tough sell as a gas alternative, India's Tata Motors has hit on the perfect time to debut the Airpod, a small urban vehicle that, as its name suggests, runs on air. If you don't know much about how regular cars use fuel, natural gas or, alternatively, hydrogen is compressed in a pressurized tank, hence the 'pssf' sound when you unscrew the gas cap. Now think about air rifles. If you had the bad luck to grow up with an older brother obsessed with using you as a target (or perhaps you were that older sibling yourself), you know that the air we breathe seems harmless enough, but when compressed it packs a punch. A gun is one thing, but is it enough of a punch to power a car?

Tata thinks so. They enlisted the help of MDI, an engineering company that's been developing zero pollution engines since the early 90s. The Airpod has a 175 liter storage tank of compressed air that you refill with an external pump or with an electric motor that can 'refuel' the car while its in motion. This first model reaches a top speed of 43 mph (70 km/h), making it best suited for transporting people or small goods around city streets. One tank lasts over 125 miles (200 km) and takes only two minutes to fill up again at an average price of just one euro per fill.

The Airpod has three seats for adults plus a smaller fourth seat for a child. There's even room for luggage. It only has three wheels, two doors and no steering wheel. Instead, you drive it with a joystick. MDI has the public and service sector in mind, naming runners, messengers and artisans as its target market. The Airpod, which is currently in its second phase of testing, is just one of five models MDI is developing. They're also working on a truck, sedan, convertible and bus version. Tata and MDI expects to release the Airpod commercially in the near future for $10,000.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Health/Medicine; Miscellaneous; Science; Society
KEYWORDS: aircar; airpod; cars; compressedair; compressedairvehicle; india; inventions; pollution
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1 posted on 08/20/2012 3:29:55 AM PDT by Renfield
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To: Renfield

The basic idea isn’t too bad. Although I expect that the NHTSA will nix it because of the high pressure tank that would go boom if there were an accident.


2 posted on 08/20/2012 3:41:40 AM PDT by The Working Man
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To: Renfield

Some designer wasn’t very worried about blind spots or head on collisions. It’s a Sponge Bob Dustbuster with a glass jaw, the merits of its propulsion or the lack of them notwithstanding.


3 posted on 08/20/2012 3:41:40 AM PDT by RegulatorCountry
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To: The Working Man

Compressed air is one of the most inefficient ways to store and transmit energy. There is a great amount of energy lost through heat when compressing air. I’m sure this same car run on a 2-stoke engine would be more efficient.


4 posted on 08/20/2012 3:47:07 AM PDT by Angry_White_Man_Syndrome
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To: Renfield

bflr


5 posted on 08/20/2012 3:56:04 AM PDT by Captain Beyond (The Hammer of the gods! (Just a cool line from a Led Zep song))
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To: The Working Man

Does this car come with a flower for the lapel that squirts water, large over sized shoes and a squeeze horn?


6 posted on 08/20/2012 4:06:13 AM PDT by duckman (Dr Ben Carlson: Vision Not Division.)
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To: RegulatorCountry
Well, this is India....people are dirt cheap there.
7 posted on 08/20/2012 4:13:07 AM PDT by Renfield (Turning apples into venison since 1999!)
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To: Renfield
Tata Motors, you say?

I'm pretty sure that this was their initial prototype...


8 posted on 08/20/2012 4:23:28 AM PDT by GOPmember
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To: Renfield

Old idea taken from the locomotives that used to run in mine railroads (even compressed steam would have been too dangerous). Compressed-air cars were tried, like electric cars, at the turn of the last century. What next, a revival of steam-powered automobiles too?


9 posted on 08/20/2012 4:35:50 AM PDT by Olog-hai
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To: RegulatorCountry

Meh.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkTfjUXVYks

;]


10 posted on 08/20/2012 4:36:29 AM PDT by Salamander (Snakes. It had to be snakes.)
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To: Renfield
"...a top speed of 43 mph (70 km/h)..."

False.
43 mph = 69.2018 km/h...and its not very fast.

11 posted on 08/20/2012 4:38:09 AM PDT by Tainan (Cogito, ergo conservatus sum)
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To: The Working Man
because of the high pressure tank that would go boom if there were an accident.....now you're talking 365 degree crash crash bag device! Or even better a massive “whoopee cushion”......I've got many more!!!!!
12 posted on 08/20/2012 4:39:58 AM PDT by Recon Dad (Gas & Petroleum Junkie)
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome

I agree with you that compressed air is a very inefficient energy storage medium. But since the objective for India is to get air pollution under control in their cities I don’t think that a 2-stroke engine is the way to go. 2-strokes are very polluting because of the unburned fuel that is exhausted on each cycle of the piston.

2-strokes are inefficient and dirty compared to 4-strokes but do have a power to weight advantage.


13 posted on 08/20/2012 4:40:02 AM PDT by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: GOPmember

LOL


14 posted on 08/20/2012 4:40:02 AM PDT by phockthis (http://www.supremelaw.org/fedzone11/index.htm ...)
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To: Renfield

“an electric motor that can ‘refuel’ the car while its in motion”

Bunk. How does it manage that? By trailing an extension cord?

The basic scientific illiteracy of today’s reporters is breathtaking.


15 posted on 08/20/2012 4:46:36 AM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: FreedomPoster

Probably carries batteries to power the electric compressor to refill the air tank and an air powered generator to recharge the batteries. Excuse me now, I have to go and feed my flying pigs.


16 posted on 08/20/2012 5:04:18 AM PDT by RipSawyer (Free healthcare is worth FAR LESS than it costs.)
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To: The Working Man
The basic idea isn’t too bad.

Actually, it is a very inefficient method. Compressed air is a horribly inefficient method of energy storage. Too much energy goes into heating of the air during compression. That energy is lost.

17 posted on 08/20/2012 5:12:03 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Renfield

I saw the picture and said to myself, this must be in India. I’ll bet there are guys selling perpetual motion machines there too. They are about 50 years behind us, even with the “public gullibility” thing.


18 posted on 08/20/2012 5:14:20 AM PDT by cuban leaf (Were doomed! Details at eleven.)
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To: Renfield

Looks like a foot ball helmet with knobs on the sides.


19 posted on 08/20/2012 5:18:33 AM PDT by count-your-change (You don't have to be brilliant, not being stupid is enough.)
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To: Renfield

If this thing from India, it runs on coal. The coal is just burned someplace else.

Compressed air is the energy storage medium, not the energy source. Using a storage medium, like a battery or a compressed air tank, shifts the point of use of the energy, but it does not eliminate the need to burn coal. And, given the inefficiencies of transmitting electricity, running a generator, compressing the air and running the air piston engine, you probably have to burn a lot of coal to move this little death-trap down the road.

This thing is about as green as poorly tuned 1965 Chevy Suburban towing a horse trailer.


20 posted on 08/20/2012 5:19:38 AM PDT by Haiku Guy ("The problem with Internet Quotes is that you never know if they are real" -- Abraham Lincoln)
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To: thackney

The basic idea isn’t too bad.

Actually, it is a very inefficient method. Compressed air is a horribly inefficient method of energy storage. Too much energy goes into heating of the air during compression. That energy is lost.


Yes, but according to the article it takes two minutes to fill the air tank. Compare that to six to eight hours to recharge a battery pack. Also it gets 125 miles on average per refill. That’s also comparable to an electric car. Plus there is no need to buy an expensive battery pack when the old one dies.

So as an alternative method for storing energy for a cars propulsion it does beat electric as far as I am concerned. And I can imagine a braking method that uses a pump to put air back into the air tank. That would be similar to the regenerative braking on some electric vehicles also.

That to me makes it an idea that isn’t too bad.


21 posted on 08/20/2012 5:23:35 AM PDT by The Working Man
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To: RegulatorCountry
Some designer wasn’t very worried about blind spots or head on collisions.

The First Rule of Driving in India is that if it is behind you, it doesn't matter. Even if you are backing up, it still doesn't matter.

The Second Rule of Driving in India is that if your number is up, you number is up. So crash protection and accident avoidance are futile.

Look at the green car... It doesn't even have mirrors. They added mirrors to the orange car, because that is the Export Model!

22 posted on 08/20/2012 5:25:38 AM PDT by Haiku Guy ("The problem with Internet Quotes is that you never know if they are real" -- Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Renfield
Airpod, the Car That Runs on Air COAL

FIFY

23 posted on 08/20/2012 5:32:41 AM PDT by Haiku Guy ("The problem with Internet Quotes is that you never know if they are real" -- Abraham Lincoln)
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To: Olog-hai

The interesting thing is a lot of the regulations address internal combusion engines but not exteranl combustion enignes. That would throw tax collectors in many states for a loop.


24 posted on 08/20/2012 5:52:47 AM PDT by meatloaf (Support Senate S 1863 & House Bill 1380 to eliminate oil slavery.)
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To: The Working Man
With gas prices rising and the massive drought making ethanol a tough sell as a gas alternative, India's Tata Motors has hit on the perfect time to debut the Airpod, a small urban vehicle that, as its name suggests, runs on air.

What a lie.

This car is COAL-POWERED, just like the Volt or any other electric car.

Compressed air is only used as an energy-storage mechanism.

Count on the media to get it wrong and support the green propaganda every time.

25 posted on 08/20/2012 6:01:25 AM PDT by backwoods-engineer (My game is disruption. I will use lethal force --my vote-- in self-defense against Obama.)
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To: The Working Man
according to the article it takes two minutes to fill the air tank

To achieve those rates, you would need a large compressed storage (at least an order of magnitude larger than the fuel tank). Likely for a commercial refilling station but more expensive for a home refueling station.

it does beat electric as far as I am concerned

a top speed of 43 mph

Not to me, that doesn't. And I would like to see if the range stays that same at near top speed.

26 posted on 08/20/2012 6:01:58 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Renfield
This video discusses some of the problems mentioned above.        

Air Powered Car
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMkDU-Tc4Rw


27 posted on 08/20/2012 6:15:55 AM PDT by preacher (Communism has only killed 100 million people: Let's give it another chance!)
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To: RegulatorCountry
Some designer wasn’t very worried about blind spots or head on collisions.
On the contrary, for econazis, this is a feature: Fighting overpopulation at the same time!
28 posted on 08/20/2012 6:35:30 AM PDT by cartan
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To: The Working Man

The basic idea isn’t too bad. Although I expect that the NHTSA will nix it because of the high pressure tank that would go boom if there were an accident.

Can you imagine what the tax on compressed air would be? Or the license to own a compressor?


29 posted on 08/20/2012 6:41:31 AM PDT by chainsaw ("Two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt.")
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To: Renfield

I got a better name for it: “Isetta!”


30 posted on 08/20/2012 6:44:27 AM PDT by Little Ray (AGAINST Obama in the General.)
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To: Renfield

How can that thing be called a “car”?


31 posted on 08/20/2012 6:55:30 AM PDT by Proud2BeRight
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To: The Working Man

Although I expect that the NHTSA will nix it because of the high pressure tank that would go boom if there were an accident.


Doubt it, they allow CNG and LPG tanks. Those not only go boom but tend to create a mushroom cloud when they go boom. One thing I like about this car is the range is reasonable, the fill time is quick and most service stations (not “gas stations”) already have compressed air systems with a hose outside to fill with.


32 posted on 08/20/2012 6:59:55 AM PDT by cableguymn
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To: cableguymn
nd most service stations (not “gas stations”) already have compressed air systems with a hose outside to fill with.

An air system designed to inflate tires is NOT going to be able to fuel up this vehicle. It is going to require far more pressure than tires require.

33 posted on 08/20/2012 7:03:07 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: cableguymn

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/environment/deflating-the-air-car/0

That car requires 350 bars of pressure or over 5,000 psi.


34 posted on 08/20/2012 7:05:02 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: The Working Man

May I suggest you read:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energy/environment/deflating-the-air-car/0


35 posted on 08/20/2012 7:07:41 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: GOPmember

Tata is a big name.. They happen to own Rover (or is it Land Rover? They bought it from Ford)

Nice hood BTW.

I want a pair of Tata cars.. that way I can ask “like my tatas?”


36 posted on 08/20/2012 7:11:11 AM PDT by cableguymn
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome

I was thinking that spinning a carbon fiber disk would store more energy.


37 posted on 08/20/2012 7:12:10 AM PDT by taxcontrol
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To: RipSawyer

I was thinking they should have taken a page from Toyota’s play book and ran the compressor every time the brakes where applied.


38 posted on 08/20/2012 7:14:38 AM PDT by cableguymn
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To: Renfield

I seriously doubt that itty-bitty hose is going to be able to move that much air that fast. I don’t care how high the pressure is.

Looks like a 1/4 or 3/8 ID hose. If it’s 5000 psi it would have to be a very strong hose, so possibly the ID is even less.


39 posted on 08/20/2012 7:15:42 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: thackney

Then it must have some sort of on board booster pump. Because that looks like a standard shop air line connected to it. I have not seen one of those hoses withstand 250 PSI let alone 5000..


40 posted on 08/20/2012 7:19:21 AM PDT by cableguymn
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome

Well-designed co-generation could mitigate some of the energy inefficiency.

For instance, the waste heat from compressing the air at a central fleet facility could be used to heat water for washing the vehicles.


41 posted on 08/20/2012 7:20:35 AM PDT by Sherman Logan
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To: cableguymn

It may look like a common use air hose to you.

May I say, looks can be deceiving.

http://www.hoseandfittingsetc.com/product/hydraulic-hose/


42 posted on 08/20/2012 7:29:37 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Renfield

Here in Texas one could not stay in this thing five minutes in the summer.


43 posted on 08/20/2012 7:37:02 AM PDT by ontap
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To: Renfield

“One tank lasts over 125 miles (200 km) and takes only two minutes to fill up again at an average price of just one euro per fill. “

There’s the money line.

1 Euro = $1.23. That’s a penny a mile.

You’d have to get 370 miles per gallon of gasoline to equal that.

Zero emission (local big city).

Cool machine.


44 posted on 08/20/2012 7:45:44 AM PDT by misanthrope ("...Everybody look what's goin' down.")
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To: cableguymn
Because that looks like a standard shop air line connected to it.

May I also suggest comparing the diameter of the connector to the lug nuts or other items.

The outer diameter of the connection point is approximately the same size from outer edge of the two eyes of these people. When was the last time you saw a pneumatic connector that big around.

45 posted on 08/20/2012 7:50:13 AM PDT by thackney (life is fragile, handle with prayer)
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To: Renfield

As many have pointed out, compression of air CAN be very inefficient due to the heat generated by compression but ONLY if you throw that heat away.

DUH! In any process, if you throw away any product or byproduct, that increases the waste and lowers efficiency, so why do it!

If however, you were to retain the heat via good insulation, then a couple of things come into play. First a downside, you will reduce the effective volume of storage with the higher temperature air BUT when that air is released through the motor it will simply return to very close to the original ambient temperature before compression thus greatly increasing efficiency because the heat was not thrown away instead allowed to work for you.

Right now in most systems heat is deliberately thrown away and when the air is released through the air motor it now exits at a much, much lower temperature and in some cases can cause icing.

There are some huge energy storage systems developed and some underdevelopment which store vast amounts of compressed air for load balancing in electric generation systems. Some have even used abandoned mines. In these systems engineers are playing with the advantages of retaining the heat thus greatly increasing the efficiency with the resulting loss of storage volume (not an efficiency issue but certainly not to be ignored).

Load balancing storage for electrical generation systems is proven technology albeit in different forms. For example, Niagara Falls is near to where I live and during the night or times of low demand, water is diverted into a very large man made reservoir. When demand increases, that stored water is run down through the turbines to increase the power generated without taking more water out of the Niagara River than is allowed by agreement with the USA and Canada. As long as that large leak in Lake Erie has water we have power.

The systems I mentioned using compressed air in large volumes accomplishes the same thing but without the water.


46 posted on 08/20/2012 7:54:43 AM PDT by Wurlitzer (Nothing says "ignorance" like Islam!)
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To: ontap
Here in Texas one could not stay in this thing five minutes in the summer.

Per the article linked to in #34, the - pure air - exhaust is at -40 to -96 °F. If they run it into the cabin you may be right - you could freeze to death in there.

47 posted on 08/20/2012 8:36:44 AM PDT by Moltke ("I am Dr. Sonderborg," he said, "and I don't want any nonsense.")
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To: Angry_White_Man_Syndrome

Your post about the inefficiency is 100% correct.

From the article, “One tank lasts over 125 miles (200 km) and takes only two minutes to fill up again at an average price of just one euro per fill.”

I call Bull sh—, on their claim of 125 miles!


48 posted on 08/20/2012 9:28:25 AM PDT by cpdiii (Deckhand, Roughneck, Mud Man, Geologist, Pilot, Pharmacist. THE CONSTITUTION IS WORTH DYING FOR!)
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To: cpdiii

“I call Bull sh—, on their claim of 125 miles!”

So do I. Let’s see some hard math to prove that claim.


49 posted on 08/20/2012 9:53:30 AM PDT by TexasRepublic (Socialism is the gospel of envy and the religion of thieves)
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To: Renfield
That reminds me!
50 posted on 08/20/2012 3:02:01 PM PDT by mc5cents
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