Friday, February 15, 2008


BBC reports: [edited]

An engineer has promised that within a year he will start selling a car that runs on compressed air, producing no emissions at all in town. The OneCAT is a five-seater with a glass fibre body, weighing just 350kg and could cost just over £2,500.

It will be driven by compressed air stored in carbon-fibre tanks built into the chassis. The tanks can be filled with air from a compressor in just three minutes. Alternatively, it can be plugged into the mains for four hours and an on-board compressor will do the job.

For long journeys the compressed air driving the pistons can be boosted by a fuel burner which heats the air so it expands and increases the pressure on the pistons. The burner will use all kinds of liquid fuel.

The designers say on long journeys the car will do the equivalent of 120mpg. In town, running on air, it will be cheaper than that.

Mr Negre has been promising for more than a decade to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Independent observers are more convinced this time because he recently secured backing from the giant Indian conglomerate Tata to put the finished touches to the engine.

Tata is the only big firm he'll license to sell the car - and they are limited to India. For the rest of the world he hopes to persuade hundreds of investors to set up their own factories, making the car from 80% locally-sourced materials.

"This will be a major saving in total emissions," he says. "Imagine we will be able to save all those components travelling the world and all those transporters."

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