The Air Car is Here! Sort of…

Adam Eisman - Contributing Writer
Posted on Sunday 31st May 2009
A company specializing in Air Cars has recently landed a contract to use its vehicles at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam. The cars will be used to ferry passengers between departure gates instead of the usual golf cart-like vehicle that one normally sees buzzing around the departure concourse. Motor Development International and its owner, Guy Negre, have been toying with air cars for over two decades now, but have not progressed farther than some interesting prototypes. The company has interest from Tata Motors, India’s largest Automobile producer, as well as an American Company called Zero Emissions Motors. The Air Car that will be in the field at the two busy airports will run solely on air with a single piston. The car weighs about 450 pounds and is about 6 feet long. Its tank holds about 175 liters of compressed air, and can refill in as little as 90 seconds. The tank size allows the car to travel 135 miles on one tank of air, and at speeds upwards of 40 miles per hour. The company itself is not in the business of producing cars directly, but has licensing agreements with Tata Motors and Zero Emissions Motors to bring the Air Car to consumers by 2010 or 2011. However, skepticism is very healthy in the Air Car industry. With continuing delays in production, as well as preliminary estimates (top speed of 90 miles per hour and a travel distance of 848 miles on one tank) being a little too unbelievable, the technology does not seem to be ready for the big stage. While the use of Air Cars at airports is a step in the right direction, it does say something about the viability of the technology that after all this time the Air Car is only being instituted to fill a very small niche. Time will tell whether Air Cars will ever be worth the time for widespread consumption.

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