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Air-Powered Cars
Science Posted by CmdrTaco on Wednesday October 25, @07:45AM
from the now-there's-an-idea dept.
Azanian writes: "Here is an interesting article about a French-designed 'compressed-air' powered car being unveiled in Johannesburg (South Africa) later this week. The first of these 'alternative-energy' zero-emission cars are scheduled to roll of the production line in June 2001." It ain't a hover car, but it looks interesting (a full day's driving on 3 hours of air compression, with dramatically less power consumption). Sounds almost too good. Course the auto companies keep this out of our hands like they do with the engine powered by water *grin*.

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    Screw air cars! (Score:3, Funny)
    by electricmonk (snotr0cket@REMOVEhome.com) on Wednesday October 25, @07:47AM EST (#1)
    (User #169355 Info)
    I'm gonna invent myself a wind up car! Then we will see who has the better alternative energy source...

    "I cannot distinguish network connector from cigarette lighter, but I can smell the money from hundred miles away."
    Re:Screw air cars! (Score:1)
    by MathPenguin on Wednesday October 25, @08:00AM EST (#35)
    (User #181736 Info)
    But what about recharge times? I mean, a wind up car is all good and fine, but the amount of energy required to coil the spring would take days, even weeks by hand. Even by machine it's still a long time (there's only so much turning you can do before the car either turns over or (in the case of being restrained) is torn apart from the force.
    Re:Screw air cars! (Score:1)
    by pauldy (pauldy@no-spam-timespace.org) on Wednesday October 25, @08:53AM EST (#133)
    (User #100083 Info)
    I think mechanical winders would be more practicle than a hand crank. Although I'm sure the later part of your statement would be a concern. Although I'm sure given enough time someone could come up with someting that would work but I'm also sure breaking would be somewhat difficult after a recharge.
    Re:Screw air cars! (Score:1)
    by Tallus (tallpaul@deleteme.hiatus.demon.co.uk) on Thursday October 26, @10:49AM EST (#420)
    (User #3094 Info)
    Don't they have buses somewhere (switzerland?) they use an electric motor at bus stops to charge up a flywheel.
    Paul M

    "There are no innocent bystanders. What where they doing there in the first place"
    William S Burroughs

    Re:Screw air cars! (Score:3, Funny)
    by romco (russ@rkproductions.spam.net) on Wednesday October 25, @08:08AM EST (#57)
    (User #61131 Info) http://www.rkproductions.net
    Your waaay to late on that idea.

    spring car
    Re:Screw air cars! (Score:1)
    by AndrewHowe (andrew@death2spammers.confounding-factor.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:02AM EST (#190)
    (User #60826 Info) http://www.confounding-factor.com
    What are you, some kind of wind up merchant?
    Zero Emission? (Score:3, Insightful)
    by trongey on Wednesday October 25, @07:50AM EST (#2)
    (User #21550 Info) http://home.att.net/~trongey/fish.htm
    Like most of the so-called Zero Emission vehicles this just relocates the emissions. The car just puts out air, but the horsepower to compress that air came from somewhere. Unless the compressor is run by wind, solar, or hydro power it probably results in a net increase in total emissions.
    - Petrified Linux-port Natalie Grits Cluster - There, I think I included everything.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by bmongar on Wednesday October 25, @07:56AM EST (#21)
    (User #230600 Info)

    I agree that it is relocated emissions, but I don't agree that it is a net increas in total emissions. The power plants, even coal, produce less emsission per power produced than an internal combustion auto.


    0, 1. (Just my two bits.)
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by hey! (mattleo@treehouse.acrcorp.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:14AM EST (#70)
    (User #33014 Info)
    And the energy lost from resistance in the power lines?

    Obviously non-zero, but not huge. That's why we have high tension distribution: P = I^2 R. By jacking up the voltage to 20 fold or more, you reduce the current carried by a factor of twenty and drop the power loss by 400 fold or more.

    Thus if you are ten miles from the power station distributing power at 20x the voltage or more, the power dissipated in the lines is the same as if you had low tension distribution but were less than 150 feet from the station -- about what you'd lose in an extension cord.

    ---- It's bad luck to be superstitious.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by skimmer on Wednesday October 25, @08:45AM EST (#120)
    (User #48913 Info)
    Actually, there is an amazing amount of energy lost in the power lines. I learned it in an engineering class -- something like 1/2 or 2/3 or all the energy put in is lost to resistance.

    It's one reason why home based fuel cells would be more efficicent -- more efficient to ship the fuel and to the energy conversion yourself (assuming you have a good fuel cell).

    Piece de resistance (Score:4, Funny)
    by Tau Zero (justinalexander@usa.net (please SPAM here)) on Wednesday October 25, @10:25AM EST (#203)
    (User #75868 Info)
    I learned it in an engineering class -- something like 1/2 or 2/3 or all the energy put in is lost to resistance.
    Over the line of your homework examples, maybe.  In real life energy is money, and power companies work very hard to keep losses down.  The power transformers which convert one voltage to another are upwards of 97% efficient.

    Power lines are a lot more efficient than you think, too.  I'm having a bitch of a time locating the resistivity of typical aluminum transmission wire (AskJeeves is turning out to be useless), but if we assume that the lengthwise resistivity of the alloy as used would be about 3 times that of pure Al or about 8 micro-ohm meters, the wire has a cross-sectional area of 10 square cm and it carries a current of 50 amps at a voltage of 500,000 volts (25 megawatts) for 160 kilometers, we see that:

    • The resistance is 8e(-6)/1e(-3) = 8e(-3) ohms/meter, or about 1300 ohms over 160 km.
    • Total voltage drop is 1300 ohms * 50 amps = 65,000 volts.
    • This is 13% of the total, not 2/3 or even 1/3.
    If I had a line that was leaving about 3 megawatts undelivered, I'd want to lay thicker wire; at $.05/KWH, that's about $150/hour it's costing me.  That's $3600/day, $25000/week, $1.3 million a year.  You can recoup some pretty steep capital costs with that kind of return on investment, especially if you are amortizing over the kind of time-frames typical of a regulated public utility.
    --
    Politically Incoherent.
    Re:Piece de resistance (Score:1)
    by claycalhoun on Friday October 27, @10:28PM EST (#431)
    (User #228961 Info)
    Marketers pay 3.6% for losses across AEP's system. These would be 128kV to 765kV lines.

    Cost ranges from ~$50/MW to as much as several thousand per MW(during peek load hours: summer or winter extremes).


    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by ibpooks (bminsh at NoCannedMeat mudbucket dot goeke dot net) on Wednesday October 25, @03:14PM EST (#347)
    (User #127372 Info)
    Actual loss isn't anywhere near that amount. Perhaps you're thinking of the difference between real power and reactive power where your numbers make a little more sense.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by Gallowglass on Wednesday October 25, @07:59AM EST (#29)
    (User #22346 Info)
    A valid point. However, I remember articles in Analog S&F magazine that one of the advantages of a steam engine over an internal combustion engine was that the former burnt the fuel far more efficiently. IC engines never have a chance to fully burn the fuel because of the short time in the cylynder. The largest problem with the pollution from cars then is all of the wierd byproducts of incomplete combustion.

    Hydroelectric power powering the compression engine would, I think, be far less polluting. Not to mention lessening the load on a diminishing, finite fuel supply.

    I not from The Universal Currency Converter™ that the selling price of 65,000 rand is only Cdn$12,960.82.

    I want one!

    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:08AM EST (#58)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    If you are getting incomplete combustion products in your IC engine, you've got it tuned improperly, and it's running rich.

    Maximum power per unit fuel is logically achieved when the temperature difference, pre-burn versus post-burn is the greatest. This happens about when there is only enough fuel to completely use up the oxygen in the combustion chamber. More fuel tends to cool the resulting combustion gases, and less means that it can't get as hot as it would otherwise.

    Combustion does occur rapidly, but in modern fuel injected engines it should occur completely.

    Compare this to an airplane engine, or any multicylinder engine with a carbureter or throttle body injection. Fuel is atomized in the throat of induction system, where its proper mixing and intake into the cylinders is left to chance. Many times one cylinder will run significantly richer or leaner than it should due to inefficiencies in the induction system. On fuel injected engines the mixture can be tuned on a per-cylinder basis to get ideal mixtures everywhere.

    IC engines can be very clean from a combustion products point of view. Modern engines are, for sure!

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    You almost have it (Score:3, Informative)
    by Hairy_Potter (T_Rone@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:14AM EST (#69)
    (User #219096 Info) http://members.xoom.com/T_rone/T_RONE.HTM
    But the Carnot cycle states that the efficiency is increased when the combustion temperature is increased.

    For the average IC engine made of materials that you can afford, the maximum theoretical efficiency is 40%.

    If you double the difference (in Kelvin) of the combustion temperature and the ambient temperature, you would get 80%. But this would melt an engine composed of normal alloys.

    So, it's more efficient to have the electrical powerplant do the combustion, they can afford a turbine that burns at 2,000 degrees and is made out of tungsten-nickel alloys.

    Ultimately, ceramic engines will yeild a huge increase in efficiency, but they are a aways away.

    Re:You almost have it (Score:1)
    by JurriAlt137n (JurriAlt137n@whatthefuck.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:28AM EST (#89)
    (User #236883 Info)
    If you double the difference (in Kelvin) of the combustion temperature and the ambient temperature, you would get 80%. But this would melt an engine composed of normal alloys.
     
    And if you triple it? Just curious. Temeperature can be raised to enormously high levels. Does it keep increasing at the same speed? And what happens if you artificially cool the ambient temperature. Overclocked V8?



    People replying to my sig annoy me. That's why I change it all the time.
    Well, I oversimplified (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Hairy_Potter (T_Rone@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:35AM EST (#102)
    (User #219096 Info) http://members.xoom.com/T_rone/T_RONE.HTM
    to make a point.

    To see more about the Carnot cycle, you can start here.

    Maximum theoretical efficiency is

    1 - T2/T1, where T2 is the ambient temp, and T1 is the combustion temp.

    You can't influence T2, unless you move to Canada, T2 is the temp of the air the engine works in, which is why early helicopters had trouble lifting themselves in hot climates, the ambient aur temp was high enough to reduce their efficency.

    Artificially cooling the ambient air won't work either, you'd be battle entropy and thermodynamics.

    So, you have to increase T1, the combustion temperature. But most IC engines have low melting points, because they're made of steel and aluminum alloys.

    If you changed alloys to a nickel tungsten titanium alloys (Inconel maybe) you could increase T1.

    If you could use a ceramic engine block and piston, you could really increase T1.

    Hope this helps.
    Re:Well, I oversimplified (Score:1)
    by revnight (kg4clc.BUGGER@OFF.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:42AM EST (#114)
    (User #8980 Info) http://www.qsl.net/kg4clc
    If you could inject compressed (cooled, right?) air directly into the combustion chamber, wouldn't this then lower T2 without moving to canada?

    Just asking...my physics knowledge has woefully fallen out of the sieve of my mind.
    "The things we wizards have to put up with."--Jethro Bodine
    Re:Well, I oversimplified (Score:1)
    by Hairy_Potter (T_Rone@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:49AM EST (#126)
    (User #219096 Info) http://members.xoom.com/T_rone/T_RONE.HTM
    If you could inject compressed (cooled, right?) air directly into the combustion chamber, wouldn't this then lower T2 without moving to canada?

    It would help, but are you going to cool the incoming air?
    Re:Well, I oversimplified (Score:1)
    by revnight (kg4clc.BUGGER@OFF.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:00AM EST (#144)
    (User #8980 Info) http://www.qsl.net/kg4clc
    i don't think you would need to, would you?

    i'm basing my assumption upon my possibly erronious assumption that that a volume of compressed air is cooler than the same volume of uncompressed air...as i said...

    anyway, if you were going to directly inject compressed air in, you could conceivably shut off the intake from the outside air...so you wouldn't have the warm outside air interfering in the process.

    gods...i can't even spell. no wonder i don't remember any of this stuff.
    "The things we wizards have to put up with."--Jethro Bodine
    Re:Well, I oversimplified (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:10AM EST (#151)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    I've heard that C-135's (the military transport version of the Boeing 707) used a water mist injection system to cool the incoming air via water vaporization. This would give a slight, but important, boost to engine power output.

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    In the grand scheme of things (Score:1)
    by Hairy_Potter (T_Rone@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:28AM EST (#163)
    (User #219096 Info) http://members.xoom.com/T_rone/T_RONE.HTM
    directly injecting cooled compressed air into your engine will give your engine greater horsepower, at a cost of a net energy loss due to the compressing of the gas, spent in compression heat and frictional heat of the compressor.

    You just can't beat entropy in a closed system.
    Oversimplified AND misconceived. (Score:2)
    by Tau Zero (justinalexander@usa.net (please SPAM here)) on Wednesday October 25, @10:44AM EST (#210)
    (User #75868 Info)
    If you could inject compressed (cooled, right?) air directly into the combustion chamber, wouldn't this then lower T2 without moving to canada?
    No.  T2 is the temperature at which you dump your waste heat to the environment.  If you have some intermediate "sink" which is artificially cooled below ambient, this just means that you have to have a heat pump (which takes power) to take that heat and pump it back up to ambient temperature so you can get rid of it.  If you don't have such a heat pump, your heat sink heats up and T2 goes up to ambient anyway.  (Not only that, you haven't returned everything to the conditions at the start so you haven't satisfied the definition of a thermodynamic cycle.)

    For an internal-combustion engine, T2 is the temperature of the exhaust, not the outside air.  It's the temperature at which heat is rejected.  This can be mighty hot, but ICE's get decent efficiency compared to steam turbines anyway.  This shows you the advantage of the high T1 allowed by internal combustion.
    --
    Politically Incoherent.

    Re:Well, I oversimplified (Score:1)
    by compwizrd (compwizrd@spam.compwizrd.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:35AM EST (#239)
    (User #166184 Info) http://www.compwizrd.com
    sounds much like the iceman cold air intake used on neon's among others. good for a nice power increase, simply because it pulls air more directly from the air(tube goes straight down, picking up near the ground), instead of going through various tubing like factory stock does.
    Re:You almost have it (Score:2)
    by SEWilco on Wednesday October 25, @08:39AM EST (#110)
    (User #27983 Info) http://www.wilcoxon.org/~sewilco
    Temperature can be raised to enormously high levels.

    Is that your plasma rocket in the newest Scientific American? I'm sure you have few tailgaters, considering what superheated hydrogen fuel does as it mixes with our reducing atmosphere.

    Re:You almost have it (Score:1)
    by JurriAlt137n (JurriAlt137n@whatthefuck.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:55AM EST (#216)
    (User #236883 Info)
    You could consider putting the exhaust somwhere on top of the top of the car in stead of under it. If you direct it at the right angle, you won't need spoilers anyway.

    People replying to my sig annoy me. That's why I change it all the time.
    Re:You almost have it (Score:1)
    by Mr_Dyqik on Wednesday October 25, @08:38AM EST (#108)
    (User #156524 Info)
    It's not actually a linear relationship, I think it goes something like efficiancy = T(hot) - T(cold) / T(hot), although it's about 6 months since I did any classical thermodynamics.

    An IC engine runs on (around) the Stirling cycle anyway. The Carnot cycle is the theoretical maximum of efficiency for a heat engine.
    Re:You almost have it (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:13AM EST (#154)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    The guys weren't talking about thermodynamic efficiency; they were talking emitted combustion products. I was saying that in a properly tuned internal combustion engine, there's really very little excuse for incomplete combustion.

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    Re:You almost have it (Score:1)
    by esonik on Wednesday October 25, @11:37AM EST (#241)
    (User #222874 Info)
    Can you give a source where turbines using 2000 degrees hot steam are suggested/designed/used/manufactured ? The power plant I know use steam at about 500 deg Celsius (~800 K) at pressures of 250 bar in the first stage. At 2000 K you would probably have considerable radiation losses (radiation scales as T^4, Stefan-Boltzm ann Law) in the pipes/turbine unless you have very good insulation.

    per disciplinum mea lux videbis
    That depends on what part of Canada (Score:1)
    by SigVn on Wednesday October 25, @08:15AM EST (#72)
    (User #166099 Info)
    If you live where I used to live (Ottawa) it might not be such a good idea.

    Think about it. The engine is incredably light. That means (too my mind anyways) that there is a lot of plastic. I have a hard time with a plastic engine, frozen lubricant & lots of pressure. I suspect that the engine will spend a lot of time in the shop.

    Mind you if you live in Windsor or B.C. ..... Do it!!!!!!!


    What is dumber a user who deletes thier OS or an OS that lets a user delete it?
    Completeness != efficiency (Score:3, Informative)
    by Tau Zero (justinalexander@usa.net (please SPAM here)) on Wednesday October 25, @10:35AM EST (#208)
    (User #75868 Info)
    I remember articles in Analog S&F magazine that one of the advantages of a steam engine over an internal combustion engine was that the former burnt the fuel far more efficiently.
    Only if you define "efficiency" as the conversion of fuel into final combustion products.  In this context, most people mean the conversion of fuel into work.  In that respect, the internal combustion engine is quite a bit more efficient than the typical small steam engine.

    Quick recap of Carnot efficiency: Eff = (Thi - Tlo) / Thi.  Thi is the temperature at which you put heat into your working fluid (assuming that it is at a constant temperature, which it isn't in any real engine).  This is where the internal combustion engine kills the steam engine.  It does it because the steam engine has to run its working fluid below the highest working temperature of its parts (the boiler wall is always hotter than the steam).  The internal combustion engine produces heat within the working fluid, so the working fluid can be far hotter than any part of the engine.  You can easily have combustion temperatures of 3000 F or more in your car, temperatures a steam engine cannot approach.

    Large steam turbines get thermal efficiencies in the low 30's.  Medium-truck diesel engines commonly break 40% (look at the Cummins data sheets if you don't believe me), large marine diesels hit 50%, and combined-cycle power plants (which use gas turbines - internal combustion engines - as the topping cycle) are up to 60%.
    --
    Politically Incoherent.

    Re:Completeness != efficiency (Score:1)
    by HiThere (I.am..charleshixson@earthling.net) on Wednesday October 25, @11:39AM EST (#247)
    (User #15173 Info)
    If I remember the appropriate Analog article, what was being discussed involved heating the water with an H+O flame insided of the water tank. So the boiler wall would not be the hot point.


    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
    Don't let THEM imminetize the eschaton.
    Re:Completeness != efficiency (Score:2)
    by gorilla on Wednesday October 25, @12:46PM EST (#284)
    (User #36491 Info)
    In that respect, the internal combustion engine is quite a bit more efficient than the typical small steam engine.

    And this is why we didn't have steam powered airplanes, and had to wait on the IC engine before we could create them.

    Re:Completeness != efficiency (Score:2)
    by Tau Zero (justinalexander@usa.net (please SPAM here)) on Wednesday October 25, @01:34PM EST (#309)
    (User #75868 Info)
    I thought it was just because the boilers and expanders of the day were too heavy for their airframes; efficiency does more to determine range and maximum time aloft.  For instance, look at this article, which describes a heavier but more efficient diesel replacing a gas turbine for reconaissance drones.  The lower fuel consumption leads to either lower mission weight or greater time aloft for the same gross weight.
    --
    Politically Incoherent.
    Sometimes true, BUT (Score:5, Insightful)
    by OlympicSponsor on Wednesday October 25, @07:59AM EST (#30)
    (User #236309 Info)
    Relocating the emissions can be a good thing, even if they (temporarily) increase. Right now, all the emissions are from "non-point sources"--meaning from cars that are zooming around everywhere. But if all the emissions could be centralized into a few power plants, it's a LOT easier to apply some emission reducing technology to the problem. Just think about the logistics (and legalistics) of making all car drivers install some kind of filter or post-processor compared to doing the same for a few power plant owners.

    Furthermore, it modularizes the problem. Instead of having to come up with an engine for a car (which has to be small, high-power, light, and various other characteristics that vary by car) you can extract all those issues to the power plant where size, weight, cost, etc aren't as important. Imagine, for simplicity, that we were all driving electric cars but that our electric infrastructure was coal-based. Just replace those coal-plants with fusion plants (or solar, or whatever) and the change is transparent to the rest of society.

    This is just like putting wrapper calls around malloc/free--you have all the same memory management issues to deal with, but in only one location.
    --
    An abstained vote is a vote for Bush and Gore.
    Vote Third Party to disrupt the process.
    "The net is like a highway..." (Score:3, Funny)
    by CaseyB (bartoncasey@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:14AM EST (#68)
    (User #1105 Info)
    This is just like putting wrapper calls around malloc/free

    Only on slashdot would someone use a programming analogy to explain an automotive system!

    On-vehicle filters (Score:1)
    by CDS on Wednesday October 25, @08:34AM EST (#99)
    (User #143158 Info)
    Just think about the logistics (and legalistics) of making all car drivers install some kind of filter or post-processor compared to doing the same for a few power plant owners.

    Oh, you mean, like... err ... aah ... a catalytic converter? Or a muffler?? (which, after all, is a filter to reduce noise pollution...)

    Re:On-vehicle filters (Score:2)
    by Danse (Wowbagger_TIP@hotgritsmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:14AM EST (#155)
    (User #1026 Info)

    Sure, but it can take a decade or more to get new advances into most of the vehicles on the road. Much quicker to get things installed in power plants.


    Re:On-vehicle filters (Score:3, Interesting)
    by Anonymous Colin on Wednesday October 25, @09:17AM EST (#157)
    (User #69389 Info)
    Actually, the catalytic converter is a very good argument for the point you seem to be arguing against. A Japanese company (Honda, I think) had a lean-burn engine that emitted less polution than conventional engines with converters. Because of US (read: Californian) regulations requiring converters, they were unable to introduce cars powered by these engines to the States. The result was more polution than would have been the case if the regulations had not applied, at least in this case. This is a problem with mandating means rather than results, and is widespread in American government ($10,000 hammer, anyone?).

    While there would be no guarantee that a few hundred polution sources would be any more sensibly regulated than many million cars are, at least correcting regulatory screw-ups would be a lot easier.
    Re:On-vehicle filters (Score:1)
    by Paradise_Pete on Wednesday October 25, @10:15AM EST (#197)
    (User #95412 Info)
    $10,000 hammer, anyone?

    No, but I'll take a couple of $5,000 screws, assuming of course that Natalie Portman is somehow involved.

    Pete
    Elizabeth

    Re:On-vehicle filters (Score:1)
    by Anonymous Colin on Thursday October 26, @08:29AM EST (#415)
    (User #69389 Info)
    True, I recall the same, now that you remind me. The problem was that Californian regulations stipulated a tri-phase catalytic converter that would reduce CO, NOx and VOCs. Now, lean-burns have lower VOC and CO outputs than conventional engines after conversion, so such a converter makes absolutely no sense, but it is required by CA law... The tri-phase converter raises the exhaust pressure beyond what a lean-burn engine can work with, so lean-burns are in practice illegal in California. A mono-phase NOx converter would have been quite practical, but the authoroties had a regulation, and that was all that mattered to them.

    All of the above is subject to memory, which should not be assumed fully reliable.
    Re:On-vehicle filters (Score:1)
    by ibpooks (bminsh at NoCannedMeat mudbucket dot goeke dot net) on Wednesday October 25, @03:24PM EST (#354)
    (User #127372 Info)
    Yeah, but my car doesn't have one. Why? because it rusted through and I'm too cheap to spend $150 on a new one. Sure, new vehicles have installed environmental features, but what happens when these vehicles age? The systems are removed as people don't want to pay to fix non-essential systems.
    Re:On-vehicle filters (Score:1)
    by ibpooks (bminsh at NoCannedMeat mudbucket dot goeke dot net) on Wednesday October 25, @04:13PM EST (#363)
    (User #127372 Info)
    Same here, there really isn't any enforcement in Michigan.
    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by Hard_Code on Wednesday October 25, @08:38AM EST (#109)
    (User #49548 Info) http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/arh14
    Just think about the logistics (and legalistics) of making all car drivers install some kind of filter or post-processor compared to doing the same for a few power plant owners.
    I thought this was called a "catalytic converter". Cars do have to have filters. But, yeah, that hardly makes them "clean" machines, and efficiency and cleanliness is better achieved in central, large-scale places.

    Big corporations got the hurt on you? Vote Nader
    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by karnal (karnal@spamacct.excite.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:59AM EST (#140)
    (User #22275 Info) http://www.mulletsgalore.com/
    Most cars do have the cat converters, but isn't it true that some "older" cars (1960's or before) are not required to have them?

    Kinda like the seat belts.... same deal (never installed by the factory)...
    Karnal
    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by zantispam (zantispam@netscape.net) on Wednesday October 25, @10:10AM EST (#193)
    (User #78764 Info) http://www.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=SlashUserGroup
    Cats are only "required" (in practice - I think the law actually mandates a year) on cars less the 25 years old. Any older and the vehicle is considered a "classic", at which point no emissions test is needed.

    If the car came with a cat and is older that 25 years, then most people just take 'em off (massive performace and mileage increase).

    Me, I just tool around in my uber 1337 '66 VW squareback (thanks, fishbowl) that has no emissions equipment what so ever...

    censorship is a form of noise, which actively seeks to drown out content with silence - Crash Culligan
    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by ncc74656 (salfter@salfter.NdOySnPdAnMs.org) on Wednesday October 25, @02:51PM EST (#338)
    (User #45571 Info) http://salfter.dyndns.org
    Cats are only "required" (in practice - I think the law actually mandates a year) on cars less the 25 years old. Any older and the vehicle is considered a "classic", at which point no emissions test is needed.

    It depends on where you are...here in Nevada, all vehicles built from 1968 onward are subject to annual smog checks if garaged in the state's two urban counties (Clark and Washoe). They're tested for carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions, with older vehicles subject to less stringent restrictions. AFAIK, there are no exceptions, other than that 1967 and earlier model-year cars aren't tested.

    It's not a "treadmill" or dyno test like they use in some places, though...they just stick a sensor up the tailpipe, run the engine at 2500 rpm for a couple of minutes, and then run it at idle for a minute. I've heard horror stories about the places that do the other type of smog check.

    Vote Freedom First...Vote Bush!

    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by latneM on Wednesday October 25, @12:18PM EST (#272)
    (User #7876 Info)
    There's plenty of progress being made in this area, though. Check out this page. I have heard a about this thing a couple of times, this is the first link I was able to find. Some choice quotes:

    TOCHIGI, Japan-Honda Motor Co. Ltd., claiming a breakthrough in car emissions technology, said Monday it has developed a super-clean gasoline engine that produces exhaust sometimes cleaner than the air it breathes in.

    ...

    Carbon monoxide emissions from the 2.3 litre, four-cylinder engine were 0.17 gram per mile, compared with 1.7 grams allowed under Californias Ultra Low Emission Vehicle standard.

    "A car equipped with this engine could drive through a high-smog area and the smog-producing emissions coming out of the tailpipe would actually be lower than they are in the surrounding air," Honda president Nobuhiko Kawamoto said.


    I think that would go beyond "clean" machines and into "cleaning" machine territory.

    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by Kastagir (get.me.a.beer@the.fridge) on Wednesday October 25, @08:40AM EST (#111)
    (User #33415 Info)
    A great thought but from another article about the same thing...

    The designers of e.Volution say it will be possible to merely plug the vehicle into any electrical power source to fill it up. That could take up to four hours.

    But the manufacturers envisage that fleet owners could install their own air stations, where a fill up could take as little as three minutes.

    Basically plug your car in when you get home, or hit an air station on the road. Not quite as easy to modularize.
    One other thing (Score:1)
    by Poligraf (liedetector@SPAMSUCKS.netscape.net) on Wednesday October 25, @02:00PM EST (#315)
    (User #146965 Info)
    Do you know, how much all of this emissions equipment crap weights ???

    Removing most of it from the cars will decrease their weight significantly, thus making them more efficient and compensating for less power from the alternative engine.
    Bit'sia ne imeete prava!
    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by binkley (binkley@bigfoot.com) on Monday November 06, @09:01AM EST (#435)
    (User #25431 Info) http://www.bigfoot.com/~binkley/
    This "modularizing the problem" point it a very nice one. Nuclear power is a wonderful solution to a problem of this sort, being much cleaner and safer than fossil fuel plants. And nuclear is practically old technology these days, at least compared to some of the interesting ideas for energy sources one sees in the press.
    --binkley Bridge, anyone?
    Re:Sometimes true, BUT (Score:1)
    by Chep (chep@donjon) on Wednesday October 25, @12:15PM EST (#271)
    (User #25806 Info) http://www.crans.ens-cachan.fr/~chepelov
    This is because "older" Diesel engines lack a particle filter. Most pollution from Diesel engines come from microparticles, of which a certain range of sizes can trigger allergologic problems.

    Newer HDi/TDI (basically, all common-rail high pressure) engines produce particles of somewhat smaller size ; better, their mandatory computerised injection system makes it relatively easy to put particle filters AND have them autoclean (you need to have them checked every 80'000km or so).

    Currently, only Peugeot sells this particle filter, on its flagship 607 model (see http://www.peugeot.com/gamme/fr/html/607.htm), but in 5 years or so, most reasonably advanced car diesel manufacturers will have adapted (still a lorry and coach problem to tackle).

    Barring the particles, a diesel engine tends to be more efficient than a gasoline one ; which means less carbon *oxydes. Oh, and high pressure common rail injection even increases this efficiency and still lowers consumption (more power, less consumption for equal sized classic and HDi engines).


    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by DaveHowe (DaveHowe@Hawkswing) on Wednesday October 25, @07:59AM EST (#32)
    (User #51510 Info)
    Unless the compressor is run by wind, solar, or hydro power it probably results in a net increase in total emissions.
    Almost certainly, yes. however, given that the compression can take place at a fixed site, and is pretty much danger free, there is no reason you *can't* market solar-powered compressors for the home user. Each car owner could produce their own compressed air at home, unattended, and transfer it to their vehicle on an evening. Firms could run compressors for the convenience of their employees, and so forth.
    --
    -=DaveHowe=-
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by SigVn on Wednesday October 25, @08:20AM EST (#78)
    (User #166099 Info)
    heck you would wan't a portable one for the emergancy kit.

    Run out of "gas". Unfold the solar blanket, and catch some rays.

    Drive to the beach on one tank, recharcge and drive back.

    Mind you it probbably take longer to recharge.
    What is dumber a user who deletes thier OS or an OS that lets a user delete it?
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by revnight (kg4clc.BUGGER@OFF.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:44AM EST (#117)
    (User #8980 Info) http://www.qsl.net/kg4clc
    unfold it hell....just put one big solar bank up on the roof. :)
    "The things we wizards have to put up with."--Jethro Bodine
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by SigVn on Wednesday October 25, @08:54AM EST (#135)
    (User #166099 Info)
    Just do away with the house unit altogether then.

    Unless that adds weight.....I expect that weight is going to be a major problem here.
    What is dumber a user who deletes thier OS or an OS that lets a user delete it?
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by revnight (kg4clc.BUGGER@OFF.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:04AM EST (#148)
    (User #8980 Info) http://www.qsl.net/kg4clc
    well, you can always just plug it into a socket at the house. :)

    i'm pretty sure that the solar cells wouldn't add enough weight to make a tremendous difference. now, i'm not sure you could blanket the top of the thing to generate all the electricity you'd need for the compressor...but it would help.


    "The things we wizards have to put up with."--Jethro Bodine
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by SigVn on Wednesday October 25, @03:18PM EST (#350)
    (User #166099 Info)
    Yea......But think where you would have to put the pipe.


    What is dumber a user who deletes thier OS or an OS that lets a user delete it?
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by DaveHowe (DaveHowe@Hawkswing) on Saturday October 28, @07:39AM EST (#433)
    (User #51510 Info)
    Well, its not wonderful - but it is considerably better than you are making out. Check out the Homepower site for example - a medium (roof sized) solar panel provides enough wattage he can backfeed to the grid while still running household appliances.
    --
    -=DaveHowe=-
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by brunes69 (nighthawk@n2.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:00AM EST (#37)
    (User #86786 Info) http://www.geekboxmicro.net
    While you are correct in saying that this does re-locate the emissions, your assumption that this is a Bad Thing is false. The internal Combustion engine is horribly inefficient compared to most modern power plants. Not to mention power plants could very well be using solar or hydro power to fuel these things.

    ---There is no spoon....---
    Will the real B
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by trongey on Wednesday October 25, @01:02PM EST (#296)
    (User #21550 Info) http://home.att.net/~trongey/fish.htm
    >...your assumption that this is a Bad Thing...

    I don't recall saying that it was bad. I just said that it happens. It's only bad if a bunch of people start thinking "Hey, this car doesn't polute at all. I can use it all the time now." It's really easy for a lot of people to take good ideas like air cars and leap into thoughts of free energy.

    It's important to remember that every form of energy we currently use involves burning something. Even wind, solar and hydro are driven by a huge ball of burning gas. (relocated emissions on a big scale)


    - Petrified Linux-port Natalie Grits Cluster - There, I think I included everything.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by Tarquin (ted3@GETOUTOFMYHEADhotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @03:13PM EST (#345)
    (User #119052 Info) http://money4nothing.peji.com
    It's important to remember that every form of energy we currently use involves burning something. Even wind, solar and hydro are driven by a huge ball of burning gas. (relocated emissions on a big scale)

    I'm betting some folks would be kinda ticked if you tried to regulate solar emissions... (Reminds me of Mr. Burns and his diabolical plot to block out the sun!! (insert ominous music here)

    --
    It's not the rambling I object to, so much as the mumbled incoherancies...

    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by JurriAlt137n (JurriAlt137n@whatthefuck.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:10AM EST (#63)
    (User #236883 Info)
    Not entirely. Power plants don't have to accelerate and break all the time. Nor do powerplants have to worry about traffic lights or masculin ego causing them to go 120 MpH.

    People replying to my sig annoy me. That's why I change it all the time.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by arivanov on Wednesday October 25, @08:28AM EST (#88)
    (User #12034 Info)
    That is besides the fact that the quantity of compressed air necessary for a day of driving is one nice small bomb.

    The fact that this one has no fuel to burn does not mean that the other ones don't. So just when you have thought that the crash flames from the petroleum driven ones have subsided the great pneumatic wonder goes booom and there is a nice crater in the road.
    @*** Baker's Law *** Misery no longer loves company. Nowadays it insists on it.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:3, Interesting)
    by lrichardson (lrichardson_no_spam@ames.net) on Wednesday October 25, @09:22AM EST (#158)
    (User #220639 Info)
    That is besides the fact that the quantity of compressed air necessary for a day of driving is one nice small bomb.

    The idea of a compressed air car is nice ... also remarkably similar to the flywheel design. The latter is used in trains (occasionally), and in smaller vehicles - quarry trains, tow-motors - where the environment is closed. There was quite a bit of work done in the sixties about sticking flywheels into buses (AEC, England). A small, highly efficient diesel, regenerative braking, and hydraulic motors at the wheels. Unfortunately, the design group noted that t-boning (i.e. getting hit by a truck at 90 degrees) a vehicle so equipped would have the flywheel perform standard gyroscopic physics, ripping itself from the vehicle and punching through any nearby buildings. Armouring the sucker to prevent this pretty much did away with all the efficiencies. (increased weight and size)

    Compressed air vehicles have, in the past, been scrapped at the drawing board for exactly the same reason - storing that much energy in an extremely volatile format is just plain dangerous. 200 klicks seems rather low compared to other designs (standard IC is closer to 500 K), but still would tend to rip most things to pieces if punctured (if you've never taken a high-powered rifle to a compressed gas cylinder in the middle of a field, you've missed out on an adrenaline inducing experience!).

    On a slight tangent, I'm a little surprised by the latest 'hybrid' vehicles done by Toyota and Honda. They're essentially different from the designs the hobbyists use. These modern things use 50+ HP IC engines, running at variable speeds, bringing in the batteries only when needed (acceleration, up hills, etc). The older design was a 5-20 HP IC engine (it takes only around 8 HP to cruise on the level), running at a constant (i.e. peak efficiency) speed, feeding into the batteries, and the vehicle itself was purely electric driven. Also allowing regenerative braking. I've yet to read _why_ this fundamental change was made - the only reason I can come up with is psychological - people would get upset when they learn their lawn tractor has a bigger engine than their car.

    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by HiThere (I.am..charleshixson@earthling.net) on Wednesday October 25, @11:35AM EST (#238)
    (User #15173 Info)
    My take was that it was to decrease the weight/size carried in batteries. This has its own efficiencies.

    Caution: Now approaching the (technological) singularity.
    Don't let THEM imminetize the eschaton.
    Why the engine and a link to redrok. (Score:2)
    by mr on Wednesday October 25, @11:55AM EST (#258)
    (User #88570 Info)
    >I've yet to read _why_ this fundamental change was made

    Actually it was commented on.

    It seems us Americans like stomping on the peddle and having the car move. So, to give the car 'pick up' they gave it a bigger engine. Was one of the only complaints. (and with global warming...the driving around in the cold won't matter!)

    > storing that much energy in an extremely volatile format is just plain dangerous.
    As oppsed to pinto?
    Perhaps with the cheaper carbon-fiber technology, the safty issues have been addressed.

    This gent has links to the concept of air powered cars.
    www.redrok.com
    the air car link

    If it was said on slashdot, it MUST be true!
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by rcw-home (rcw@d.e.b.i.a.n.org.without.dots) on Wednesday October 25, @10:00AM EST (#187)
    (User #122017 Info)
    ...necessary for a day of driving is one nice small bomb.

    This will never change. After all, two gallons of gasoline makes an even more impressive fuel-air explosive (FAE) bomb.

    Energy is energy.

    Thermo and safety lesson (Score:3, Interesting)
    by twitter on Wednesday October 25, @08:28AM EST (#90)
    (User #104583 Info)
    Compressed gas engines are not generally effecient. As anyone who has pumped up their tires knows, it takes lots of work and a good deal of that work is wasted as heat. The compressed gas is hotter than the world, but not for long. When it reaches room temperature you have lost considerable work. You also take losses when you try to use it. As the gas flows out, it typicaly cools down so you need a heat exchanger just to keep from freezing up. Once again, you are loosing work. Other vehicles have been built like this, and suffered from these problems. It's not that they can't be overcome, it's that they introduce a great deal of waste.

    Oh yeah, compressed gas is dangerous. All of the work you put into it can be released instantly if your tank busts. This of course, is bad for people that get in the way. It happens from time to time, especialy when people screw up and put the wrong pressure in a cylinder. Boom, like a bomb. Failures in accidents will be less interesting, but knocking off the valve can give you a thousand pounds of force for a few seconds. If the cylinder is not held down well, it will fly around like a balloon. This is also very bad for people who get in the way.

    All of that said, this might be cost effective if you do all of your gas compresion with cheap nuclear or hydro generated electricity. I have my doubts. Natural gas prices are comming up, :(. Windmills, solar and all that, forget it, it will be cheaper to burn oil.

    Poster would rather ride his bike.

    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Nicolas MONNET (nico@nospam.monnet.to) on Wednesday October 25, @08:49AM EST (#125)
    (User #4727 Info) http://monnet.to

    As anyone who has pumped up their tires knows, it takes lots of work and a good deal of that work is wasted as heat.

    ... but the slower you go to fill that tank, the lower the loss ... limit being 0.

    So if you have time (like, while you sleep), the loss could be very small.


    --
    Please be nice to me. I'm just an apprentice jerk.

    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:3, Informative)
    by Grayraven (gray(at)movingpictures.se) on Wednesday October 25, @09:14AM EST (#156)
    (User #95321 Info)
    Think again.

    The total loss would still be the same, it would
    just be smaller per time unit.


    This is not the sig you're you want, move along.
    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:1)
    by Nicolas MONNET (nico@nospam.monnet.to) on Wednesday October 25, @10:24AM EST (#202)
    (User #4727 Info) http://monnet.to
    Think again, the loss is not linear ... it's most likely exponential, just like the aerodynamic resistance (or is it cubic? can't remember).

    --
    Please be nice to me. I'm just an apprentice jerk.

    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:2)
    by Nicolas MONNET (nico@nospam.monnet.to) on Wednesday October 25, @05:06PM EST (#374)
    (User #4727 Info) http://monnet.to
    Well I'm thinking about the loss due to friction.

    --
    Please be nice to me. I'm just an apprentice jerk.

    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:2)
    by Nicolas MONNET (nico@nospam.monnet.to) on Thursday October 26, @03:40AM EST (#414)
    (User #4727 Info) http://monnet.to
    There's something wrong with your equation: n is not constant either ... when you inflate a tire, you add new molecules into of it ...

    --
    Please be nice to me. I'm just an apprentice jerk.

    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:2)
    by Nicolas MONNET (nico@nospam.monnet.to) on Thursday October 26, @09:35AM EST (#419)
    (User #4727 Info) http://monnet.to

    Look, you keep changing the parameters ... First you said the volume is constant. Then you say n is constant. Nope. Either you consider the tank and tank only, in which n rises and therefore P, or you consider the gas at P=1 atm, whose volume will shrink to fit the tank ...


    --
    Please be nice to me. I'm just an apprentice jerk.

    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:3, Funny)
    by Sebbo (sebbo@sebbo.org) on Wednesday October 25, @10:19AM EST (#201)
    (User #28048 Info) http://sebbo.org/
    That's why it's preferable to use something safe, with no risk of explosion, like...um...gasoline... Oops.
    learn not to burn (Score:2)
    by twitter on Wednesday October 25, @02:23PM EST (#326)
    (User #104583 Info)
    I kind of like diesel.

    Still, unlike the movies, automobiles rarely explode. Mostly they burn if your luck is really bad.

    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:1)
    by Kidbro (dibbe@linux.nu) on Wednesday October 25, @02:41PM EST (#335)
    (User #80868 Info)
    Have you ever tried to make gasoline explode?
    Re:Thermo and safety lesson (Score:1)
    by Rei (_NOSPAM_spurius@earthling.net) on Wednesday October 25, @01:32PM EST (#308)
    (User #128717 Info) http://www.theonion.com
    "An exploding tank of petrol is more dangerous than an exploding tank of air".

    Fill a glass apple juice container with dry ice. Fill one with gasoline, to the brim (like a gas tank).
    Having them be glass will be a close aproximation of metal shredding from an explosion.

    Give the latter one a wick and light it (long wick, be careful).
    Let the former one sit until it explodes from the pressure.

    Be nowhere around either one. See how far the shrapnel flies.
    The pressurized air one will fly much farther. You'll be lucky of the gasoline one explodes at all. It'll probably give you a nice column of flame out of the top.
    the former is a cheap type of shrapnel bomb that I've seen teenagers play around with. Its rather dangerous.

    The reason it flies farther is because you can release much more energy in compressed air in a given space than you can with gasoline in that same space (now, if you vaporize the gasoline and mix it with oxygen, then you're getting somewhere - but gas tanks don't rupture in a way to vaporize the gasoline under most conditions.

      - Rei

    P.S. - Air doesn't cost anything? yeah, but compression costs electricity ;)

    P.P.S - Under current US environmental regulations, coal power plants produce notably more emissions per quanity of energy produced than do internal combustion engines. They make up about 50% of the US's power source. Now, if you go somewhere like Peru, which exports hydroelectric power....

    Speak softly and carry a +6 two-handed sword.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by Mr_Dyqik on Wednesday October 25, @08:43AM EST (#115)
    (User #156524 Info)
    All the pollution now comes from fewer places, which can fit much larger (more efficient) pollution controls.

    If fusion power gets going soon (it should do, if the EC governments can find the 3 billion Euros to fund the ITER FEAT tokamak, which will produce about 0.5 GigaWatts, despite still being experimental)

    These cars would put the necessary things in place to immediately reduce emissions when a cleaner power source comes online.

    It would also reduce the dependence of car drivers on the political stability of the Middle East, and would prevent the fuel blockades that happened in Europe over the summer, as it's very hard to blockade a HT cable
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by American AC in Paris ("mot"@"wolpwons"."gro") on Wednesday October 25, @08:53AM EST (#132)
    (User #230456 Info) http://www.snowplow.org
    Like most of the so-called Zero Emission vehicles this just relocates the emissions.

    Emissions relocation is by and large a Good Thing. individual combustion engines get woefully low efficiency compared to power plants, often even after you've factored in power loss from transfer over lines and other factors. Localized emissions allow us to have a handful of areas under close watch for pollution, as opposed to several million miniscule points of exhaust spewing forth pollutants across an entire city. (Ever seen the Houston skyline? Neither has anybody else...)

    But you do make a valid point--that the emissions aren't necessarily cut, just moved elsewhere. This is a problem with "charged" vehicles, whether that charge be electrical, air, or anything else. It is safe to say that a "charged" vehicle would probably result in better overall conditions than traditional combustion vehicles, but the pollusion will still exist at the plant (assuming combustion is used at the power plant.) Hydrogen fuel cells, OTOH, solve the problems of both the "charged" vehicles and the combustion vehicles, with a rather elegant middle step to ease the transition.

    Instead of burning hydrocarbons like conventional engines and power plants, fuel cell vehicles convert hydrogen and oxygen (from the outside air) into energy and water. In a pure fuel cell vehicle, water is the only waste product generated. Thus, you have none of the issue of the redistribution of pollutants; you instead have an entirely new method for generating the energy in the first place.

    Of course, a pure fuel cell car is a ways away, due largely to the fact that all the "good" (read: environmentally friendly) methods of generating hydrogen are either prohibitively expensive or still under development. (There's promising work being done with harvesting hydrogen from bule-green algae--watch for it.) The other big reason is that the fuel infrastructure for hydrogen-powered cars doesn't exist yet, whereas the infrastructure for gas is massive. Enter the fuel reformer. This puppy extracts hydrogen directly from a pretty wide variety of hydrocarbon fuels (ethanol, methanol, and many others) and generates miniscule amounts of pollutants compared to the monsters created in combustion. These units allow fuel cell cars to fill up with readily available fuel from virtually any service station, convert it into hydrogen, and run an amazingly green vehicle compared to today's standards.

    Until we can harvest hydrogen efficiently in a direct manner (from water, algae, or any of a number of other methods,) the above option presents what I think is the most viable form of nextgen transportation available. There's no recharge period, it's efficient, produces comparatively miniscule amounts of far more benign waste products, and can fuel practically anywhere an existing car can fuel without any change whatsoever to the fuel infrastructure. The technology is already in commercial prototypes, and is being driven (no pun intended) by some pretty heavy names--Ballard, GM, Honda, just to name a few. There is Big Money behind fuel cell powered vehicles, and there are a number of companies preparing to unveil fuel cell powered passenger vehicles in the next two to five years. We're talking actual work being done now on the mass production of a number of different fuel cell passenger cars. As clever and cool as this air powered car is, it falls too far short of fuel cells. Why recharge your air tanks for 3 hours with a (probably noisy) compressor unit (and then for only 1 day's worth of driving) when you can fill your fuel cell car up in 1 minute at any gas station?

    ...though I must say that it kicks total ass that a French company came up with this. *grin*

    Obligatory link to info: Fuelcells.org

    If you think ignorance is inexpensive, try Harvard.

    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by juhaz (juhasa@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:16AM EST (#198)
    (User #110830 Info)
    Eh, hydrogen from the outside air?
    About 0.00005% of air is hydrogen, you don't exacly cruise away with that, so it's back to "charged cars" and electric current, and power plants, this time separating water and oxygen from water instead of using compressors to tank your air-powered car.

    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by American AC in Paris ("mot"@"wolpwons"."gro") on Wednesday October 25, @12:28PM EST (#278)
    (User #230456 Info) http://www.snowplow.org
    Sorry, my post was a bit unclear on that. The Oxygen comes from the outside air; the hydrogen, from a fuel tank. Ideally, this would be a tank of pure hydrogen (see the item on hydrogen safety in the FAQ at fuelcells.org before saying anything with the word 'Hindenberg' in it) but a fuel reformer gives us a really nice intermediary step by allowing us to extract hydrogen pretty cleanly from many different fuels, especially methanol and ethanol.

    If you think ignorance is inexpensive, try Harvard.

    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @12:01PM EST (#261)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    In a properly tuned internal combustion engine, the only combustion products SHOULD be carbon dioxide and water.

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by bigdavex (bigdavex@barf^H^H^H^Hyahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @02:16PM EST (#321)
    (User #155746 Info) http://www.nicoson.homepage.com
    Emissions relocation is by and large a Good Thing.
    I agree with your points, but relocation of emissions can also be a Bad Thing if you happen to live in the place to which the emissions are relocated. In Indiana, we like to burn some really nasty sulfur coal. The wind naturally relocates these emissions on Ohio. We're pretty happy with this arrangement, and therefore continue to burn nasty coal.

    In a place like California, the mountains keep pretty much all of California's emissions in California. California is therefore much more careful about emissions. So do the degree to which this care is a Good Thing, relocation of emissions can be a Bad Thing.

    Why Worry? (Score:1)
    by drooling-dog on Wednesday October 25, @10:45AM EST (#212)
    (User #189103 Info)
    The way I see it, if Bush wins the election we'll no longer have to worry about reducing emissions. We'll just filter the crud with our lungs, like God intended.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2, Funny)
    by GodHead (The_BIG_Guy@Way.up.there) on Wednesday October 25, @10:47AM EST (#213)
    (User #101109 Info)
    Zero emission my eye! Slap a HEPA filter on this thing are you've got LESS than ZERO emissions. How's THAT for cool.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by shinji1911 on Wednesday October 25, @11:51AM EST (#255)
    (User #238955 Info)
    We've gone over this point before: the fact is that internal combustion cars are not efficient, due to design limits on mass and volume. Take the same process to a stationary huge power plant somewhere, and the process can be made _far_ more efficient, both due to scale, and due to less design constraints on the mechanism.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by Sharks on Wednesday October 25, @12:56PM EST (#294)
    (User #9336 Info)
    True. Think about this one. Is is easier to regulate the emissions of millions of cars, or is it easier to regulate the far fewer power plants?
    Why 120 chars? I won't use all of them.
    Hydro != zero emissions (Score:2)
    by toofast on Wednesday October 25, @01:05PM EST (#298)
    (User #20646 Info) http://www.naturex.ca/
    Contrary to what people believe, Hydro is not a zero emissions system. The dams lower and raise water levels, screwing thing up for the surroundings.

    The turbines are cooled by the water that pushes them and to an extent, contribute to raise water temperatures.

    Needless to mention the massive powergrids of wires, poles, etc. which all consume brute product.

    Hydro is clean.. But it's not Zero Emissions.
    Re:Hydro != zero emissions (Score:2)
    by Sethb on Wednesday October 25, @01:23PM EST (#306)
    (User #9355 Info) http://www.sethb.com/
    Contrary to what people believe, Hydro is not a zero emissions system. The dams lower and raise water levels, screwing thing up for the surroundings. The turbines are cooled by the water that pushes them and to an extent, contribute to raise water temperatures. I'd say we could all walk everywhere from now on, but that wouldn't be zero emissions either. I'd warm the air wherever I went, since my body temperature is higher than the October weather here in Iowa. I'd live microsopic shoe remnants wherever I stepped, not to mention footprints if it was soft dirt. Now just imagine if I had chili for lunch!!
    ---
    When in danger, or in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout. --Robert A. Heinlein
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by jvanber on Wednesday October 25, @02:00PM EST (#317)
    (User #170198 Info) http://www.configmagic.com

    I would disagree with this. Compressing air is a very simple task, and CAN be done many different ways. You're forgetting that electric "pumps" will be eliminated. This results in a sincere savings of energy. As "refueling stations" become more self-sufficient, and require less maintenance than complex pumps, even more energy can be saved.

    I think you're failing to look at the whole picture in terms of the fuel it self, as well. Just think, the entire crude pumping process is eliminated, as well as the transportation, refining, and delivery processes. They are all sincerely reduced, if not virtually GONE because of this fuel.

    If you don't see any net savings here, then I wish you well in your oil stocks.

    Joshua
    Gotcha Suckaz!
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by trongey on Wednesday October 25, @03:48PM EST (#358)
    (User #21550 Info) http://home.att.net/~trongey/fish.htm
    >...Just think, the entire crude pumping process is eliminated, as well as the transportation, refining, and delivery processes. They are all sincerely reduced, if not virtually GONE because of this fuel...

    Wow, I hope you don't really believe that nonsense.

    Automobile fuels are only the most publicized product of the petroleum industry. Almost everything you can see from where you're presently sitting contains petroleum products: your clothes, the plastic parts of your computer, the floor covering, your ink pens...

    The elimination of internal combustion vehicles would certainly impact the industry, but not to the huge extent that most people think it would. One reason gasoline and diesel are so expensive is that they are a relatively small fraction of each barrel of oil. All of it gets sold and used somewhere.


    - Petrified Linux-port Natalie Grits Cluster - There, I think I included everything.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by jvanber on Wednesday October 25, @07:29PM EST (#391)
    (User #170198 Info) http://www.configmagic.com
    You misunderstood my post. I was referring to the crude pumped specifically for automobile-gasoline purposes. Joshua
    Gotcha Suckaz!
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by jvanber on Wednesday October 25, @07:39PM EST (#394)
    (User #170198 Info) http://www.configmagic.com

    So you're saying that the processes involved in burning gasoline -- everything from the harvesting of the petro, transportation, and refinement, right down to the actual inefficient burning of the fuel, is not only going to be cleaner, but also more efficient than the compressing of air? I'm talking total picture, taking into account what it will take to compress the air as well. I feel that's a bold statement.

    Several processes can be done to make the compression of air more efficient. Stages of compression can be nearly skipped, for instance, making sure the air is cool before being initially compressed.

    Even if not, I'm very comfortable that it is STILL more efficient than the current petro processes involved with internal combustion engines.

    That being said, I'm interested in what alternative automobile fuel you feel is more competitive -- in environmental cleanliness, everyday performance, low cost, and overall energy consumption. Most fuels thus introduced don't make the grade, such as Hydrogen (tough to harvest, expensive), natural gas (similar to hydrogen, still a fossil fuel), electric (doh!). Obviously there are additional safety concerns that put air at a plus as well.

    What energy do you see as more promising?

    Joshua
    Gotcha Suckaz!
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:2)
    by SubtleNuance on Wednesday October 25, @02:34PM EST (#331)
    (User #184325 Info)
    Like most of the so-called Zero Emission vehicles this just relocates the emissions. The car just puts out air, but the horsepower to compress that air came from somewhere.

    Although I agree that thinking no emissions are created is obviously wrong. A clear point can be made (maybe by someone with more concrete knowledge) that your average NorthAmerican powerplant (all sources on whole) will convert energy (whatever type) to electricity far more efficiently than the many poorly maintained cars/trucks on the roads.

    It wouldnt mean zero-energy consumption for all travel (remember: energy cannot be created or destroyed, only change its form) but it would mean a better controlled system where citizens could force ever increasing rates of efficiency from an overall more efficient system (at present im sure).

    Tell your friends/neighbours/co-workers to:
    Vote Nader in November
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by JayClements on Wednesday October 25, @02:40PM EST (#333)
    (User #247589 Info)
    I don't care if this is more or less efficient than something else, how much does it pollute? 1/4 of all coral reefs are dead due to pollution and global warming.
    Re:Zero Emission? (Score:1)
    by SubtleNuance on Wednesday October 25, @06:51PM EST (#385)
    (User #184325 Info)
    That is a very good point. I am not expert enough to argue the 'fine points' or 'do the math', but you could be right - but just my laymans impression would be that you are wrong. You make a very valid point, and it would have to be analyzed, but the great increase in NOT shipping/refining gasoline - combined with the filth created when its burnt in cars - is probably much greater than the energy waste in extra stores and additional energy conversion.

    I would love to read an analysis - again, I dont believe Im qualified to know for certain.


    Vote Nader in November
    Re:Solar powered or wind powered refilling station (Score:1)
    by SubtleNuance on Thursday October 26, @09:20AM EST (#418)
    (User #184325 Info)
    Fine point.
    Vote Nader in November
    The downsides of an air powered car: (Score:5, Funny)
    by OlympicSponsor on Wednesday October 25, @07:51AM EST (#4)
    (User #236309 Info)
    1) The constant farting sound of air blowing out the back end
    2) Can't steer, car just flys around the room
    3) High internal pressure means that exiting car too rapidly causes "explosive decompression"
    4) After car has run for several hours, outer surface gets all wrinkly

    --
    An abstained vote is a vote for Bush and Gore.
    Vote Third Party to disrupt the process.
    Re:The downsides of an air powered car: (Score:1)
    by WildHunter (davidpaulanderson@ dont even think about spamming) on Wednesday October 25, @02:31PM EST (#329)
    (User #219172 Info)
    Imagine an accident in one of these.....
    Crack, bang, pop!
    Senario 1: The high pressure air storage cracks and sends shards of metal hurling through the air decapitating people up to and including a 1/2 mile away.

    Scenario 2: Driver sitting in the car is propelled into the air at a high velocity up to 700 feet. Perhaps these should come with parachutes and would be especially fun for free base jumpers.

    Scenario 3: Air leak occurs in just one side of the tank forcing the car to rapidly spin around like a top.

    Sounds cool, I can't wait to get one!!
    Are you lonely? Hate having to make decisons? Meetings, the practical alternitive to work.
    Re:The downsides of an air powered car: (Score:1)
    by girish (patangay(a)writeme.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:06PM EST (#402)
    (User #19258 Info) http://www.noblehost.com/
    And also that the engine only weighs 35 kg. This might cause a different kind of car thefts. Carry the car away?

    And also I wonder how much pollution the machine that fills up the air causes?
    No pollution from car but... (Score:1)
    by balbuzaro on Wednesday October 25, @07:51AM EST (#5)
    (User #159796 Info)
    The car doesn't itself pollute unless the gas in the tanks has different proporations than air, but where does the electricity come from.

    If these cars ever became widespread electricity consumption would increase. The environmental-friendliness of the cars would be determined by the source of the power

    Re:No pollution from car but... (Score:1)
    by Ho4izon on Wednesday October 25, @07:55AM EST (#16)
    (User #217097 Info)
    But wouldn't increased amount of air cars on the road significantly decrease the amount of conventional combustion engines as well. The trade off as far as pollution goes would be in favour of the air car.
    Re:No pollution from car but... (Score:2)
    by Spruitje on Wednesday October 25, @08:01AM EST (#42)
    (User #15331 Info)
    Well, actually it is possible to generate enough energy for the whole world with solarpanels.
    If you put 100 square km full of solarpanels in the sahara you can produce enough energy to replace all other forms of energy production.
    One of the main ingredients where solarcells are made from is silicium.
    Guess what?
    There is very much sand also available in the sahara.
    The enrgy to make the solarcells you can get from...
    The solarcells themself.
    The only problem is the transport of this energy.

    Solar Panels in the Sahara (Score:1)
    by Monte (docSPAMTRAPtechnical@voyager.net) on Wednesday October 25, @08:48AM EST (#124)
    (User #48723 Info)
    If you put 100 square km full of solarpanels in the sahara you can produce enough energy to replace all other forms of energy production.

    I don't envy the poor SOB who has to sweep the sand off the panels every day.
    -- "Ut!" -- Flaming Carrot
    Re:No pollution from car but... (Score:1)
    by unicaller on Wednesday October 25, @05:06PM EST (#373)
    (User #228606 Info)
    Yea, just out side Tucson, but dose not use solarcells but mirrors to heat water for a turbine.
    Actually... (Score:1)
    by Ronin X on Wednesday October 25, @07:52AM EST (#7)
    (User #121414 Info)
    Actually it's the oil syndicate putting pressure on the auto industry.

    Joe Isuzu only cares that you buy his car, not what's under the hood...

    /.'d (Score:1)
    by garcia on Wednesday October 25, @07:52AM EST (#8)
    (User #6573 Info)
    we need a mirror ;)

    - Bill
    - Bill
    Mirror of sorts.... (Score:1)
    by Xenex (xenex[AT]start[DOT]com[DOT]au) on Wednesday October 25, @08:06AM EST (#53)
    (User #97062 Info)
    Air-powered cars on the way to SA
    By Johann Verster

    A car that could revolutionise the motor industry and which led to death threats against the designer will be unveiled at the Auto Africa show in Johannesburg next week.

    The e.Volution vehicle is powered by compressed air from high-pressure cylinders similar to those used by deep-sea divers. Made of feather-light material and weighing only 700 kg, it is essentially a city run around but can reach a speed of about 130km/h on the open road.

    The e.Volution will be able to travel 200 km on one tank of compressed air at a cost of about 1c/km and can run for 10 hours in city traffic.

    The inventor is Guy Negre, a French motor vehicle engineer and former Formula One engine designer. He has apparently received death threats because of the invention, which could cripple the worlds oil industry.

    Having devoted the past decade to his creation, which uses a suction "engine" of only 35 kg, Negre has licensed groups of SA investors to manufacture the vehicle locally. Up to 2 000 units a year will be made here initially.

    He says the energy efficiency levels of his vehicles compared favourably with those of petrol, diesel and electric engines. Air stations could be erected anywhere to fill the tanks in just three minutes. Alternatively, the vehicle can be refilled in about four hours with the aid of an electric pump and an ordinary power socket.

    It will sell for R65 000 and the first vehicles could roll off the local assembly line by next June as a factory employing 120 people on eight-hour shifts is to be established in Gauteng.

    SA group Zero Pollution Motors will finance the first factory outside France with Helen Brown the founder. Matthews Phosa, former premier of Mpumalanga, is a shareholder and chairman of Zero.

    The vehicle will be launched to the motoring press next week and the show will be open to the public from next Friday.

    (Caption under picture):
    Running on empty - The innovative air-propelled car, e.Volution, will be able to travel 200 km on one tank of compressed air at a cost of about 1c/km. A production plant for the car will be built in Gauteng and the vehicle could be available to the public from June 2001. (Beeld)


    "All I have is an opinion -- I don't deal in Truth." -- Jean-Louis Gasse
    Re:/.'d (Score:1)
    by rm-r (rm-r@null.net) on Wednesday October 25, @09:01AM EST (#146)
    (User #115254 Info)
    the BBChave a piece on the car to.
    Charging for air (Score:1)
    by Ho4izon on Wednesday October 25, @07:52AM EST (#10)
    (User #217097 Info)
    It also stated in the article that a standard air pump at a filling station could fill up the tanks in under 3 minutes. Sounds great but leaves me wondering if filling stations will start charging for air as well...
    Re:Charging for air (Score:2)
    by gfxguy on Wednesday October 25, @07:55AM EST (#17)
    (User #98788 Info)
    Most of them that I know already do. Well, *compressed* air anyway. Put $0.50 in the machine and get air for five minutes.
    ----------
    "Bill Gates is just a monocle and a Persian Cat away from being one of the bad guys in a James Bond movie." - Dennis Miller
    Re:Charging for air (Score:2)
    by AntiPasto (thisismyf@keemail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:04AM EST (#51)
    (User #168263 Info) http://www.thomaswinningham.com
    You know I was pissed off when I saw all the gas stations moving towards these boxes that look the same. I mean, air is *free* right? I dunno... I had to use one the other day, and it wasn't that bad, 'cause the thing was *nice* and had a retractable hose, and a gauge built into the tip. I didn't have to go in and ask the attendant for gauge, and I didn't have to mess with a cumbersomely long hose. Anyway... not that big of a life changing thing really, but I thought it was worth the 50 cents.

    ----
    DSL around cleveland...

    Re:Charging for air (Score:1)
    by CrayDrygu on Wednesday October 25, @08:24AM EST (#84)
    (User #56003 Info) http://silverlight.org/cray/
    I mean, air is *free* right?

    Sure is. And if you can figure out how to get it into your tires without a compresses, lemme know (hint: blowing real hard doesn't work =).

    The compressor costs money, so does the electricity to run it, and I don't think 50c is so much to ask for letting me fill my tires.

    Though I think they *could* stand to let you use it free if you buy a certain amount of gas. Oh well.

    --
    "I personal[ly] think Unix is "superior" because on LSD it tastes like Blue." -- jbarnett

    Re:Charging for air (Score:2)
    by slim (john@hartnup.net) on Wednesday October 25, @08:15AM EST (#74)
    (User #1652 Info) http://www.ladle.demon.co.uk
    Most of them that I know already do. Well, *compressed* air anyway. Put $0.50 in the machine and get air for five minutes.

    Sure, and those machines aren't used particularly often, and the cost is based on recouping the cost of the machine and the electricity to use it. As usage goes up, cost per-use goes down.
    --
    My route 66 active diary is here.
    Wow.. (Score:2)
    by mindstrm (spam.from.slashdot@tesla.cx) on Wednesday October 25, @04:13PM EST (#364)
    (User #20013 Info)
    glad I don't live in your country...
    I've *never* seen this.

    Charging for air removal (Score:1)
    by mrgunntm (/dev/null) on Wednesday October 25, @07:59AM EST (#31)
    (User #227903 Info) http://www.geocities.com/gunnman17/
    they already charge for air and they charge even more for the removal of air! I want a light sail propelled vehicle or something that doesn't require staying on the ground. "There's always an easier way" Gunnventions http://www.geocities.com/gunnman17/
    "There's always an easier way" ~Mr. Gunn, Gunnventions
    Re:Charging for air (Score:1)
    by ipinkus on Wednesday October 25, @08:03AM EST (#47)
    (User #238283 Info)
    Well.. Everyone around these parts would just overclock their home air-pumps anyways. I don't see a problem here.
    If it runs out of gas (no pun intended!) (Score:1)
    by Dont tempt me on Wednesday October 25, @09:00AM EST (#145)
    (User #237205 Info)
    ...can you fill it up from the spare tire? :-)
    Comedy is optimism in action -- Robin Williams
    Re:Charging for air (Score:1)
    by Master Bait (mbait@swnews.net) on Wednesday October 25, @12:02PM EST (#262)
    (User #115103 Info) http://swnews.net
    It also stated in the article that a standard air pump at a filling station could fill up the tanks in under 3 minutes.

    The car is a scam. "Travel 120km for 30 cents." Scam scam scam.


    blessings,
    Master Bait

    scam, scam, scam (Score:1)
    by Master Bait (mbait@swnews.net) on Wednesday October 25, @12:20PM EST (#276)
    (User #115103 Info) http://swnews.net
    I found out more on the scam at this site. They aren't selling cars, they're only selling potential rights to manufacture cars.

    Regarding dealership: MDI has created a unique business model in the Car industry. Instead of building a large centralized facility to manufacture 150,000 to 200,000 vehicles, we intend to build 100's of small facilities that will produce 2,000 vehicles per shift near the point of consumption which are the large cities as our vehicles are for urban application. These factories will be doing their own selling direct to customers and/or via the internet.

    MDI has been selling to investors a right of priority for the setting-up of a facility to manufacture zero pollution vehicles as per MDI patents. The right of priority is for a given territory. A population of 2.5 million people defines a territory. For example a city of 5 million people, there will be two facilities. The same investor can purchase the two facilities but shall always be the subject of a separate contract for a definite territory.

    The right for a specific zone costs US $ 300,000. This amount will give you the right to hold up to 30% of equity for a specific plant. Each plant will cost US $10 million. MDI Inc. will hold the other 70%. By the time we will start building the plant, you will have to invest an additional US $ 2,700,000 to cover your 30% of the US $ 10 million do investment.

    If you are interested, you can send you a copy of our Reservation of Zone contract for our turnkey factories together with our business plan. For Individual investors who are interested to participate in our project, we have devised another investment vehicle. The minimum investment is 10 000 dollars at 100 dollars a unit which will equal to 1/10th of 1% of each individual plant. (Each plant will issue 100,000 units) The units will be issued to no specific site, which will be decided based on best opportunities at the time of the construction. Based on our estimates, for every 1/10% of 1% of one production unit, the investment will be paid back in year 4 and thereafter a yearly revenue stream of over US $ 7,000 representing an IRR of over 40%.

    Shiva Vencat MDI Inc-Zero Pollution Motors 48 East 57th Street, 5th floor New York, NY 10022 Tel (212) 906-0175 Fax (212) 906-0176


    blessings,
    Master Bait
    Re:Charging for air (Score:1)
    by Ho4izon on Wednesday October 25, @07:58AM EST (#25)
    (User #217097 Info)
    Ooops. I'm posting from Denmark where they haven't caught on to that idea of charging for air yet. Actually most gas stations in Europe give it away for free
    Re:You pay for that air (Score:1)
    by Ho4izon on Wednesday October 25, @08:07AM EST (#55)
    (User #217097 Info)
    they just increase the price you pay for petrol. Not to mention the fact that they'll add 200% tax to the cost of purchasing it. FYI European social benefits cost me 54% of my salary every month.
    Re:Charging for air (Score:1)
    by Ho4izon on Wednesday October 25, @08:09AM EST (#60)
    (User #217097 Info)
    If I'm driving an air car I won't give a flying hoot what the cost of gasoline is. Now that is a bargain!
    Re:Charging for air (Score:1)
    by Ho4izon on Wednesday October 25, @08:24AM EST (#83)
    (User #217097 Info)
    Ireland, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Greece etc etc Feel free to enlighten me with your cutting xenophobic criticism of any one of these nations. Or alternatively just get back to the original topic...
    Another link (Score:4, Informative)
    by fishie (fishie@not_open_to_spam.org) on Wednesday October 25, @07:53AM EST (#11)
    (User #100172 Info)
    The link in the article didn't work, but here's another about the same thing. At a price tag of $10,000 I'd have to consider it for a commute to work car. And at a price of 30 cents for 120 miles??? You know the oil companies hate to hear about this stuff. So does OPEC. :)


    "Say no more..." - Monty Python
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by Roscoe1021 on Wednesday October 25, @07:58AM EST (#28)
    (User #245154 Info)
    Of course they are, but...

    elect George W. Bush, and the big oil companies will have their gimp to lobby to....
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by fishie (fishie@not_open_to_spam.org) on Wednesday October 25, @08:11AM EST (#65)
    (User #100172 Info)
    As long as there are career politicians running the government they'll have a gimp to lobby to. Who it is won't really matter.


    "Say no more..." - Monty Python
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by Roscoe1021 on Wednesday October 25, @08:35AM EST (#101)
    (User #245154 Info)
    As long as there are career politicians running the government they'll have a gimp to lobby to. Who it is won't really matter.

    Sure it will. Check out this link. Bush is known for his big oil contributors, he will stop all forms of advancement in the alternative energy fuels when given the word of big oil. They say "jump" and Bush replies: "How fucking high?"
    Re:Another link (Score:4, Insightful)
    by FreeUser on Wednesday October 25, @08:44AM EST (#118)
    (User #11483 Info) http://jean.nu/
    Sure it will. Check out this link. Bush is known for his big oil contributors, he will stop all forms of advancement in the alternative energy fuels when given the word of big oil.

    The same thing happened when Reagan was elected. All research into Solar Power a Argonne Natl. Laboratory was killed almost immediately and remained dead throughout their administrations. In many respects the Reagan/Bush administration was to alternative power as Microsoft was to Computer Science -- they slowed the technological development down for at least 10 years or so.

    The other post was correct -- any career politician will be a whore to the contributor with the biggest check, but historically the Republicans have been the worst offendors when it comes to fossil fuels vs. alternative energy, with the Reagan/Bush administrations being the worst offendors by far.
    Re:Another link (Score:2)
    by Hard_Code on Wednesday October 25, @11:11AM EST (#223)
    (User #49548 Info) http://www.people.cornell.edu/pages/arh14
    Funny, I was watching a speech by Bush where he was criticizing Al Gore's "targeted" tax cut. For instance, he cited "photovoltaic roof apparatus" (or something) stumbling in his eloquent way through "photovoltaic". This got a big chuckle out of him and the audience. How foolish! What the heck is a new fangled "photovaltaic roof apparatus". Yuk Yuk Yuk. Everybody laugh at how stupid this is.

    Dolt. It's solar power. Why *shouldn't* we subsidize it?

    Big corporations got the hurt on you? Vote Nader
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by totenkopf on Wednesday October 25, @12:09PM EST (#268)
    (User #215542 Info)
    Because once a nice little hail storm hits your house, all of a sudden you're replacing a $200,000 roof instead of a $10,000 roof.
    Re:Another link (Score:2)
    by FreeUser on Wednesday October 25, @02:23PM EST (#325)
    (User #11483 Info) http://jean.nu/
    Because once a nice little hail storm hits your house, all of a sudden you're replacing a $200,000 roof instead of a $10,000 roof.

    That is what steel shutters are for. In Germany nearly every window has a roll-up, metal shutter than can be lowered like a window-blind to protect the glass for harsh weather, or drop the ambient light to zero when one wants to sleep the day away. :-)

    There is absolutely no reason one couldn't protect photovoltaic roof cells in exactly the same manner for minimal cost. Hell, if no one in the USA makes such shutters, have them shipped over from the EU.

    Couple them to motors and, if you want to get fancy, connect a barometer inline with a trigger to close the shutters should the baromentric pressur drop suddenly within a short time. Not a perfect automated defense, but pretty good should you be on vacation. If you're at home and a storm approach, push a button, shutters closed, roof protected.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by JayClements on Wednesday October 25, @03:22PM EST (#353)
    (User #247589 Info)
    Use a good quality plexiglass or lexan. It's not that expensive, even if you have to replace it every 5 or 10 years. My glasses have a high density optical plastic of some kind, maybe use that.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by nosferatu-man (slashdot@inter-slice.com) on Wednesday October 25, @07:17PM EST (#389)
    (User #13652 Info)
    What kind of hail do you HAVE? Replacing roofs?

    (jfb)
    To spur "enterprise Linux," Big Bang, the distributed two-phase commit.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by totenkopf on Wednesday October 25, @11:24PM EST (#405)
    (User #215542 Info)
    The Texas kind. Baseball and softball sized. In 1994, there was an incident I call the Mayfest massacre in Fort Worth. Mayfest is an open air fair they have every May (go figure) near the Trinity River. Well, one day in May, the weather turned ugly, and a REALLY BAD hailstorm hit. 4 people were critical injured by hailstones. Millions of dollars worth of damage to roofs and cars. My mother's Izuzu Rodeo looked like someone had taken a baseball bat to it. All the windows were knocked out and there were large dents on the roof and hood.

    Flash forward to March of 2000 when the tornado hit downtown Fort Worth, and one of the people killed was actually killed by hailstones.

    Needless to say, solar cells on rooftops wouldn't be the best idea here.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by totenkopf on Wednesday October 25, @12:08PM EST (#267)
    (User #215542 Info)
    Ah, give me a fucking break. Carter killed funding to almost every alternative energy source as well, and this was AFTER the oil embargo crisis. It doesn't take a Republican to fuck things up, Demo's are just as good at it.

    Claiming that the Republicans slowed down the technological development for at least 10 years is bullshit.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by fishie (fishie@not_open_to_spam.org) on Wednesday October 25, @12:25PM EST (#277)
    (User #100172 Info)
    That was my point. I've yet to see a president that wasn't a slave to the lobbists.
    But then again, does the president really truly have that much power? Is it more congress? Or does it all come down to lobbists, and from there who's got the most money?


    "Say no more..." - Monty Python
    Re:Another link (Score:2)
    by Samrobb on Wednesday October 25, @12:51PM EST (#288)
    (User #12731 Info) http://www.pghgeeks.org

    Hate to point out the obvious - but during the Reagan/Bush years, both the House and the Senate were controlled by Democrats. You know - those two funky legislative bodies that make the laws of the land and decide what the national budget will be?

    Either the Democratic-controlled Congress decided to cut that spending, or they considered it a minor bargaining point that they were willing to throw to the dogs in order to get some other aspect of the budget past the president's veto. In either case, why do you presist in supporting the people responsible for cutting funding that you consider important?


    Comanage. Networking for the next generation.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by Samrobb on Thursday October 26, @01:21PM EST (#423)
    (User #12731 Info) http://www.pghgeeks.org
    Seems to be the correct conclusion, doesn't it? Regan gets the nod, though, because Democrats would much rather complain about how horrible the 80's were... and if they tried to take credit for some of the good, people would realize they should probably be held responsible for some of the bad, as well.
    Comanage. Networking for the next generation.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by TummyX on Thursday October 26, @09:42PM EST (#427)
    (User #84871 Info)
    In many respects the Reagan/Bush administration was to alternative power as Microsoft was to Computer Science -- they slowed the technological development down for at least 10 years or so. That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by bgarcia (garsh@home.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:32AM EST (#167)
    (User #33222 Info) http://members.home.net/garsh
    fishie said:
    As long as there are career politicians running the government they'll have a gimp to lobby to. Who it is won't really matter.
    To which Roscoe1021 responded:
    Bush is known for his big oil contributors
    Gore is also known for his big oil contributors (and also for investing in a big oil company). So fishie's correct.

    Gore is a major investor in Occidental Petroleum. Likewise, Ocidental Petroleum is a contributor to Gore's campaign.

    You can start reading all about it here.

    Laurel Networks. Check us out!

    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by Kool Moe (koolmoe@crosswinds.net) on Wednesday October 25, @02:38PM EST (#332)
    (User #43724 Info)
    Candidate's Wealth
    Gore sold all his stock holdings when he entered the public arena...unlike the other fella who holds a wealth of interest-conflicts.
    Gore's upper family indeed holds Occidental stock- what control does he have over that?
    There's very little comparison here, IMO.


    Kinda like Moe, but just a little more Kool
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by artemis67 on Wednesday October 25, @09:57AM EST (#186)
    (User #93453 Info)
    Sure it will. Check out this link. Bush is known for his big oil contributors, he will stop all forms of advancement in the alternative energy fuels when given the word of big oil. They say "jump" and Bush replies: "How fucking high?"

    With 60% of our oil coming from foreign sources, does it really matter? Once Bush takes office and this car becomes widespread, theoretically he could cut up to 60% of the oil supply and not cripple his family's home-grown oil business (or, for that matter, hurt the big oil companies that Gore and Lieberman have major investments in).

    OTOH, we all know what happens when oil prices go down...people start driving more, and businesses take advantage of lower transportation costs to do more. Yes, I can see a big cut in our oil needs if this technology were widespread, but I also think that the amount of traveling we do would rise dramatically to offset some (or even most) of that drop.

    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by trongey on Wednesday October 25, @08:17AM EST (#76)
    (User #21550 Info) http://home.att.net/~trongey/fish.htm
    >...You know the oil companies hate to hear about this stuff...

    The energy (oil & gas) companies don't care where you burn their stuff. An oil or gas fired generating plant is just as good as a car to them. Plus, I understand that if you drop the requirement for gasoline they can get a lot more useful product from a barrel of oil = more things to sell.

       
    - Petrified Linux-port Natalie Grits Cluster - There, I think I included everything.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by herve_masson (rvm@nospam) on Wednesday October 25, @10:35AM EST (#205)
    (User #104332 Info)
    Few more links: www.zeropollution.com , www.globalstewards.org/aircar.htm
    As far as I know (I have read article on that subject 2 years ago), they was supposed to use that technology in Mexico to replace most of gas powered taxi. More information can be gathered searching "cqfd air solution", the name of the company which develop the technology.
    Re:Another link (Score:1)
    by oznet on Wednesday October 25, @02:13PM EST (#320)
    (User #217754 Info)
    I'm not sure what country you're in but... I wouldn't want to take one of those dinky things out on American roads. I don't know about your commute, but mine invovles about 30 miles of 60-70 mph traffic. I can't imagine what a 7000lb Excursion would do to it. What about a tractor trailer? Hell, a Neon would probably splatter you. Now, if everyone had one it'd be a different story. I like it though... I'd like to see an air-powered motorcycle in fact...
    Uhh-oh... (Score:1)
    by Velox_SwiftFox on Wednesday October 25, @07:53AM EST (#12)
    (User #57902 Info)
    I can just see it, the local news reminding us not to all refill our fuel tanks at the same time lest we drop the local air pressure and cause weather changes and anoxia...
    Re:Uhh-oh... (Score:1)
    by JurriAlt137n (JurriAlt137n@whatthefuck.com) on Wednesday October 25, @07:58AM EST (#27)
    (User #236883 Info)
    Not to mention the concept of transporting polluted air from one area to another. First you charge up a shipments of cars with air, then export them to so some unsuspecting country.

    People replying to my sig annoy me. That's why I change it all the time.
    Too small, Americans need an air powered SUV (Score:1, Flamebait)
    by Hairy_Potter (T_Rone@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @07:55AM EST (#15)
    (User #219096 Info) http://members.xoom.com/T_rone/T_RONE.HTM
    This looks like a great idea, god knows internal combustion engines are very inefficient (I believe the Carnot cycle will show that a maximum theoretical effiency is 40%, unless you build your block and pistons out of ceramics) but I don't think it will sell in the US.

    Small cars like this, though fun to drive (I still miss my urban commando Plymouth Colt, tiny and sporty, perfect for living in the city) sell poorly in the US, because most American's like big ass SUV's to haul their flabby bodies from the office park to the suburbs and back, even though their unsafe, gas guzzling top heavy behemoths. I think the size and mass of the SUV's appeal to Americans, for reasons of low self esteeem, or perhaps marketing brainwashing.

    So, until the French designer jacks up the wheels, puts a plastic off road grill on it and make it look like a truck, don't even bother selling it in the US.
    Re:Too small, Americans need an air powered SUV (Score:2)
    by revnight (kg4clc.BUGGER@OFF.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:36AM EST (#103)
    (User #8980 Info) http://www.qsl.net/kg4clc
    The original article, and the bbc articles listed here didn't really go into it, but it does operate as a combustion engine at speeds of over 50kmh or so (if i'm recalling what i read a few weeks ago correctly, anyway.)

    They also show three different models of the thing...a station wagon of sorts, the taxi, and a pickup truck. (look here)

    Max speed was about 63mph, which still isn't too bad.

    I don't know how well it would do here in the states, but I know I'd bloody well buy one (and maybe another for the wife) at the prices they are initially talking about. That is however, a big if. :P
    "The things we wizards have to put up with."--Jethro Bodine
    Re:Too small, Americans need an air powered SUV (Score:1)
    by DrFardook (lycos@bway.net) on Wednesday October 25, @08:37AM EST (#105)
    (User #27432 Info) http://www.bway.net/~lycos
    Eh... I think it won't work in the US less due to the I Have A Big Penis SUV Frenzy than our geography. 120 miles won't get you jack anywhere unless you live in a city. Most of our population lives outside of highly urbanized areas which means a drive of several miles to the grocery store. Anyone who grew up or still lives in the suburbs can sympahtize (which is why I now live in NYC).

    It would be great for urban traffic though. But how much of a market is there for people who live in cities and drive only short distances.
    Dr. Fardook lycos@bway.net

    Re:Too small, Americans need an air powered SUV (Score:2)
    by cyber-vandal (daveNOSPAM@NOSPAMmungosmash.madasafish.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:00AM EST (#143)
    (User #148830 Info)
    But how much of a market is there for people who live in cities and drive only short distances.

    Every mother who hauls her lazy brats to school every morning. My mum would love this, and so would my sister.

    Dorks! - Kevin, "Ed, Edd and Eddy"
    Re:Too small, Americans need an air powered SUV (Score:1)
    by Timmy1138 on Wednesday October 25, @01:26PM EST (#307)
    (User #247577 Info)

    This gets to the heart of the issue in America. We don't just need less poluting cars; we need less cars.

    Suburban Sprawl is in full effect. It doesn't matter how efficent cars are. It is inherently inefficent to drive 50 miles a day.

    If you're concerned about polution from cars live and work downtown. Drive rarely. Vote for better public transportation.


    Re:Too small, Americans need an air powered SUV (Score:1)
    by fishie (fishie@not_open_to_spam.org) on Wednesday October 25, @12:33PM EST (#280)
    (User #100172 Info)
    SUV? Dodge is stepping in that direction. CNN has a very short article about a hybrid Dodge Durango. "DaimlerChrysler boasts that the gas-electric hybrid Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle it plans to offer for the 2003 model year is 20 percent more fuel efficient than the current model, without losing power." It's not quite air-powered I presume but you can still get your dose of SUV macho and save on the 'ole hefty gas bill that goes with it.


    "Say no more..." - Monty Python
    Re:Too small, Americans need an air powered SUV (Score:1)
    by drinkypoo on Wednesday October 25, @01:18PM EST (#305)
    (User #153816 Info)

    ...the gas-electric hybrid Dodge Durango sport utility vehicle it plans to offer for the 2003 model year is 20 percent more fuel efficient than the current model...

    A 2001 model year 4.7 liter 4WD Durango currently gets 13 city and 18 highway. This works out to 15.6 city and 21.6 freeway. Meanwhile, a 2001 Nissan Pathfinder, 4WD, gets 16/18. A 2001 4Runner (4WD) is 16/19. Mind you, a 2001 Land Rover "Discovery Series" gets 13/17, which is pretty lousy, about what a durango normally gets.

    In other words, the import SUVs get about the same mileage as they hybrid American SUV. Meanwhile, by driving a passenger car (Let's say a 2001 Accord, 2.3 liter with VTEC) nets you 26/32. Now THAT is what I call an improvement in mileage. For that matter, the 2001 Chevrolet "Impala" (I think we can for the most part agree that no matter what the badging says, that is NOT an Impala) gets 21/32 in the 3.4 liter V6 model. Too bad they don't even offer it with a stick or it would be better than that.

    The problem with SUV's isn't the fact that they burn gas. It's that people who have no buisness buying them do anyway. Even the hybrid has lousy mileage.


    You are what you do when it counts --Steakley
    A Thermo correction (Score:1)
    by Blackfell (ccrotteau@NOSPAMearthlink.net) on Wednesday October 25, @05:49PM EST (#377)
    (User #216486 Info)
    The Carnot efficency is the theoretical maximum efficency of any heat engine. The equation for this is: e=(1-(TL/TH)), where TH is the high temperature in the system, and TL is the low temperature. That 40% efficency is independent of materials, design, etc. Only temperature. (I'm taking Thermo right now).
    Written by a single drunk monkey in 30 minutes with a copy of MS Word 2000.
    Another article... (Score:2, Informative)
    by plastik55 (I_NOSPAM@read.replies_to.myREMOVEposts.edu) on Wednesday October 25, @07:55AM EST (#19)
    (User #218435 Info)
    here is an article the BBC wrote about it. It claims an initial price of about $10,000 for the car.

    Notice how much uglier it is from the back side...

    His head is stuck so far up his ass that his head sticks out his head. I'm not sure how that would work

    Re:Another article... (Score:2)
    by jbrw (jamie@zusammen.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:42AM EST (#113)
    (User #520 Info) http://the.extranormal.org/
    From the BBC article:

    There are currently two factories in France,
    with the first models expected on the streets
    later this year.

    There are five factories planned for Mexico and
    Spain, with three in Australia.


    OK, maybe the BBC got it wrong, but why 3 factories in Australia? That seems really wierd to me.


    ...j
    the extranornmal organisation - psy goa trance mp3s

    Re:Another article... (Score:2)
    by gorilla on Wednesday October 25, @12:55PM EST (#293)
    (User #36491 Info)
    Australia exports to most of Asia.I dunno if this is the case here, but it wouldn't suprise me if it was.
    My brother and I (Score:2)
    by AntiPasto (thisismyf@keemail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @07:56AM EST (#20)
    (User #168263 Info) http://www.thomaswinningham.com
    This air compression stuff kind of reminds me of when we used to act like we were propelled by farts when we were on our 'big-wheels' ;)

    ----
    DSL around cleveland...

    Its a Nerf car! (Score:2)
    by Bazman on Wednesday October 25, @07:57AM EST (#23)
    (User #4849 Info) http://www.maths.lancs.ac.uk/~rowlings
    Yeah, I cant wait to get one of these, so I can do completely air-powered drive-by shootings with my Nerf Wildfire!

    Baz

    Presssure? (Score:1)
    by Stott on Wednesday October 25, @08:00AM EST (#34)
    (User #132670 Info)
    This all sounds great but what kind of pressure does the air have to be compressed to? One of the downfalls of natural gas is that it has to be compressed to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30,000 psi which requires numberous small heavy cylindars to get any sort of range. Also with such a high pressure I wouldn't want to be anywhere near the vehicle in an accident.

    Even having said that it's definately a step in the right direction!

    Trevor.

    P.S. My inferiority complex isn't as good as yours!

    Re:Presssure? (Score:1)
    by blcou on Wednesday October 25, @02:21PM EST (#323)
    (User #119050 Info)
    While I am not sure about the air powered car's pressure requirements, i know that natural gas vehicles can run well with the presure on a full tank as little as 3000 psi.
    Water powered cars? (Score:1)
    by DocStoner (yourwifeis@myhouse.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:00AM EST (#36)
    (User #236199 Info)
    Is there more to this or is it just an urban legend?


    "Yeah, I'm the badguy. But, you need me. Without me, you ain't so good" Doc
    The way this thing works (Score:2)
    by b0z (the_boz@NeOmSaPiAlM.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:01AM EST (#39)
    (User #191086 Info)
    This is how the car operates:

    Step 1: There is a small, circular, pink bag of air that you inflate to be the size of a small cushion.
    Step 2: Place the cushion into the driver's seat of the car, preferrably under the seat cover, in a way that the small pink tab is sticking out.
    Step 3: Have the driver go to sit down on the seat, and distract them so they do not notice the bulge in their seat.
    Step 4: Laugh in a childish manner as a loud "poot" sound comes out of the seat. As an added bonus, you can say something else amusing in a childish manner. e.g. "JEEZ! WHAT DID YOU HAVE FOR DINNER?!?!?"

    As you can see, it will not transport you anywhere, but you'll be having such a good time at someone else's expense, you won't care.
    Moderating a post is fine; adding to the conversation is even better.

    The Insidious French! (Score:1)
    by Badmovies (fenris@badmovies.org) on Wednesday October 25, @08:01AM EST (#40)
    (User #182275 Info) http://www.badmovies.org
    We'll just end up using all of our air to fuel our cars. Then the French will have to design a spaceworthy version of the Statue of Liberty so we can steal all the air from another planet with an atmosphere.

    Let's just hope the superintelligent manta rays of that world haven't a clue what is going to happen.


    Andrew Borntreger
    Champion of cinematic disasters
    Re:The Insidious French! (Score:2)
    by DrQu+xum (root@localhost.) on Wednesday October 25, @08:44AM EST (#116)
    (User #218745 Info) http://www.pitt.edu/~greg4
    We'll just end up using all of our air to fuel our cars. Then the French will have to design a spaceworthy version of the Statue of Liberty so we can steal all the air from another planet with an atmosphere.

    Of course, some idiot will decide that it'd be best to choose Venus' atmosphere so that the additional CO2 and SO2 introduced will compensate for the amount not produced by Internal Combustion Engined-vehicles.
    Since idiots run the world, they would listen to him.

    And now, my 2:
    I live in Pittsburgh. Vehicles carrying tanks of flammable gases (not all gases, but most of them) are prohibited in any of our four or five* tunnels (three of which are on major thoroughfares). Would that mean I'd have to drive for an additional 15 minutes around them? If I were to drive such a car through the tunnel and get stopped, would I be cited and have my car repo'd?

    * - Offtopic sidenote: The Wabash Tunnel will be reopening soon as an HOV/Bus-only thruway, for yunz 'Burgh geeks who carpool dahntahn. Which if they lifted the flammability provision and got one of these cars, you could go from Carnegie to Dahntahn in less than 5 minutes!
    Thus sprach DrQu+xum, SID=218745. Long Live The Dead Milkmen!
    Electrics, eat your hearts out! (Score:2, Insightful)
    by Jay Maynard (jmaynard@conmicro.cx) on Wednesday October 25, @08:01AM EST (#43)
    (User #54798 Info) http://www.conmicro.cx
    The thing that caught my attention is that this car has the same performance as the electrics currently available, with a LOT less troublesome components (start with no heavy batteries), and at a lot lower cost as well.


    Note that it runs on high-pressure air, and 4500 PSI air compressors aren't that common - yet - and not at all at gas stations. (Imagine "Honey, I need to go down to the dive shop to fill up the car!")


    I have to wonder about crashworthiness issues, though.
    --
    Disinfect the GNU General Public Virus!

    Re:Electrics, eat your hearts out! (Score:2)
    by ecampbel (ecampbel@!SPAM.usc.edu) on Wednesday October 25, @09:22AM EST (#159)
    (User #89842 Info)
    The compressor is on board. You just have to plug it in to recharge the air canisters.
    My favorite palindrome: a man a plan a canal panama
    Re:Electrics, eat your hearts out! (Score:1)
    by oojah (ndrR4UTLXIHn) on Wednesday October 25, @11:28AM EST (#234)
    (User #113006 Info) http://www.atchoo.org
    My favourite would have to be "Yawn a more Roman way".

    It almost makes sense, which palindromes tend not to.

    oojah
    -- My email address is encrypted. Decrypt to email me.
    Re:Electrics, eat your hearts out! (Score:1)
    by Jay Maynard (jmaynard@conmicro.cx) on Wednesday October 25, @12:11PM EST (#270)
    (User #54798 Info) http://www.conmicro.cx
    The compressor is on board. You just have to plug it in to recharge the air canisters.

    True, and this is how you get the 3-hour recharge. I was referring to the 3-minute recharge at the gas station idea mentioned in the South African article.
    --
    Disinfect the GNU General Public Virus!
    Hot air (Score:5, Funny)
    by gattaca on Wednesday October 25, @08:01AM EST (#44)
    (User #27954 Info)
    If it was a hot air car, I could run it off my boss - finally, turning him into a useful resource. More generally, We could power entire public transportation systems simply by holding regular meetings to discuss great new e-commerce ideas with venture capitalists.

    Wheres my jet car!!! (Score:2, Funny)
    by xtermz (xtermz@hotmail-im-a-karma-whore.come) on Wednesday October 25, @08:03AM EST (#48)
    (User #234073 Info) http://www.webmonkey.com
    when i was a kid I thought by 2000 we'ld be driving jet cars like in the jetsons and stuff. Now all we have is an air powered one? Millenium schmillenium...wheres my jet car!!!

    "sex on tv is bad, you might fall off..."
    Re:Wheres my jet car!!! (Score:2)
    by Accipiter (shadSowfireP@hotAmail.cMom) on Wednesday October 25, @10:35AM EST (#206)
    (User #8228 Info)
    It's the year 2000.........but where are the flying cars?

    I was PROMISED flying cars!

    I don't SEE any FLYING CARS! Do you?

    Why? Why?

    -- Give him Head? Be a Beacon?
    (If you can't figure out how to E-Mail me, Don't. :P)

    Web Page of the company (Score:3, Informative)
    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 25, @08:04AM EST (#50)
    Here is the Company that makes the Air powered cars.

    Someone please mirror important stuff before it gets dotted.

    http://www.zeropollution.com/zeropollution/index.html
    I'm not an engineer but... (Score:1)
    by mcleodnine (mcleodnine at fido dot ca) on Wednesday October 25, @08:07AM EST (#54)
    (User #141832 Info)
    If I recall correctly compressed air may be a clean method of storing energy (provided that the compressor equipment is 'clean') but it is not very efficient method of energy delivery. Something to do with the amount of heat generated by the compressor and the diminished return of energy as the pressure drops. An industrial engineer could probably fill in the blanks for me...
    one better than mcleodeight
    65,000 Rand = $8,557.29US (Score:1)
    by frank249 on Wednesday October 25, @08:08AM EST (#56)
    (User #100528 Info)
    According to the online currency converter the 65,000 Rand air car would cost $8,557.29US ($13,000 cdn).

    I wonder if they could build an air compressor into the braking system so that the tanks would recharge when braking?


    No matter where you go ... there you are.

    Do you remember... (Score:1)
    by CrazyMadPsychoBandit on Wednesday October 25, @08:09AM EST (#59)
    (User #135946 Info)
    ... the Air Jammer Road Rammer? (I'm not kidding... that was the actual name!)

    It was an air-powered toy car I had as a kid. It had a big plastic air reservior you filled up with a pump, and when you gave it a push, the compressed air drove a piston that scooted the car across the floor.

    Pretty cool toy, I thought. The only drawback was that it only went about 30 feet before it ran out of gas! (pun is intended, as always...)

    With rocket boost (Score:1)
    by KarmaBlackballed (nospam) on Wednesday October 25, @08:10AM EST (#62)
    (User #222917 Info) http://www.slashdot.org
    If you ever had one of those cheap "air-pump + water" rockets as a kid you know what I'm thinking:

    For an extra power boost, keep a small tank of water in the car thats connected to the compressed air tank through a valve and has a cone exit at the rear. For those special merging situations you can get a fast "after burner" like kick in the pants by opening the valve. (No flames, just water spraying out the rear at about 1000000 miles/hr!)

    Serious Note: I believe someone in the 80's tried to set a land speed record at the salt flats in the US using the "compressed air expels water"-rocket approach.
    Re:With rocket boost (Score:3, Funny)
    by Monte (docSPAMTRAPtechnical@voyager.net) on Wednesday October 25, @09:03AM EST (#147)
    (User #48723 Info)
    If you ever had one of those cheap "air-pump + water" rockets as a kid you know what I'm thinking

    That a lot of these cars will get stuck on the roof?


    -- "Ut!" -- Flaming Carrot
    Doesn't work that way. (Score:2)
    by mindstrm (spam.from.slashdot@tesla.cx) on Wednesday October 25, @04:21PM EST (#366)
    (User #20013 Info)
    Correct me if I'm wrong..But having the water doesn't so much give you a 'boost', as slow down the rate at which the compressed source is depleted, allowing longer acceleration time. The overlal energy released will be the same, exactly. Water does not compress.

    If you use one of those rockets with no water, all the air comes out 'pop' just like that. with water, it takes considerably longer. In both cases, there is the same amount of energy expended.


    Re:Doesn't work that way. (Score:1)
    by KarmaBlackballed (nospam) on Wednesday October 25, @09:35PM EST (#400)
    (User #222917 Info) http://www.slashdot.org
    You are correct, but the "geared down" release of the energy is exactly why it works.

    Think of the pure air "pop" being like the tires of a car on a slick surface when the engine is given full gas. The tires spin, but the car does not go forward. On that same surface, if you give the engine a little gas at a time, you can add forward momentum to the car instead of wasting the energy as heat and noise.
    Pressurized Autos (Score:2, Interesting)
    by RisingSon (eSnPwAaMld@execpc.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:12AM EST (#66)
    (User #107571 Info)
    Having gone to an engineering school, I was exposed to a few alternative energy cars with similar concepts. I saw a video of a smaller, motorcycle sized car that worked on hydraulic pressure. The fundamental idea was that you could gain back most of your pressure while breaking. The "breaks" on the car were actually just pressurizers for some sort of bank of hydraulic piston looking machines. Then the acceleration was just the release of pressure that was built up from breaking. I think you get the idea. The original pressure was built up with a small diesel engine. The guy that developed the idea is probably a /. reader and I just made an ass of myself with that poor description, but...

    I wonder if this e.Volution uses a similar concept? Anyone have more info?

    Re:Pressurized Autos (Score:2)
    by revnight (kg4clc.BUGGER@OFF.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:26AM EST (#86)
    (User #8980 Info) http://www.qsl.net/kg4clc
    According to the website of the company designing these things: zeropollution.com, the reason why it will run 10 hours in the city is because the brakes are on some sort of generator system which drives an internal air compressor.

    This thing is actually pretty damned cool. I was really skeptical about it when I first ran across it a few weeks ago, but I think I've some idea how it works. Check out the url above for all sorts of interesting info, with a diagram of the engine (I don't think the spark plug is used during the air-only phase of operation...that's what confused me at first.)

    Also, be sure and check out their planned factories. Instead of building huge factories ala Ford/GM, they want to put small factories producing a few thousand units a year outside big cities...I don't know how that would fly over here, but it's intriguing.

    It puts out about 25 hp, which ain't much...but when your fuel is air....

    Besides, these would make dandy emergency generators. Just hook up a number of small air tanks, a few solar cells, a compressor, etc. etc.


    "The things we wizards have to put up with."--Jethro Bodine
    Thank you Slashdot! (I was looking for this) (Score:1)
    by dmorin on Wednesday October 25, @08:15AM EST (#71)
    (User #25609 Info)
    I saw a brief news story on this car about 2 months ago, but when I told my co-workers of it nobody believed me. Then I couldn't find any web links to it, and they mocked me mercilessly. I would proudly print this story and show it to them, if I hadn't killed them weeks ago in a postal rage. Ah well, at least I know I wasn't crazy. :)
    I'd like to believe this, but I don't. (Score:5, Informative)
    by Skinny Rob (skinny_rob@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:15AM EST (#73)
    (User #110104 Info)
    Well I'm skeptical. It comes down, as always, to the dull and tedious issue of energy density. My back-of-envelope scribblings tell me a cubic metre of air at 300 bar stores about 30 megajoules. That's only 8 kWh. I don't see that little energy lasting any longer than about half an hour: nowhere near the endurance figures mentioned in the article.
    Re:I'd like to believe this, but I don't. (Score:4, Insightful)
    by dbarclay10 (dbarclay10_NOSPAM_@_MAPSON_yahoo.ca) on Wednesday October 25, @09:31AM EST (#165)
    (User #70443 Info) http://dharris.twu.net
    It doesn't say in the article, but I imagine there's more than a cubic metre - probably more like 1.5 or 2. They also don't say what pressure the air is stored at.

    There is one thing to keep in mind - we've all been spoilt by e-Press e-Releases. This company already has two factories making these things, and the African government has already bought a budle of 'em. They'll be there before the year's end, by the sounds of it. This is obviously *not* vapourware.

    Anothing thing to keep in mind is the industry that we're talking about. The "computer" industry is still very immature, and it acts that way - look at Rambus, look at Intel, look at Microsoft. For most other industries, to even *try* to bullshit your customers(especially governments) would spell instant death. And don't think that governments don't know exactly what's going on ;) The auto industry is, however, fairly mature despite its relative youth(only going back a couple of hundred years at most, if you count the first steam-engine tests and such).

    The BBC could be mis-reporting that these vehicles will get 10hrs at 80km/h off one fill-up, but I doubt it.

    Dave
    'Round the firewall,
    Out the modem,
    Through the router,
    Down the wire,
    NOTHING BUT NET.
    Re:I'd like to believe this, but I don't. (Score:1)
    by Skinny Rob (skinny_rob@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:18AM EST (#200)
    (User #110104 Info)
    According to the company itself they're using 300 litres of air at 300 bar to carry 5 people 200km. I just don't see how they can possibly do that on compressed air alone.
    Re:I'd like to believe this, but I don't. (Score:2)
    by abischof (abischof@REMOVEvt.edu) on Wednesday October 25, @12:20PM EST (#275)
    (User #255 Info) http://www.distributed.net
      This company already has two factories making these things, and the African government has already bought a budle of 'em.
    Not to nitpick ;), but I think you mean to refer to "South Africa" (the country) as opposed to "Africa" (the contintent).

    Alex Bischoff
    ---
    Proof That There Is Strength In Numbers --> http://www.distributed.net/

    Re:I'd like to believe this, but I don't. (Score:1)
    by ahfoo on Wednesday October 25, @10:52AM EST (#215)
    (User #223186 Info)
    The company's page says 300 liters at 300 barr, that would be three cubic meters, right? So, your half hour figure for one cubic meter times three is close enough, right?
    Re:I'd like to believe this, but I don't. (Score:1)
    by Skinny Rob (skinny_rob@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:13AM EST (#225)
    (User #110104 Info)
    1 cubic metre is 1000 litres.
    300 litres is 0.3 cubic metres.
    Re:I'd like to believe this, but I don't. (Score:1)
    by Pokoo on Thursday October 26, @08:58AM EST (#417)
    (User #247780 Info)
    This concept was first publicized in a french review a few years ago. I can't remember when I first read an article about it here in France, but I think it was about 3 or 4 years ago. The fact is that the concept is rather good. So good that big petrol companies don't want it to appear on the market (neither governments because of taxes that petrol brings to countries). That's probably why it didn't took off by now. May be that if more and more people know the concept, it could become very popular and be widely adopted. Who knows... Bu one would have to fight against big companies and governments. To be more accurate about the ceoncept itself, the engine allows running in two modes : - mode 1 is 'compressed air only'. The endurance is small but high enough to use it in a town - mode 2 is 'air mixed with petrol', which gives a good endurance, and also an ecological engine compared to 'petrol only'.
    Jerry Can (Score:1)
    by Stott on Wednesday October 25, @08:17AM EST (#75)
    (User #132670 Info)
    Finally a use for my old BBQ tanks! The Jerry can of the future!
    Great idea, but will it ever really make it? (Score:2)
    by fishie (fishie@not_open_to_spam.org) on Wednesday October 25, @08:17AM EST (#77)
    (User #100172 Info)
    In reality, a car like this succeeding is unfortunately unlikely. They've got a HUGE battle to fight against:
    1.Big Oil companies
    2.Current big car manufacturers (don't want to change out those assembly lines)
    3.Governments of large oil producing companies
    4.Politicians who are controlled (oops I mean lobbied) by the oil companies
    5.Car parts manufacturers (have to start making parts they may be unfamiliar with)
    And the list just goes on...
    It's a great idea, but if you think gaining widespread acceptance will happen anytime soon, think again. Alternative fuel-source cars have made their way into the market, yet the above groups haven't worried about them because they know these cars so far have limits on them that keep the average driver from purchasing them. Either the cost of the vehicle itself or the cost of maintenance is too high, they are limited on distance of travel at one time, etc. A vehicle that could stand up against a regular car in performance, reliability, travel distance without refueling, ease of maintenance and cost would be reason for these guys to worry. A lot.


    "Say no more..." - Monty Python
    6. People like gasoline-powered cars (Score:1, Insightful)
    by Kohath (bwhite AT linkdead DOT com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:48AM EST (#123)
    (User #38547 Info)
    People like gasoline-powered cars. Even most of the advocates for "alternative energies" prefer to drive gasoline-powered cars.

    People are going to continue to like gasoline-powered cars until a really competitive alternative is available. Nothing has even come close yet. This air car is maybe 1/10th of the way there.

    Since people like gasoline-powered cars, people will continue to drive gasoline-powered cars.

    No amount of fanciful wishful thinking will change this.

    Re:6. People like gasoline-powered cars (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:28AM EST (#162)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    A lot of this is due to the lack of alternative fuel infrastructure. Alternative fuels are logical for organizations that have a private fuel depot, and do not depend on the public infrastructure to feed their fleet. For instance, Georgia Tech has a few LP-powered trucks in its maintenance fleet.

    For the rest of us, the plusses of alternative fuels are not nearly enough to outweigh the significant disadvantage of fuel availability. Can't just pull off and stick a nozzle in the filler neck if your car runs on LP or some other alternative fuel.

    Electric cars have their own problems: recharge time. Cars are "meant" to be ready to go in a moment's notice; the multi-hour downtime for recharging is unacceptable to most.

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    Electric cars (Score:2)
    by Pope Slackman (algore@georgebushlovesyou.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:25AM EST (#204)
    (User #13727 Info) http://askaninja.com
    There's another problem with electrics - range.
    I want to be able to drive more than a few hundred miles before I have a multi-hour recharge.

    Gas/electric hybrids seem like a pretty good alternative to straight electric until we develop some amazing new battery technology.

    --K
    ---
    Adopt a Penis Penguin Today!
    Re:Electric cars (Score:1)
    by lrichardson (lrichardson_no_spam@ames.net) on Wednesday October 25, @11:12AM EST (#224)
    (User #220639 Info)
    Up in the frozen white north (a.k.a. most of Canada more than 50 miles from the border), a local hobbyist did his van up the electric/diesel route (12 HP Kubuta lawn tractor engine, IIRC). Running around 75 miles per gallon. I think he had a 20 gal tank. That a cruising range of about 1500 miles. Also had the added benefit of about twelve batteries to start a three cylinder diesel, which some might consider a bit of overkill. Then again, when the local donut shops have electrical outlets in the parking lot for the customers to plug their block heaters in, this becomes a little more realistic.
    Re:Electric cars (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:42AM EST (#248)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    That's actually what trains have been doing for years. Diesel trains are all actually diesel-electric; the engines run generators that in turn power electric motors on the wheels.

    Of course, it's done there for different reasons: it's easier to get the incredibly high starting torque required to get a train going via electric motors than through direct mechanical means.

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    oil scarcity (Score:1)
    by Kohath (bwhite AT linkdead DOT com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:00AM EST (#189)
    (User #38547 Info)
    The we're-going-to-run-out-of-oil problem is a self-correcting one. As it becomes more scarce, the price will increase. When it increases enough, people will find substitutes.

    Economics solves the problem.

    Re:Great idea, but will it ever really make it? (Score:1)
    by Master Bait (mbait@swnews.net) on Wednesday October 25, @12:50PM EST (#286)
    (User #115103 Info) http://swnews.net
    In reality, a car like this succeeding is unfortunately unlikely. They've got a HUGE battle to fight against:
    1.Big Oil companies
    2.Current big car manufacturers (don't want to change out those assembly lines)
    3.Governments of large oil producing companies
    4.Politicians who are controlled (oops I mean lobbied) by the oil companies
    5.Car parts manufacturers (have to start making parts they may be unfamiliar with)
    And the list just goes on...

    6. Laws of physics (the big corporations won't let our government pass better laws of physics)


    blessings,
    Master Bait

    A little background (Score:1)
    by dnnrly (dnnrly@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:22AM EST (#80)
    (User #120163 Info)
    I saw a thing about this a few years ago on TV. The story goes that this guy was thinking one day that cars don't actually need more than 1 or 2 horse power to pootle around town. (Motorways being a different matter). Since he lives in a relatively quiet town in the south of France (Brignol - my uncle lives there), he could work in peace. I think some of the trials were based around small taxis. They showed all the kit he used (but not actually anything from the inside of the engine, any of the details). All he had was a small compressor in the corner of the garage that fill up a big gas bottle next to it. When he needed a fillup, he just got it from the gas bottle which was being topped up continuously. Neat little package! I can see it working well around South Africa since you don't need much to get the power for the compressor, solar cells should be enough mostly. They might fill your back yard though.

    dnnrly
    Get paid to answer questions - Mindpixel

    I had a toy that worked like this (Score:1)
    by rschwa on Wednesday October 25, @08:22AM EST (#82)
    (User #89030 Info)
    I once had a toy car, must be nearly 20 years ago now, that you pumped up and it had a little 2-stroke piston engine that ran off the stored compression.

    I always thought it would be a good idea to extend that technique to bigger vehicles, but I figure that you face some of the same safety concerns that flywheel vehicles currently have. What happens in an accident? The article says that the car weighs only a few hundred Kg, it'd fold like tissue paper in a wreck, and what if the air tanks breached?
    Re:I had a toy that worked like this (Score:1)
    by Bad_CRC on Wednesday October 25, @08:25AM EST (#85)
    (User #137146 Info)
    just what I was thinking. a lot of stored energy there. BOOM!

    I guess it'd be safer than a full gas tank though.

    ________
    You have moved your mouse. Windows will now reboot.

    Re:I had a toy that worked like this (Score:2)
    by istartedi (comments@vrml3d.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:35AM EST (#207)
    (User #132515 Info) http://www.vrml3d.com/

    When I was a kid, I had a rocket that you filled up 1/3 with water, then pumped up with air. Great little toy! When you released it, it would soar several hundred feet. It was eventually done in when it landed nose-first onto asphalt. That put a crack in the nose, which reduced performance although it was still useable. I tried duct tape, which helped some to reduce compression loss but made the rocket heavier. With performance reduced and the novelty wearing off, I eventually moved on to other toys. Thanks for reminding me of that.


    My cool .sig is out on strike until they revoke the karma cap.
    Re:I had a toy that worked like this (Score:1)
    by rschwa on Wednesday October 25, @03:16PM EST (#348)
    (User #89030 Info)
    Typical foreigner, can't even spell typical. ;-)
    Typial american. so scared of your tiny penis, that you feel the need to drive around in tanks. be a man, be tough, drive a small car and dont give a damn about accidents.
    Actually, I drive a Jetta. Infer what you like about my penis size from that, but it is at least made out of metal. I'd plow through that thing like your gigantic penis plows through your favorite crusty sock every night, leaving a cloud of styrofoam, decompressing air, and body parts. (And I probably wouldn't give a damn)
    MIRROR (Score:2)
    by 1010011010 (1010011010@PORKSHOULDERANDHAMholly-springs.nc.us) on Wednesday October 25, @08:28AM EST (#87)
    (User #53039 Info) http://www.flyingbuttmonkeys.com/
    Slow site... US mirror.

    The text is there. The images are coming over very slowly. But at least you can read the article.

    ________________________________________
    And the pickles frolicked with the waffles, joyously
    Re:MIRROR (Score:2)
    by 1010011010 (1010011010@PORKSHOULDERANDHAMholly-springs.nc.us) on Wednesday October 25, @08:29AM EST (#92)
    (User #53039 Info) http://www.flyingbuttmonkeys.com/
    Sigh.
    Try this.


    ________________________________________
    And the pickles frolicked with the waffles, joyously
    Re:MIRROR (Score:2)
    by 1010011010 (1010011010@PORKSHOULDERANDHAMholly-springs.nc.us) on Wednesday October 25, @08:31AM EST (#97)
    (User #53039 Info) http://www.flyingbuttmonkeys.com/
    OK, obviously slashdot insists on putting a space into the URL. So here it is; copy and paste; remove the space manually:

    http://www.flyingbuttmonkeys.com/mirrors/www.news24.co.za/News24/Wheels24/News/0,297 9,2-15-47_929116,00.html

    ________________________________________
    And the pickles frolicked with the waffles, joyously
    Air Power? (Score:1)
    by SubtleNuance on Wednesday October 25, @08:29AM EST (#91)
    (User #184325 Info)
    How about an AirPowered toy plane


    Vote Nader in November
    Alternatives (Score:1)
    by Bug2000 on Wednesday October 25, @08:29AM EST (#93)
    (User #235500 Info)
    Cars pollute more in cities due to the driving conditions. Therefore, lessening the gas emissions in these conditions could already be a big step forwards. I have heard about a few interesting projects, some of them are already quite successfully implemented here and there involving electric cars which could be recharged by induction. The main hurdle to that is the time it takes to recharge the batteries. However, some recent scientific researches may have found the solution to that problem. Then, it is all a question of mentalities.

    In Europe, the price for gas is ridiculously high due to the petrol price itself (20%) but mostly due to the taxes (70%). Alternatives to petrol would mean very bad news for both the governments and petrol lobbies. However, people getting more and more weary of the ecologic issues at stake (last December, an oil boat has sunk and brought about one of the biggest oil spills in France), the pressure is higher and higher on them to actually think about changes. Some (local) tests are therefore being done to reinsure voters that the government is taking care of the problem. But events like Gulf war show that there are still a lot of interests at stake for oil.

    Anyway, LPG is already a good step forwards in terms of keeping everyone happy. Some other cars use gas and electricity. But in the Information society, soon enough, the third sector will be working remotely thereby reducing the gas emissions. Nuclear electricity will little by little be replaced by sun energy...

    ... in an ideal scenario.
    Squeeze in that air... (Score:1)
    by jm91509 on Wednesday October 25, @08:30AM EST (#94)
    (User #161085 Info) http://www.johnmalone.org
    It sounds great. Just plug and play. Doesn't be the cleanest though as the compression comes from somewhere. Unless it comes with a really really big bicycle pump...
    There could be something to conspiracy theories (Score:1)
    by shren on Wednesday October 25, @08:34AM EST (#100)
    (User #134692 Info) http://www.io.com/~shren

    If you look hard enough around on the net, you find all sorts of nasty rumors that the gasoline companies have either threaten or buy the patents for all competing technologies to maintain thier monopoly.

    I always brushed all of those rumors off. Not because I thought that gas companies wouldn't do it, but because it just sounded too huge. How could the gas companies stop everyone who could come up with such technology? Where could they conceal thier "anti alternative energy mafia" that it wouldn't at some point reach the public eye?

    Maybe I lept to a conclusion. Mr Negre, if you do have fuel prices down to 1c/km, you'll change the world, be the first big thing in the 2000 history books, and I will salute you. Good luck.

    --

    States with a "shall-issue" gun permit law have an 84% reduction in multiple victim shootings.

    Re:There could be something to conspiracy theories (Score:1)
    by lrichardson (lrichardson_no_spam@ames.net) on Wednesday October 25, @11:37AM EST (#242)
    (User #220639 Info)
    If you look hard enough around on the net, you find all sorts of nasty rumors that the gasoline companies have either threaten or buy the patents for all competing technologies to maintain thier monopoly.

    What rumours? The big three had a rather large slush fund dedicated to purchasing new technologies that threatened their dominance. While bad for the average consumer, it's a simple question of the economic realities for an auto manufacturer. It would cost them more to re-tool an existing plant, than to start from scratch, as many new technologies do. So they have no advantage over someone building a completely new design. Therefore, it is simply more cost effective for them to buy out the new tech.

    To be completely fair, a lot of the stuff they purchase the rights to does end up in vehicles, but there's an awful lot that hasn't. I'm aware of a couple of cases where the invention wasn't even patented, the inventors were bought out so fast, under some of the earliest NDAs around.

    The mention of Carnot efficiencies always made me wonder why the K engine was never introduced in cars. (It is found in some larger applications). It a rotary engine (not Wankel), in which the pistons and piston block rotate around a collar, allowing a variable stroke. Still IC, but the efficieny was significantly higher than the standard model. Probably because the patent is held by an existing auto manufacturer. Still, with the huge surge in poularity in monster SUVs, the size limitation is a little less limiting, one would think.

    Try Zero Pollution Motors / MDI (Score:1)
    by Twylite (twylite@za.org.bofh.twylite (reverse the fqdn)) on Wednesday October 25, @08:37AM EST (#104)
    (User #234238 Info) http://www.eastcoast.co.za/twylite/
    Anyone firing up their local search engine should have found Zero Pollution Motors, the manufacturers of this car. Northerlight has a special report article on it in October last year. According to this site a taxi version was first road tested in Franch in May 1998. I also read somewhere that Mexico City is looking at replacing its entire fleet of 40000 taxis where these vehicles.
    And who is powering the air?! (Score:1)
    by garoush on Wednesday October 25, @08:41AM EST (#112)
    (User #111257 Info)
    OK OK. I am all for a car that will take less gas and do less polution. But, if this car needs air to run what are we using to pump air in the car? Are we not using a motor that needs fosual fule to pump air?

    This whole thing about electric cars, air cars, and you name others do nohting but shift the polution focuse away from the car.

    -- George
    Re:And who is powering the air?! (Score:2, Informative)
    by nagora (tww@[the-bit-before-the-@-again].cx) on Wednesday October 25, @08:51AM EST (#130)
    (User #177841 Info)
    This whole thing about electric cars, air cars, and you name others do nohting but shift the polution focuse away from the car.

    That is true, but it does mean that the pollution all happens in a single place where it's easier to apply sophisticated controls which could never be put into something as small as a car.

    In a related note, there are economies of scale in pollution control just as many other things

    TWW

    Not gonna sell Stateside (Score:1)
    by Srin Tuar (a5897456 @ hot mail) on Wednesday October 25, @08:45AM EST (#119)
    (User #147269 Info)
    I'm all for alternative fuel vehicles, but man, did any of you look at those french cars? I dont think they get it: No alternative car is going to sell if you can tell the difference with a glance. (Especially if they look so dweebish)

    And by the way I hope there is a shield between the driver and the compressed air tank, just in case of accident. Of course that wont console the driver of the other car all to much...

    Re. the blurb... (Score:2)
    by IGnatius T Foobar on Wednesday October 25, @08:47AM EST (#122)
    (User #4328 Info) http://uncensored.citadel.org
    As an aside, it's not the auto companies that don't want us to have air (or water) powered cars, it's the oil companies. They have the resources to either extinguish or simply buy out any alternative means of powering automobiles. Don't expect breakthrough progress until the Earth's supply of petroleum is nearly exhausted -- and then, expect those "breakthroughs" to come from the very same oil companies (a key thing to look for is when they start calling themselves "energy companies" instead -- similar to the way cable television providers now refer to themselves as "broadband" companies to encompass the data and voice services they want to deliver).

    Sad, but true. Oil companies are way too rich and powerful. And if we end up with W in the whitehouse, look for them to become even more powerful.
    --
    Free speech thrives at UNCENSORED! BBS - http://uncensored.citadel.org
    Re:Re. the blurb... (Score:1)
    by horza (ptemple@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:54AM EST (#183)
    (User #87255 Info) http://www.phillip.co.uk/
    True, the car companies will still make sure that that alternative fuel cars will rust/break down after 3yrs or so. Plus whilst the car is a fashion accessory they will always have a steady revenue stream.

    Phillip.
    Light as a feather! (Score:2)
    by Mad Hughagi ((mad_hughagi@hotmail.com)) on Wednesday October 25, @08:50AM EST (#128)
    (User #193374 Info) http://www.angelfire.com/ok3/PressureDrop
    This thing only weighs 700 kg (1540 lbs). Can you imagine driving over a large suspension bridge on a windy day? I often travel over the Mackinac Bridge in Michigan and even in a relatively light combustion engine car it can be a tense situation - never mind just driving down the highway at 70 mph on a windy day. In the shelter of the city it wouldn't be that bad (unless you live in Chicago I suppose ;) but I could see there being some serious traction problems at high speed on the highways, not too mention during cold/icey conditions. Does anyone have any ideas? I wonder if you could fit it with a foil or something for high speeds? I guess that would reduce efficiency, but it might be the only way to keep it on the road.


    "Madness is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule." -Friedrich Nietzsche

    Re:Light as a feather! (Score:2)
    by Luminous on Wednesday October 25, @09:24AM EST (#160)
    (User #192747 Info) http://www.stygianlabyrinth.net/
    The stated purpose of this first application of the engine is for a car running in the city. From the bbc article, it looks as if it may be used to replace the SABTA fleet of mini-buses that used to (I'm not sure if they still do) shuttle people from Soweto to Johannesburg. I'm sure for other applications, i.e. pulling trailers, long commutes, and rural driving other car designs would be developed with an appropriate shift in effectiveness of the engine. I can't imagine these things replacing all gas engines, but as one who lives in Chicago, I would love to get rid of all the gas burners that are used just to drive around downtown.

    It costs a dollar and is called Weaselicious, what more do you want?

    Re:Light as a feather! (Score:1)
    by Yagi (ThePhantom@scary.net) on Wednesday October 25, @12:19PM EST (#273)
    (User #239870 Info) http://www.psn.net/~thephantom/
    I have an off road race car that weighs less than this airmobile, and it handles rather nicely at highway speeds in any kind of wind on or off road. Of course, it has most of it's weight made up in frame, engine and tires and looks pretty much like a bullet with wheels. Handling depends on aerodynamics and suspension, not mass. The hideous composite tub pictured in the article will handle like a pig on skates, and if they are telling the truth about the engine it will never reach highway speed unless it is being towed. The usual objections apply to this airmobile: Low energy density, short range, VERY poor crash survivability (4500 psi = bomb), butt-ugly design, increased dependence on electricity generation etc. Do the planet a favor and get yourself a late model car with computer engine management and a high performance catalytic converter. Less pollution than a coal fired electric plant powering a fleet of these weinermobiles, that's for sure.
    Brought to you by the Invincible Chordate Pikaia Commemorative Society.
    Re:Light as a feather! (Score:1)
    by KATN on Wednesday October 25, @12:53PM EST (#291)
    (User #184143 Info)
    The weight isn't as big an issue as you may think. The Geo Metro of the late 80's was only about 1680 pounds. Yeah, you would feel it when a truck roared by, but it wasn't a challenge to hold your lane in it.
    Re:Light as a feather! (Score:1)
    by jvanber on Wednesday October 25, @02:22PM EST (#324)
    (User #170198 Info) http://www.configmagic.com

    You're missing the point here. I'd imagine you wouldn't want to drive that car over the Macinac bridge, so don't buy one. They're launching it as an urban vehicle for now.

    The problem you face has nothing to do with any car manufacturer, but rather the fact that the Macinac bridge was never designed taking wind into consideration. If I remember correctly, a SUV hopped the rail and fell into the ice just a few years ago.

    Regarding possible highway collisions. Yes, you would be in very deep shit if you were driving an "air-car," and got rear-ended by a Lincoln Navigator XL. (on a lighter note, which vehicle would you rather be in if you had a blow-out?) Looking at the big picture, if EVERY car on the road was a air-car, I'm sure our accidents would be much safer.

    Joshua
    Gotcha Suckaz!
    Re:Light as a feather! (Score:1)
    by ck1dog (anon9999@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @04:02PM EST (#360)
    (User #43846 Info) http://www.geocities.com/collegepark/lab/8481
    I drive a Mazda Miata-it only weighs 2100 lbs. with me in it and a couple of heavy parts taken out.(A/c, etc) Except for when the top is off I have no problems even in the strongest of winds because of the aerodynamics of the vehicle. The Sienna, however, in even gentle winds you can really feel it. With SUV's it's even worse. The point is that it's not about weight, it's about wind.
    Air tank rupture (Score:2)
    by CharlieG (Charlie@TheGallos.com) on Wednesday October 25, @08:51AM EST (#129)
    (User #34950 Info) http://www.thegallos.com
    OK, I want to know how many of you have ever seen the results of an air tank rupture?

    Talk about cars blowing up like they do in the movies. Air at those kinds of pressures is DANGERIOUS. And they want fast fill stations? What are they going to have, turbopumps? Oh yeah, I want a pump that runs at high pressure and sounds like a jet engine running at my local gas station.

    When the first hand built prototype was talked about last year (or the year before), we had a talk about this over on Rec.Crafts.Metalworking . Its seems that they are seriously overstating how for this car can go

    Charlie

    -- For the Children - RKBA! PGP Key on the servers
    Exploding Tanks. (Score:2)
    by BigBlockMopar (slant6mopar@I.HATE.SPAM.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:57AM EST (#260)
    (User #191202 Info)

    The following is parodied in response to a previous post that someone made about air tank ruptures:

    OK, I want to know how many of you have ever seen the results of a gasoline explosion? Talk about cars blowing up like they do in the movies. GASOLINE at those kinds of pressures is DANGERIOUS. And they want gas stations? What are they going to have, big cans of gas out in the open? Oh yeah, I want huge amounts of combustible liquid underground, right in my neibourhood.

    Oh yes, gasoline is undeniably evil and dangerous as all hell to have around. But in my experience, even when it does get free, it's not *that* likely to catch fire. In other words, the only energy released when you gas tank leaks is the energy that was used to put the gasoline in the tank. It still retains its chemical energy. The more subtle dangers of leaked gasoline (ie. pollution) are less immediate in the case of a gasoline leak.

    A tank of compressed air only provides energy as a function of the pressure at which it is stored relative to the pressure of the atmosphere to which it will be allowed to escape when its work is done. If your tank ruptures, you lose that stored energy. Period. And that stored energy will often cause the more rapid release of further stored energy. How? When the tank fissures, the force of the escaping air will help to push the sides of the crack apart the way a cushion of air suspends a hovercraft. A chain reaction ensues: as the hole gets bigger, the air releases more force as it passes through the hole, and therefore the hole continues to grow.

    Naturally, when a cylinder of compressed gas fails, the results can be quite spectacular. Rarely are things this catastrophic with spilled liquid fuels.

    I work for a marine electronics company. Many large marine engines are started either with a smaller engine, or with a large and sudden injection of compressed air into a cylinder, since a conventional starter motor wouldn't be practical at the sizes we're talking about. I was in the engine room of a fairly small tanker; the engine was a SEMT Pielstick, about 300L in displacement. The engine wasn't running, but they were preparing to start it, so they had the electric-powered compressors (which run off either diesel gensets or shore power) running to charge the starting tank. Then, a weld on the side of the tank failed.

    While no one was killed, the results were catastrophic: the end of the tank, which was by that point charged to about 170PSI, was propelled across the engine room and actually managed to perforate a hull plate into a ballast tank. The hull plate was over 1" thick steel. Fortunately, the ship was loaded so the ballast tank was empty.

    Given that this was in the engine room of an American-flagged tanker (*not* a Russian submarine!), and a well-maintained one at that, I'm not sure how I feel about sharing the road with a fleet of aging cars with aging compressed gas cylinders on board.

    I've also seen a cast iron acetylene tank, uncapped without being secured, knocked over and with the regulator and valve broken off. Sure, someone was being careless; sadly, this sort of stuff happens. 3 square inches or so of leak, tank that weighs 75lbs, and is full of gas at a pressure of (let's guess, I don't know for sure) 130 PSI...

    3 square inches x 130 pounds per square inch of force = 390 pounds of thrust. On the back of a tank that weighs about 75 lbs. For one thing, it's airborne. Secondly, it continues to accelerate until it either hits something or exhausts its supply of compressed gas. Did I mention that it was a cast iron cylinder?

    Fortunately, it didn't catch fire. But it did take out a big piece of a cinderblock wall.

    I think that's my problem. With gasoline, *if* it leaks, and *if* it gets ignited, you're in mortal peril.

    But with compressed gases, *if* it leaks, you're in mortal peril.


    UNIX? They're probably not even circumcised. Savages.
    Air compressors and engines (Score:1)
    by jhines on Wednesday October 25, @08:53AM EST (#134)
    (User #82154 Info)
    They are very much alike, with pistons and valves and what not. Noisy, hot, vibration sources, require maintenance. The humidity that is in the air causes problems when it settles out after compression.

    Having one run in the garage for 3 hours a night, isn't an improvement over having that noise distributed over the driving area.

    And improperly maintained compressed air equipment fails quite badly.

    Re:Air compressors and engines (Score:1)
    by Whalephant on Wednesday October 25, @11:36AM EST (#240)
    (User #216999 Info)
    Yes, and in temperatures below zero the motor/ parts of air-system will freeze.
    The engine can not be hot (Score:1)
    by mike449 (mike449_at_mail_dot_ru) on Wednesday October 25, @07:42PM EST (#396)
    (User #238450 Info)
    When compressed gas expands, it cools down. This is how refrigerators work. So this engine doesn't need any cooling system. It probably can be used as an air conditioner, like regular engine heat is used to heat the salon.
    we'll never see the car (Score:2, Funny)
    by geeves on Wednesday October 25, @08:56AM EST (#137)
    (User #203575 Info)
    this won't happen,, why? cause since it's being unveiled in Johannesburg, it will probably be stolen first. I hope they installed one of those blades under the driver's side door.
    don't touch me
    And lo, the mechanic speaks. (Score:3, Insightful)
    by RISCy Business (Go flame somebody who cares.) on Wednesday October 25, @08:57AM EST (#139)
    (User #27981 Info) http://www.nosuchaddress.com/
    I collect cars. Work on 'em, fix 'em, break 'em, and fix 'em again. I know the internal combustion engine all too well.

    How does this car sound? Well hot DAMN, somebody FINALLY figured out something other than (gasoline, alcohol, nitromethane) to inject. Basically, this is a very interesting system that works. How well does it work? Time will tell.

    But you could probably modify any engine in the world to do this.

    Instead of creating compression through combustion, it's direct injection of compression, forcing the piston down, thusly turning the engine. The horsepower potenetial is nil, but it's an excellent economy design. And the kicker is that, despite what others have said, unless there is a genuine combustion cycle, there is no emissions outside of what you put in. If you put in clean air, clean air will come out, in this setup. The engine will probably be low maintenance as well - you don't have to worry as much about rings failing from carbon buildup, or piston failure from using too low an octane rating. Although I wonder if using pure O2 instead of air could cause detonation, heehee. ;)

    Sounds like the best idea I've seen in a good long while. Now all they have to do is figure out how to do it in a better looking car that's smaller, and I'll buy one! :)

    =RISCy Business
    your company here.
    spread the virus
    Re:And lo, the mechanic speaks. (Score:2)
    by Shotgun on Wednesday October 25, @10:58AM EST (#218)
    (User #30919 Info)
    The only problem I see is in compressing the air. I used to drive long-haul trucks, which use compressed air for brakes (for slashdotters not in the know).

    Job one every morning was to drain all the water out of the air tanks. You pull a cord which opens a valve and lets the air in the tank blow out the water that settles in the bottom. You wouldn't believe all the muck that is in the air that winds up in that water. If the tanks aren't drained for a few days they will spray out a grey goo that's just nasty.

    My point is that low maintenance will only be moved from the engine to the compressor (another high maintenance item) and the associated holding tanks. Probably not as bad as an engine like you say, but still not trivial.


    Aah, change is good. -- Rafiki Yeah, but it ain't easy. -- Simba
    Re:And lo, the mechanic speaks. (Score:2)
    by BigBlockMopar (slant6mopar@I.HATE.SPAM.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @12:20PM EST (#274)
    (User #191202 Info)

    Yeah, guys, I agree with you completely. It's a great idea. I love it, it's the economy car of the future, but with one great reservation: compressed tanks. I've seen compressed air tanks go off, I've seen compressed acetylene cylinders go off, and I don't want to share the road with a fleet of the aging Toyota Tercels of the future, all equipped with thermally cycled, corroded and metal-fatigued compressed air tanks.

    Job one every morning was to drain all the water out of the air tanks. You pull a cord which opens a valve and lets the air in the tank blow out the water that settles in the bottom. You wouldn't believe all the muck that is in the air that winds up in that water.

    <grin> A few years ago, I got my air brake license so that I could drive the company Hino around. (Ugh. Hated the Hino. Loved my TopKick.) This was in the Ottawa and Toronto areas in Canada. Toronto's climate is about the same as Detroit or Chicago's, but Ottawa makes a cold winter's day in Maine seem warm.

    Evidenly, the moisture in the brake tanks collects, and will freeze into ice just with the drop in pressure when you apply your brakes hard and fast, let alone when the weather is really cold.

    Since the average driver lets their car run out of fuel occasionally, or does minimal maintenance, or can drive for miles without noticing the low oil pressure light, do we want to trust them to add air tank deicer? What kinds of weird compressed air fitting leaks and failures are these things gonna develop when they're frozen up? This is scary.

    If the tanks aren't drained for a few days they will spray out a grey goo that's just nasty.

    LOL.... I'm not perfect either. I have a compressor in my garage, and the bottom of the tank is a bitch to get at. Because I don't empty it as often as I should, I'm starting to get corrosion on the inside of the tank from the water just sitting there. I've been spraying air tool oil into the tank lately just to ensure that the corrosion doesn't get out of hand.

    My point is that low maintenance will only be moved from the engine to the compressor (another high maintenance item) and the associated holding tanks.

    I'm only worried about the idiots with whom I have to share the road. The people who aren't smart enough to know that a tractor-trailer can't stop as fast as a car and therefore cut them off are oblivious to the laws of physics, and therefore to the basics of driving and vehicle maintenance. At least if a gas tank leaks, it has to be ignited before you have a problem. If a tank that is compressed hard enough that it powers your vehicle fails, you and your vehicle will be airborne.

    In principle, this is a great way to store the energy required to operate a vehicle. In practice, this scares the shit out of me.


    UNIX? They're probably not even circumcised. Savages.
    Re:And lo, the mechanic speaks. (Score:1)
    by Technik~ on Wednesday October 25, @11:26AM EST (#232)
    (User #87292 Info)
    Not to burst your bubble, but why saddle the thing with pistons and all those moving parts and the associated friction? A better idea (maybe in use already?) would be to use the compressed air to spin a small turbine that drives a flywheel. The flywheel could then be used to drive a generator and the electricity would power the vehicle. That way you maximize the energy in the compressed air... you spin the flywheel at a constant speed except at startup. The wheel motors would also be the brakes scavenging some wasted power during stopping by acting as generators.

    Any engineers around to throw some numbers on this? Am I way off-base?

    - technik
    Re:And lo, the mechanic speaks. (Score:2)
    by BigBlockMopar (slant6mopar@I.HATE.SPAM.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @12:43PM EST (#283)
    (User #191202 Info)

    Not to burst your bubble, but why saddle the thing with pistons and all those moving parts and the associated friction? A better idea (maybe in use already?) would be to use the compressed air to spin a small turbine that drives a flywheel.

    Yeah, but the problem with a turbine is that it doesn't make complete use of the fuel passing through it.

    In a car, the piston engine won out over *many* attempts (noteably by Chrysler) to build a turbine car, because most of the force of the expanding gases in a piston engine is used to push down the piston. In a turbine, however, only a small amount of that kinetic energy is used to push the turbine blades and create rotational energy - the rest of that kinetic energy goes out the exhaust.

    Now, in the case of a jet aircraft, the turbine really only needs to power the compressor that runs the engine - the actual pressure of the exhaust gases leaving the engine is what produces the airplane's forward thrust. In a car, this isn't practical; capturing the energy with the turbine blades is too inefficient, and powering your car with the exhaust would cause jet blast in traffic. (On the good side, this would deter tailgating.)

    So, in all likelihood, the automotive turbine will go down in history as a really cool curiosity. (However, it did pioneer the use of many inexpensive high-temperature alloys that are used in today's car engines.)

    The flywheel could then be used to drive a generator and the electricity would power the vehicle. That way you maximize the energy in the compressed air... you spin the flywheel at a constant speed except at startup.

    Absolutely. You spin your engine at its most efficient speed, and then use other technologies to couple that power to the wheels. Let's say this is done with a piston engine. Good idea; this is why hybrid cars are starting to come about. But if the engine is running entirely on compressed air, I'm not sure if the additional cost of a hybrid system will be worth the incremental savings in fuel costs. The marketplace will have to bear out whether the added weight and cost makes that feasible.

    With a gasoline engine, the appeal, in particular, is that when a gas engine runs at its most efficient speed, it produces less emissions for the amount of mechanical power it is creating. It's not the gas mileage, though that's a great selling feature. And it simplifies engine design to meet a given emissions target for a vehicle. If the engine is running off compressed air, though, do you care? The efficiency and emissions questions are mostly going to come about at the compression stations that produce the "fuel" for these cars.

    The wheel motors would also be the brakes scavenging some wasted power during stopping by acting as generators.

    Again, worth the cost, weight, decreased reliability penalty from added vehicle complexity? Probably not. Regenerative brakes are a great idea in electric cars and in hybrid cars (which are that way more for emissions reasons, rather than for gas mileage issues). In either an electric or a hybrid car, this is a very simple extension to the system that you've already implemented to power the vehicle. The cost and impact are minimal, the payoffs are good. But, I don't see them really being important enough to bother on air cars.


    UNIX? They're probably not even circumcised. Savages.
    Re:And lo, the mechanic speaks. (Score:2)
    by BigBlockMopar (slant6mopar@I.HATE.SPAM.yahoo.com) on Saturday October 28, @12:40AM EST (#432)
    (User #191202 Info)

    Except that turbine engines are now used in main battle tanks, like the M-1 Abrams, and the T-80-something, or whatever the latest Russian model is, which also uses a turbine engine. So what is the engineering reason which makes turbines practical for tanks, but not for automobiles?

    They don't have to conform to Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) laws. Or emissions standards. They're an off-road vehicle.

    And the poor efficiency (mileage) of a turbine is probably quite inconsequential when you're talking about something that takes gallons per mile, not miles per gallon, based on its sheer bulk, inelegant steering system, and the friction of treads against the ground, regardless of how you power it.

    In fact, a turbine has a very important advantage here. The reciprocating mass of a piston engine makes it comparably slow to build RPMs, but its greater sealing makes it more efficient. While I know nothing about tanks, I'm sure they've got fairly simple transmissions that can take great advantage of the fact that a good turbine can spool up quickly, can run fairly low (if a 5,000 RPM idle is low) and has a bigger RPM range than pistons. The simpler drivetrain makes it less vulnerable to breakdown under attack, among other things.

    The performance of the M-1 using a turbine is far superior to the older diesel engined tanks.

    Probably, yes. Diesels aren't known for great speed. Volkswagen Turbo-Diesels and a few others have gotten around this, but by and large, diesel engines aren't great for torque or horsepower (which is torque over time, essentially) per cubic inch.

    Diesels are known for great gas mileage, though, because the fuel produces a lot more BTU of heat per milliliter. But they don't do it suddenly the way gasoline does.

    Diesels are known for being tough to start in a cold climate. Since the heat of compression is what ignites the fuel/air mixture, glow plugs are employed for cold winter mornings. Even so, they can be tough to get running. While jet/turbine engines or a gasoline piston motor can have trouble too, I've always dreaded being the poor sucker who gets to help someone start a cold Mercedes/VW/Isuzu/etc. diesel engine on a cold Ottawa morning.

    Half the problem is getting the diesel into the fuel pump. I've seen in jelly up. Neither gasoline nor kerosene/naptha (jet fuel) does that readily, since it's a far lighter hydrocarbon.

    Of course, once the diesel is running, the friction and heat of combustion quickly warm the motor to its normal operating temperature and all is well, even if it's -50C with the wind chill. (And Ottawa does get that cold. Don't believe me? Mid-January, 1993; the only things that started in that cold were *well-maintained* Chevettes, Volares, Ladas (Russian cars that are sparsely sold in Canada), older Volvos and stuff. Seems EFI computers don't use components rated to those temperatures.)

    You don't choose where wars get fought. Nor do you want a tank that wouldn't start easily after it's just been airlifted in the cold of a transport at 20,000 feet and has just been parachuted to troops in the middle of hostility.

    So, while a diesel engine is great for a ship or a big rig or even a commuter car in a warm climate, it's not very good for something where speed might be important - like a tank which may have to get out of the line of fire.


    UNIX? They're probably not even circumcised. Savages.
    Re:And lo, the mechanic speaks. (Score:1)
    by devin (devin@spamcop.net) on Thursday October 26, @12:18AM EST (#406)
    (User #8554 Info)
    Not just any turbine, but how about a Tesla Turbine? There is a Tesla Engine Builders Association involved in building these, but I think their focus is on steam rather than compressed air.
    First in France, Last in the USA (Score:1)
    by uslinux.net on Wednesday October 25, @08:59AM EST (#141)
    (User #152591 Info) http://uslinux.net
    Unfortunately, it will be quite a while before the US sees anything like this. In France, gas is about 7.5 Francs per liter (about $4.00 per gallon). At $35-40 a fill up for an econo-box, it's well worth alternative technology. Heck, Swatch's Smart car took off in Europe.

    But, the US has stricter standards on darn near everything. Ever try to import a European vehicle? Before you can drive it in the US, there are hundreds of modifications that need to be made. Everything from adding additional door beams, 3rd brake lights, catalytic converters, and so forth. Not only does this increase cost, but also weight. I couldn't see the original article (link seems broken), but the alternate one someone posted touts the vehicle, but it doesn't mention crash protection, total mileage on a "tank", or the like.

    Also, I wonder what might happen if you were in an accident? If a pressurized scuba tank is standing up, and is knocked over - watch out! If the valve hits pavement, it will break off. A small metal valve being propelled by 5000 pounds of compressed air is deadly - imagine if you were in an accident!
    Great, it's like driving a bomb (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:07AM EST (#149)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    Ok, so this "zero emissions vehicle" gets in a wreck. What happens?

    I for one, don't want to be anywhere near it. Why? Ever read the label on a spray can? What does it say? "Do not puncture or incinerate." I can't wait for this grenade-mobile to hit (ahem) the road.

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    Re:Great, it's like driving a bomb (Score:1)
    by skya on Wednesday October 25, @09:29AM EST (#164)
    (User #239151 Info)
    kinda like a large container of gasoline? Besides, I love a glorious death
    A metaphor: spring-powered BB gun. (Score:2)
    by BigBlockMopar (slant6mopar@I.HATE.SPAM.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @12:54PM EST (#292)
    (User #191202 Info)

    kinda like a large container of gasoline? Besides, I love a glorious death

    If your gasoline tank leaks, it's only deadly dangerous if it also gets ignited.

    A tank of compressed air under sufficent pressure and with sufficient volume to serve as the motive power for a vehicle will be deadly with a simple leak. Forget ignition; a pinhole could kill you.

    In a vessel of compressed gas, leaks tend to spread.

    If, in a controlled fashion, there is enough pressure and enough volume of compressed gas to move the vehicle at respectable speeds over respectable distances through the inefficiencies of tires, transmissions, and the friction incurred in a piston engine, just think of how fast, how far, and in what direction the vehicle will travel if the tank is ruptured.

    And if you think it won't happen, think again.

    If you rear-end a car and split the gasoline tank, chances are you'll just make a (potentially dangerous) puddle.

    But if you rear-end a car and split open a tank of compressed gas, the energy stored in that tank is going to be released like a big strong spring being flicked across a room.

    Ever play with a spring-powered BB gun? Think of your tank of compressed air as being a metaphor for the spring. Think of the BB as being a car, hurtled out of control as the spring is released suddenly.

    Finally, think of how far the BB can embed itself into the object at which it happens to be pointed.

    Any questions?


    UNIX? They're probably not even circumcised. Savages.
    Re:Great, it's like driving a bomb (Score:1)
    by JCMay (jcmay@k2services.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:39AM EST (#245)
    (User #158033 Info) http://www.k2services.com/users/jcmay/
    No it'd be like a grenade. Pressure vessels do not die in such a controlled fashion. If the high-pressure air tank was to rupture, it would completely come apart. The escaping air would continue to increase the size of the hole until the tankw as completely torn into pieces. That's the way containers of compressed gas fail.

    Liquids under pressure are different; they're not compressible. Liquids under pressure are much safer, from a container failure standpoint, than compressed gasses.

    Jeff
    I refuse to waste mod points on AC's!

    Better technology (Score:5, Interesting)
    by mr.ska (mr[.]ska[@]spacemoose[.]com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:11AM EST (#153)
    (User #208224 Info) http://in.transition.com/~stay/tuned
    As some other poster mentioned, power density is a real problem here. A compressed gas just doesn't have a lot of energy stored in it compared to liquids or solids.

    If you want an air-powered car, I think they guys at TriTec Power have a better solution with their power unit that can be adapted for just about any vehicle. It doesn't run on air per se, but it can run on any expanding gas. Steam (made by combusting diesel, gas, hydrogen, whatever), compressed air, liquid nitrogen... anything. Just imagine how much farther you could go with a tank of liquid nitrogen in your trunk expanding. I don't know the figures for N2, but for our old friend H20, it expands by a factor of 1700 times going from liquid to gas. That's nearly 6x what you'd get compressing a gas to 300 atmospheres.

    For the record, assuming their claims of 200km per "tank" and 130km/h, I'd be right there getting one if they came here. Just think how damned quiet it could be. Yeah.

    Mr. Ska

    How many ears to Trekkies have? Three; the left ear, the right ear, and the final front ear.

    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by moeman (micah@weirdness.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:27AM EST (#233)
    (User #11668 Info) http://dragonslayer.resnet.gatech.edu
    I saw a story on this car on the news sometime this past summer. They are not at all quiet, infact they are very noisy. They sound like an air compressor. In addition the acceleration is supposedly a bit squishy. These cars would not sell well at all in the US. Here in amarica we want cars that look, sound, and feel BIG and POWERFUL. These cars sound and feel wussy, and they don't exactly make up for it in their airodynamic body design.
    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by Whalephant on Wednesday October 25, @11:46AM EST (#252)
    (User #216999 Info)
    "Here in amarica we want cars that look, sound, and feel BIG and POWERFUL" obviously there lives a small bussdriver in every american...
    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by cybercuzco (cybercuzco@yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @01:12PM EST (#304)
    (User #100904 Info) http://www.processtree.com/?sponsor=24427
    Just imagine how much farther you could go with a tank of liquid nitrogen in your trunk expanding. I don't know the figures for N2, but for our old friend H20, it expands by a factor of 1700 times going from liquid to gas. That's nearly 6x what you'd get compressing a gas to 300 atmospheres. true, but liquid nitrogen needs to be kept cold, or it wont stay liquid for long. Cooling nitrogen enough to liquify it requires alot of energy, probably more than 6x the amount of energy stored by air at 300 bars. you could probably up the pressure to 1800 bars, and all it would require is a weightier car, not expensve cooling apparatus. Using carbon composites for the tank might even negate the weight problem. although whether this would offset the cost increases would need to be seen.


    "you've corrupted the Borg"

    -Picard to Lore

    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by JayClements on Wednesday October 25, @03:07PM EST (#343)
    (User #247589 Info)
    Ok, but a while back I read an article about a guy who makes rocket motorcycles using pure hydrogen peroxide with a silver catalyst. Apparently pure hydrogen peroxide is actually pretty stable, and converts to water vapor and hot air when in contact with silver. The main problem was that the rocket engins were so powerful you could twist the throttle and be left (momentarily) hanging in the air as you watch your motorcycle leave. I don't know the economics of hydrogen peroxide manufacture and storage, but it's something to think about.
    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by Maurice (williamgates3@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @06:55PM EST (#386)
    (User #114520 Info) http://people.cornell.edu/pages/tis3
    Considreing it's used as rocket fuel, I don't think that most people would like to strap themselves in a car running on that...
    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by JayClements on Friday October 27, @08:33AM EST (#428)
    (User #247589 Info)
    Yeah, yeah, I'm asking for a serious response here. I don't know the energy density of hydrogen peroxide, but obviously you could feed it in small enough amounts to be used in a standard internal compustion engine. Or in any kind of engine that uses an expanding gas concept. The problem seems to be in storing the liquid and in preventing contamination. Ok, the idea isn't perfect, but maybe it has potential. I expecially like the fact that the exhaust is hot air and water vapor. Anyone want to give a little serious thought and make a reasoned response? If you're just going to whip off a spur of the moment shallow response to massage your ego, don't bother. I'll go first: Instead of a single large tank, how about a large numbe of smaller tanks to isolate the total quantity that could leak or get contaminated? Next?
    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by Maurice (williamgates3@hotmail.com) on Friday October 27, @06:02PM EST (#429)
    (User #114520 Info) http://people.cornell.edu/pages/tis3
    I would actually prefer alcohol or natural gas as an alternative fuel. Both give off water and carbon dioxide when burned, so they are much cleaner than gasoline. Many current car engines can run on alcohol without modification and alcohol is a renewable resource (can be made from sugar). Natural gas resources have yet to be explored, they usually occur near oil deposits.
    As to hydrogen peroxide, itself is not a fuel, but a strong oxidizer, so it won't burn. You need a fuel for it to burn. Like hydrogen. So you could possibly have two tanks -- fuel and oxidizer, like a normal rocket. It's so strong that causes severe burns to skin and eyes on contact, because of atomic oxygen that is given off. Gasoline is actually less dangerous if you make contact with it or inhale it. I wonder how powerful a normal combustion engine could become if one injected peroxide as oxidizer for the gasoline, instead of air...
    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by Maurice (williamgates3@hotmail.com) on Friday October 27, @06:03PM EST (#430)
    (User #114520 Info) http://people.cornell.edu/pages/tis3
    Also, peroxide decomposes violently if heated in a closed container, so it has to be kept in a vented container.
    Re:Better technology (Score:1)
    by JayClements on Wednesday November 01, @09:10AM EST (#434)
    (User #247589 Info)
    Valid points all, and I like the renewability of alcohol, always have. The issue here is the CO2, global warming is reaching a crisis point. I still believe that the exhaust products of water vapor and heat make hydrogen peroxide a subject for consideration. The issues as I see it are 1. storage decomposition 2. volitility. Is this correct?
    Man on the ground .. (Score:1)
    by Immorphal (buggeroff@nospam.com) on Wednesday October 25, @09:33AM EST (#168)
    (User #238976 Info)
    Hi All! I'm in South Africa and I'll be attending the Auto Africa car show on Saturday. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more feedback (and post it if anyone wants me to !), since this sounds too good to be true. Converting from South African Rand to US Dollar this car will cost less than $10 000. At 1c/km for 200km would be R2.00 or less than $0.50 . Wow!
    Re:Man on the ground .. (Score:2)
    by nd (nd@kracked.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:51AM EST (#254)
    (User #20186 Info) http://demonic.net
    Submit a write-up of what happens here, and if it's interesting I'm sure they'll post it.
    This means FREE TRANSPORT!!! (Score:2, Funny)
    by ayjay29 on Wednesday October 25, @09:34AM EST (#169)
    (User #144994 Info)
    When I get one I'm going to fit a tyre valve on it, and fill it up free form the air compressors conveniently located on every garage forecourt.


    Why stop there? (Score:2)
    by Croaker (croaker@kmfms.no.spam.for.me.com (remove the obvio) on Wednesday October 25, @10:12AM EST (#195)
    (User #10633 Info)
    There's lots of free compressed air in the tires of those cars parked around you...

    Heck, I'm sure you could drain a few miles worth of air from that Ford SUV with the Firestone tires, and the owner wouldn;t know the difference...

    The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so

    Re:Why stop there? (Score:1)
    by flumps (mNaOtt.cSoPrbAy@inMterfaPcLeE-AdSeEvices.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:13AM EST (#227)
    (User #240328 Info)
    Erm.. heh

    Problem being, that once you get it out of the tires its no longer compressed now is it?

    (ps who moded croakers post to 2 without giving it funny -- shoot them!)

    ~matt~
       0
      o
       .
    > <>
    Brazilian inventor had compressed air car last yr. (Score:1)
    by Angelwrath on Wednesday October 25, @09:43AM EST (#175)
    (User #125723 Info)
    A Brazilian inventor had a fully functional compressed-air powered car well over a year ago, it was featured in an edition of Wired magazine.
    Europe does the effort. USA? (Score:1)
    by gallir (gallirATuibdotes) on Wednesday October 25, @09:49AM EST (#180)
    (User #171727 Info) http://dmi.uib.es/~gallir/
    The emission issue is no so complex but unfair.

    European citizens, companies and government are doing a big effort to reduce CO2 emissions and to reduce the green house effect: high taxes to fuel, promoting the use of public transport, small cars, low consumption diesel engines, restrictive rules for car manufacturers, R&D projects to build cars to consume just 1 litre for 100 kms, etc. etc.

    But USA is the _highest_ CO2 producer all around the world, they consume about 40% of the destilled petroleum, they like big cars and hate small cars, they enjoy the cheapest gasoline of the world (about 1/4 - 1/3 than the European average), their laws are less restrictive than european laws...

    The best policy to reduce CO2 emission to a half in short period of time is to move all Americans to an European country.

    Indeed, it's a good idea for them also, because the Euro is very cheap against the dollar.

    COME HERE, so we can forget air-pumped cars for a while.

    --ricardo

    Re:Europe does the effort. USA? (Score:1)
    by gallir (gallirATuibdotes) on Wednesday October 25, @09:55AM EST (#184)
    (User #171727 Info) http://dmi.uib.es/~gallir/
    they consume about 40% of

    Uhmm... I underestimated it, it seems to be 60% instead.

    Americans!!! Be in a hurry, park your big car for a while and go to buy the ticket to Europe. Check the airplane is an Airbus, they consume less that Boeings (although 767 and 777 are very close :-).

    --ricardo

    I don't believe this. (Score:1)
    by Pink Daisy (fingas.133+@h4X0r.ecf.utoronto.ca) on Wednesday October 25, @09:51AM EST (#182)
    (User #212796 Info) http://www.ecf.toronto.edu/~fingas
    First off, the articles I've read are contradictory; one says it was created in France, and two others say it was created in South Africa. Then there's the question of if compressed air has enough energy density to power a car. I expect the answer is no, it doesn't, and this is a hoax.

    I forget.
    If you are interested in future energies (Score:2, Interesting)
    by horza (ptemple@hotmail.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:11AM EST (#194)
    (User #87255 Info) http://www.phillip.co.uk/
    There is a web site full of these kinds of innovations at http://www.futureenergies.com/. They have a hydrogen fuel-cell powered mountain-bike, the quasiturbine engine (as revolutionary as the Wankel) which overcomes the problems of the piston engine *and* the Wankel, a computer screen that is powered by ambient light alone, and loads more.

    Phillip.
    Zero Emissions with a piston engine??? (Score:2, Interesting)
    by Marcel Waldvogel on Wednesday October 25, @10:13AM EST (#196)
    (User #219139 Info) http://www.arl.wustl.edu/~mwa/
    On the company's website, there is one page describing the engine: http://www.zeropollution.com/zeropollution/zero_emissions.html. What I don't understand: How can a compressed-air engine work with comustion?

    -Marcel

    Re:Zero Emissions with a piston engine??? (Score:1)
    by Greg@RageNet on Wednesday October 25, @12:06PM EST (#265)
    (User #39860 Info)
    Piston engines are not the same as internal combustion (IC) engines. IC engines are actually a subset of pistion engines. A piston engine works by expansion of gasses at the top of the piston forcing the piston down. Of course the earliest incarnation was the steam engine where a furnace and boiler created steam that was channeled into a cylinder where it forced a piston down and transfered the up-down forces of a piston into a circular motion needed to drive wheels. The second incarnation was the internal combustion engine where exploding fuel provided the push on the piston. This engine simply uses compressed air to force the piston down and drive the vehicle forward.

    -- Greg


    "Government is the only business uniquely authorized the use of deadly force to sell it's product."
    Re:Zero Emissions with a piston engine??? (Score:1)
    by Marcel Waldvogel on Thursday October 26, @02:44PM EST (#424)
    (User #219139 Info) http://www.arl.wustl.edu/~mwa/
    Greg,

    If you look at their web page (see the link in my original post), it contains a diagram showing a "Constant volume combustion chamber", something that looks like a spark plug, and the text also talks about a "radically new internal combistion engine". I still wonder what the want to ignite for combustion, if all they run on is compressed cars?

    -Marcel

    French Cars (Score:1)
    by omay on Wednesday October 25, @10:45AM EST (#211)
    (User #192614 Info)
    French Cars - two words that should never be combined in that order.
    The car that runs on water... urban legend... (Score:2)
    by Benjamin Shniper (bshniper@NOSPAMyahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:56AM EST (#217)
    (User #24107 Info)
    http://www.snopes.com/autos/business/magiccar.htm

    Another tale of supression of a carberator.

    In response to calls to put up or shut up, Pogue's miracle carburetor was heard of no more. Faced with the choice of believing someone had made claims his invention couldn't later live up to or that a monied bad guy had bought up a technology to forever keep it off the market, at least some chose to believe the suppression theory. That the carburetor never made it to the public, they said, was proof enough of its existence.

    Basically, two points:
    1) It is not impossible or expensive to build one's own engine. And if it were quite superior, it would be difficult to hide that fact.

    2) If this poor person is recieving death threats about his compressed air engine, have those threats been investigated? Or is it meerly said to back up and exagerate the claim. Basically, it seems like this car would not be able to travel as far as stated, as long as stated, as well as it is stated.

    I'm skeptical that a "better" engine like this can just pop out of nowhere. Unless, of course, it isn't completely better (i.e. less milage, less speed, less efficiency than is hyped.) Finally, for the ultimate in fuel efficiency for city travel, use a moped, or a bus. I'd bet the efficiency would be far greater than any system moving a car around could produce.

    -Ben
    Anonymity is a prison - Freedom comes through knowlege.
    Blow me! (Score:1)
    by NineNine (JesusChrist-SonofGod@hell.com) on Wednesday October 25, @11:02AM EST (#220)
    (User #235196 Info)
    I think it's a great idea. That way, if you go to a full-service station to refule, instead of asking for a "fill-up", you can instead tell the attendant to "blow me".


    - Oracle God
    Old News (Score:1)
    by markt4 on Wednesday October 25, @11:08AM EST (#222)
    (User #84886 Info)
    Wired magazine had this report about the same air-powered car company back in May of 1999. They reported that Mexico was going to buy some 40,000 of these things to use as taxis in Mexico City. Anyone know if this sale actually happened?
    What happens when you run out of fuel.... (Score:1)
    by MissKitty on Wednesday October 25, @11:25AM EST (#230)
    (User #147608 Info)
    1) Wrap lips around tailpipe.
    2) Blow
    Why air? Use Helium and make the car lighter... (Score:1)
    by kid_wonder (Don't Waste My Time With Your Mindless Thoughts) on Wednesday October 25, @11:25AM EST (#231)
    (User #21480 Info) http://www.kleinsite.net
    why do _I_ have to come up with all the brillaint ideas around here?

    __________________________
    What are you looking at? -- kid
    Video of this new technology (Score:1)
    by mi-KEE (michel@mikee.dyndns.org) on Wednesday October 25, @11:38AM EST (#244)
    (User #20050 Info) http://mikee.dyndns.org/
    I saw a video for this new air-powered car at www.pixtv.net in their eureka section this week-end. Cool!
    Air powered coal mine trains, very old (Score:1)
    by victim on Wednesday October 25, @11:39AM EST (#246)
    (User #30647 Info) http://www.federated.com/~jim
    In the Candaian Rocky's, near Banff, there is an abandoned coal mine. Among the foundations of buildings and piles of leftover low grade coal you will find a small coal train. The kind that goes down in mines.

    The engine stands about 3 foot tall, maybe 8 foot long. That large cylindrical object that you will mistake for a boiler is actually a compressed air tank. (Think about it, do you really want to take a fire down into your coal mine? :-)

    They would charge these up with air and send them down to get coal, men, whatever. I guess they had the pleasant side effect of delivering fresh air too.
    Protected gas cylinders (Score:1)
    by Food User on Wednesday October 25, @11:43AM EST (#249)
    (User #152798 Info)
    Everyone worrying about exploding gas cylinders can rest easy. From http://zeropollution.com/zeropollution/concept.html: "This invention, which uses high pressure (300 bar) compressed air to store the energy needed for running the engine, is protected world-wide by more than 20 patents owned by MDI." I figure they pad the gas cylinders with all the patent applications...
    Horsepower, not efficiency (Score:1)
    by Weirdling on Wednesday October 25, @11:50AM EST (#253)
    (User #147741 Info)
    I am a car guy and own a V6 Camaro that I hope to trade on a Corvette in a few months. Fact is that these highly efficient devices are of little interest to car guys because they don't go fast. While I am fascinated that it would be cheap to operate, I ride a bike to the light rail and take that to work. This thing I'd have to park, and that would be more expensive.
    My energy costs to operate the bike are practically nil (I'm overweight), and the train *has* to be more efficient than an air-powered car or any vehicle that carries its power generation along with it. The train runs off of a suspended wire system that is connected to the local power grid at many places and is relatively lossless. That combined with the exceptional efficiency of the electric motors that drive it makes it very efficient to operate.
    As a matter of fact, I'd bet that labor, not energy, is the prime motivator of the cost structure in your average public transportation system.
    I'm no real big fan of public transportation done wrong or done for political reasons, but the light rail system Denver has implemented for all the wrong reasons ended up being pretty good.
    I drive my car on weekends and for the fun of it, and so an electric or compressed air or any other low-horsepower solution wouldn't be worthwhile. My V6 has 200 HP right now. The Vette I want has 385 and weighs just 3200 pounds. HP weight efficiencies like that just aren't available in alternative energy sources.

    A society that will trade a little liberty for a little order will lose both and deserve neither. - Thomas Jefferson
    Re:Horsepower, not efficiency (Score:1)
    by JayClements on Wednesday October 25, @03:14PM EST (#346)
    (User #247589 Info)
    1/4 of all coral reefs are dead. The rest are dying, all due to pollution and global warming. You do not have my sympathy.
    Quick! Patent this! (Score:2)
    by rnturn on Wednesday October 25, @12:05PM EST (#264)
    (User #11092 Info)
    ``a full day's driving on 3 hours of air compression, with dramatically less power consumption''

    Um, did they forget about the power needed to compress the air? Unless they've found a way to build air compressors using room-temperature superconductors and friction-free materials, this is still a net loss of energy. We'd of course have to build a lot more power plants which, given the phobia that many people have regarding nukular (which reminds me of a Simpson's episode...) power, would use just as much fossil fuel as we currently do. Probably wouldn't do much about air pollution either except localize it to the power plant (instead of internal combustion engines spreading it around).

    Nice try. Perhaps an on-board cold fusion generator could compress the air? Might not work but it'll get you on the news.



    --
    CUR ALLOC      20195.....5805M

    My 'Air-powered' Car experience (Score:2)
    by Masem on Wednesday October 25, @12:11PM EST (#269)
    (User #1171 Info) http://pinky.wtower.com/mneylon
    This is from my days as a grader for an intro chem eng class; we asked the students to take a 'touchy-feely' approach to solving some problem as by chemical engineering. One group took the problems with combustion engines. There solution was, as we say, unique.

    The idea was to use reverse electrosis to product energy (that is, hydrogen gas plus oxygen plus spark -> water and lots of energy). So you have to store oxygen and hydrogen on board for this to work. So far, not too unreasonable (though r.e. has long be discounted as a possible fuel source).

    The hydrogen tank, since it's very flammable, couldn't be stored in hazardous places in the car, so they had suggested redesigning the car as to use up the trunk space for the H2 tank, moving the chassis up off the group a bit, and having the space underneath the car for where you could put your "groceries or babies or stuff".

    They suggested a similar thing with the oxygen tank but had a better suggestion - instead of having oxygen onboard, it could be pulled from the air and separated out from the nitrogen, then used in their engine. To do the separation of oxygen from nitrogen in air, they suggested a distillation column be installed on the car. I did a quick calculation and found out that they would need at least an 80ft tall column to be able to achieve this.

    So this group is proposing a car design that is 80ft tall, but you stuff all your possessions underneath it as you go along.

    Needless to say, they didn't get an 'A'.


    "Pinky, you've left the lens cap of your mind on again." - The Brain

    What if it involves in an accident? (Score:1)
    by LittleStone (shek@geocities.com) on Wednesday October 25, @12:56PM EST (#295)
    (User #18310 Info)
    How crash proof is this new car? I wonder any puncture in the compressed air tank could make it explode.
    LittleStone is a little bit stoned.
    One word (Score:2)
    by mwalker (walker@msgto.com) on Wednesday October 25, @01:08PM EST (#300)
    (User #66677 Info) http://www.nfr.com/
    One word sums up ALL my fears about this concept.

    POP!

    Actually I guess it would be more like BOOM. With gasoline, in an accident, you need many things for a catastrophe: 1) massively rupture the fuel tank 2) provide activation energy (a spark) 3) provide a pressurized chamber to fill with gas, creating an explosion

    With an air powered car, the entire catastrophe scenario is summed up in a single event: crack the fuel tank, even a little. KAPOW! all the energy that car is carrying goes off in a single burst.

    Now imagine a packed, 7 lane freeway of bumper to bumper traffic made up of air powered cars (like we have here in DC). Now imagine a semi rolls over onto one, causing it to explode. The explosion tears through the neighboring cars, causing them to explode. Causing the neighboring ones to explode. Causing the neighboring ones to explode. Causing...

    well, you get the idea.

    Ever seen that experiment where they put a million ping pong balls on a million mousetraps, and then throw another ping pong ball in the room?

    fun stuff.

    The only Anonymous Cowards here are the moderators using Overrated
    Compressed French, Cars, and Time (Score:2)
    by fm6 (isaacrab@_L_O_V_E_L_Y_S_P_A_M_.yahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @01:09PM EST (#302)
    (User #162816 Info)
    What is it with the French and compressed air? There's the Parisian Pneumatic Mail. There's the Pneumatic Caisson. They used to have Trains driven by compressed air. The SCUBA regulator, which keeps a diver's lungs from imploding, was invented in France. They used to use compressed air as a motive power in factories....

    To those concerned about people driving around with big tanks of compressed gas: people already do. A lot of vehicles (mostly small trucks and buses, but also some cars) are power by compressed natural gas -- which is, of course, pretty dangerous even when its not compressed.

    (Someone once showed me a way to take out a whole city using this technology. I hope there was a flaw in his scheme.)

    I have to mention Stirling's Draka Stories. Despite its appallingly revisionist social philosophy ("Slaveholders are people too!"), this is worth reading for its speculation as to how the industrial revolution might have occurred slightly earlier than in our timeline. One of the factors is the development of pneumatic power. Stirling envisions cities with compressed air mains, much like our gas and electric mains.

    __________
    Warning! Minion of the Corporate Elite!

    Re:Compressed French, Cars, and Time (Score:2)
    by mindstrm (spam.from.slashdot@tesla.cx) on Wednesday October 25, @04:26PM EST (#368)
    (User #20013 Info)
    No flaw. Fuel-air explosions are very real and very deadly.


    Blowing up a city (Score:2)
    by fm6 (isaacrab@_L_O_V_E_L_Y_S_P_A_M_.yahoo.com) on Thursday October 26, @10:57AM EST (#421)
    (User #162816 Info)
    That much I know. The trick is to deliver a large amount of pressurized gas to an urban location. My friend thought he knew how. I rather think he was wrong, because nobody's tried it yet.

    __________
    Warning! Minion of the Corporate Elite!

    This Car is a Deathtrap (Score:1)
    by Jyminator on Wednesday October 25, @01:11PM EST (#303)
    (User #226302 Info)
    Unlike most people here, I work in the automotive business. Engine Designer in fact. Here are some misconceptions that seem to be prevalent here on this thread. 1.) First off, you dont want to be in a crash on a 700kg car. Lightweight cars like subcompacts have the highest casualty rates in accidents 2.) Dont think for a minute that companies like Ford and GM wantto kill stuff like this. I know we would pay billions of dollars for a no emission engine. When you look at the all the engineering costs to remain within CAFE restrictions and emission standards an actual low weight zero emission engine would double our profits almost. But so far none of these engines have proven themselves reliable or efficient 3.) Look at all the companies that are trying to bring fuel cells to the market. Look at who the major stakeholders are. The Oil companies have plenty to lose from alternative fuel engines, but Detroit doesnt.
    Bogus (Score:3, Informative)
    by Animats (slashdot-replies@downside.com) on Wednesday October 25, @01:35PM EST (#310)
    (User #122034 Info) http://www.animats.com
    Here's the company's web site.

    This car doesn't run on compressed air. It runs on gasoline or diesel fuel. The compressed air tank is used to provide supercharging for an internal combustion engine of unusual design. It's a highly supercharged lean-burn engine, but that's not "zero pollution". There are no reports of third-party tests of the engine, although prototype vehicles are pictured. (You'd think that if it worked they'd at least drive it to a service station that has smog-measurement equipment.) It's not clear why this arrangement is supposed to be better than an ordinary supercharger.

    Nor does the factory exist. They're still trying to get financing. They claim to be able to build a factory for $8 million, which is very low for an auto plant.

    Something is bogus here.

    Re:Bogus (Score:1)
    by KeckOS (keckos@email.com) on Wednesday October 25, @06:01PM EST (#379)
    (User #64269 Info)
    Actually, it says here that it runs on compressed air at speeds under 60km/h (37mph) and on "traditional fuel" at higher speeds. Actually a cool feature, to be able to switch like that...

    Isn't a "digital nervous system" a scary thing to buy from a company known as MS?
    Re:Bogus (Score:1)
    by Tsujigiri (dbyrne@techie.com) on Thursday October 26, @12:20AM EST (#407)
    (User #77400 Info) file:///dev/null
    Actually, it says here that it runs on compressed air at speeds under 60km/h (37mph) and on "traditional fuel" at higher speeds. Actually a cool feature, to be able to switch like that...

    Very cool but it actually says: "A version of MDI engine can, in addition to air, also function with the use of traditional fuel; petrol, diesel, natural or town gas, at very low consumption levels. The change of source of energy is handled electronically based on the speed of the vehicle; e.g. below 60 km/h it runs on air and higher speeds it runs on fuel."

    So this would indicate that the standard system runs on Air alone. And the BBC article says that there will be three production facillities in Australia!!!

    Cool.


    Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? -T. S. Eliot

    Re:Bogus (Score:1)
    by Boulder Geek on Wednesday October 25, @07:57PM EST (#397)
    (User #137307 Info)
    Something is bogus here.

    Yes, something is bogus, namely the moderators that marked the above post informative.

    The hybrid air/combustion engine was mentioned as a possibility, current models are completely compressed air powered. The "plant" page refers to a "turnkey factory" that is licensed to local producers of the vehicles. A demonstration plant s/was under construction in Brignoles, France. Its unclear what the present tense of the web site is.

    And it isn't a supercharger. It doesn't use the mechanical energy of the engine to drive the compressor. Nor is it a turbocharger, which uses exhaust pressue.

    As for $8M a factory, yes that's low for a conventional automobile factory, but I have yet to seen anything conventional about this design.

    I'm rather skeptical myself, but not for the reasons stated in the above post, because I at least bother to read all 1000 or so English words on their site. I have questions about the safety of the compressed air storage, and also the durability of the product, but the inventors appear to be both sane and sincere.

    Re:Bogus (Score:2)
    by Animats (slashdot-replies@downside.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:25PM EST (#403)
    (User #122034 Info) http://www.animats.com
    The functioning of the engine isn't really clear from the company's web page. The drawing shows an "air injector", which I took as being a means for inserting high pressure air into the combustion chamber. But it's more likely that it's an air-powered fuel injector driven from an external compressed air source, something that's been used before on Diesels. The drawing of the injector looks like one.

    Whether the first factory exists isn't clear from the web site, but since the only factory picture shown is an architectural rendering, I doubt it.

    Re: engine modes allowed by this concept (Score:1)
    by Pokoo on Thursday October 26, @11:27AM EST (#422)
    (User #247780 Info)
    The concept allows the engine to run in two modes :

    - mode 1 is 'compressed air only'. The endurance is small but high enough to use it in a town

    - mode 2 is 'air mixed with petrol', which gives a good endurance, and also an ecological engine compared to 'petrol only'.

    I had one of these as a kid! (Score:2)
    by localman on Wednesday October 25, @01:54PM EST (#314)
    (User #111171 Info) http://www.binadopta.com/
    Does anyone remember those toy cars that were powered by air? They looked like little dune buggies with a canister mounted where the driver would go. They had a little clear plastic piston engine, and you would pump them up with an included mini bicycle pump. A little push would start the engine and they'd put-put-put across the room - maybe 10 meters if you were lucky.

    Those were very cool - and I remember at the time wondering if they could make real cars like that. I forgot about it until just now :)

    I can't remember what they were called or who made them. Anyone?

    Re:I had one of these as a kid! (Score:1)
    by pokrefke (pokrefke@yahoo.NO.com) on Wednesday October 25, @03:20PM EST (#351)
    (User #146856 Info)
    The toy was called Air Jammer. I think I took mine apart (like I did most of my toys) but failed to find time to put it back together (the same fate that undid much of my toy collection). The front axle was a straight piece of metal that was held in place by detents in the plastic, thus providing the steering.


    Audentes Fortuna Iuvat
    As mentioned... (Score:2)
    by cr0sh (andrewa@phoenixgarage.NOSPAM.org) on Wednesday October 25, @06:12PM EST (#382)
    (User #43134 Info) http://www.phoenixgarage.org/
    It was called the Air Jammer - by TOMY.

    Air Hogs from Spinmaster Toys are similar, but use the air to spin a prop for a free-flight toy airplane (BTW, the site isn't there anymore - does anyone have a clue what happened to them?). I bought one of these when they first came out, and I was impressed (damn fun to fly!)...

    Recently I was at a Wal-mart and noticed that this other company (can't remember who) started making the Air Jammer again - except they don't call it as such. It is the exact same car - I own an original Air Jammer (with box, bought it off of Ebay for $15.00 - I collect 80's TOMY), and this car was exactly the same - they either bought or licensed the patents from TOMY.

    IOW, they are still available. Air powered machines aren't new things, esp on the toy front. You used to be able to get compressed air engines for radio control and free-flight model planes (back in 20's-40's), not sure if they are still available or not...

    I support the EFF - do you?
    Cr0sh the F0ckers!
    Update... (Score:2)
    by cr0sh (andrewa@phoenixgarage.NOSPAM.org) on Wednesday October 25, @06:22PM EST (#384)
    (User #43134 Info) http://www.phoenixgarage.org/
    I just found something out on Spinmaster Toys. I am not sure what is happening, maybe their site domain name was infringing on something or another (who knows these days - probably had to do with the fishing reel manufacturer!). Anyhow, a couple of links:

    This link auto-forwards you to here, which proclaims to be a new home for "A retail site for air powered glider planes" - which sounds like it may be the real case, not sure...

    WHOIS lists a Richard Giardini - but this guy doesn't appear connected with the company. I don't know if they have gone out-of-business, or what...

    I support the EFF - do you?
    Cr0sh the F0ckers!
    I've had one of these for years. (Score:1)
    by fish500 (bill_gates@farts.com) on Wednesday October 25, @02:01PM EST (#318)
    (User #208702 Info) http://quotes.frinky.com
    Five or six 7-layer burritos and my skateboard. Boom! Breakin' like the wind. Now that's an air car.


    It's alright, it's okay. There's something to live for. - Uncle Bill
    It's the roads! (Score:1)
    by grvsmth on Wednesday October 25, @02:25PM EST (#327)
    (User #247601 Info)
    ...and the parking lots, and the malls... Someone once said "even if they make a car that runs on farts and emits pure water, we'll still have to deal with sprawl." Sounds like we're pretty close to a car that runs on farts, but that ain't gonna make this country safe to walk again... Alternative-fuel cars are a massive red herring. Alt-fuel buses, maybe...
    aww man its powered by air? (Score:1)
    by piku on Wednesday October 25, @02:32PM EST (#330)
    (User #161975 Info) http://www.explusalpha.com
    I was hoping it would be powered by the french themselves.
    I am a sleeping giant (Score:2)
    by Kartoffel on Wednesday October 25, @02:40PM EST (#334)
    (User #30238 Info)
    Sounds like a good idea, but you've got to consider that compressed gas can be dangerous. My friends and I used to build compressed-air powered spud cannons that would throw a potato several hundred yards with less than 100 psi.

    Any one remember seeing this one around?:

    The Sleeping Giant
    I am a high pressure, compressed gas cylinder.
    I stand 57 inches tall.
    I am 9 inches in diameter.
    I weigh in at 155 pounds when filled.
    I am pressurized at 2,200 pounds per square inch (psi).
    I have a wall thickness of about 1/4 inch.
    I wear a regulator and hose when at work.
    I wear a label to identify the gas I am holding. My color is not the answer.
    I transform miscellaneous stacks of material into glistening ships and many other things - when properly used.
    I transform glistening ships and many other things into miscellaneous stacks of material - when allowed to unleash my fury unchecked, I can be ruthless and deadly in the hands of the careless and uninformed.
    I am too frequently left standing alone on my small base without other visible means of support - my cap removed by an unthinking worker.
    I am ready to be toppled over - when my naked valve can be damaged or even snapped off - and all my power unleashed through an opening no larger than a lead pencil.
    I am still proud of my capabilities - here are a few of them:
        I have on rare occasions been known to jet away - faster than any dragster.
        I might smash my way through brick walls.
        I might even fly through the air.
        I may spin, ricochet, crash and slash through anything in my path.
    You can be my master, but only under these terms:
        Full or empty - see to it that my cap is on, straight and snug.
        Never -repeat- never leave me standing alone. Secure me so that I cannot fall.
    --
    Functional, Secure, Free: choose 3. OpenBSD
    What does it use for an electrical system? (Score:1)
    by embo on Wednesday October 25, @02:53PM EST (#339)
    (User #133713 Info)
    I don't think any of the articles mentioned this. What would this vehicle use to power its electric necessities? You need to have headlights, turn signals, a radio would be nice, a DVD player that pops out of the headliner to show Bugs Bunny clips, etc. Maybe a battery and some sort of alternator?
    Oh GREAT... (Score:1)
    by fritter on Wednesday October 25, @04:11PM EST (#362)
    (User #27792 Info)
    Now oil companies are going to figure out a way to overcharge us for AIR.
    Runing an infernal combustion engine on water (Score:1)
    by Dollyknot (peter.turlandspam@spamvirgin.net) on Wednesday October 25, @07:03PM EST (#387)
    (User #216765 Info)
    The solution is on its way, if you read here They still have not worked out how photosynthesis does what it does. You can come up with as many cute solutions as you like to the environmental problems caused by our species, if compressing air creates polution, then this is not a solution. I'm not that mathematically literate, perhaps someone has the necessary equations, what I envision is, if you can use photosynthesis to extract hydrogen from water you can then use that to power an infernal combustion engine, with the right carburetta mods. So my idea is something like an artificial leaf type thing that sits on top of your car, if the system is closed ie. the water from the exhaust being fed back up to the leaf. As I said before I don't have the math to work it out. But it would be doable if the leaf didn't have to be too big, the point is, could the current ;-) efficiency of photo voltaic cells be beaten by this route. If you have not got the drift of what I'm saying, think about the energy conversion factor of a giant redwood.

    Peter.
    Re:Runing an infernal combustion engine on water (Score:1)
    by Dollyknot (peter.turlandspam@spamvirgin.net) on Wednesday October 25, @07:21PM EST (#390)
    (User #216765 Info)
    Forgot to say, retooling has an environmental overhead as well, put bluntly, if we have to trash our old chariots, and replace them with new air driven chariots, the amount of polution created in the process of recreation, defeats the object of the argument.

    Peter.
    I have a better idea (Score:1)
    by mike449 (mike449_at_mail_dot_ru) on Wednesday October 25, @07:36PM EST (#392)
    (User #238450 Info)
    Honda already markets a combination vehicle: small and efficient internal combustion engine charging a moderate-size battery, and the main motor is electrical. One can use compressed air as the temporary "buffer" storage as well. The main storage would still be a tank of gas or diesel, and the main engine in this case pneumatic. This is probably less efficient (the pneumatic-only vehicle, too), because air compression is not 100% efficient. A lot of energy is wasted because the air is heated during the compression and then cools down to ambient temperature.
    Let the free market speak for itself (Score:1)
    by omnirealm on Wednesday October 25, @07:38PM EST (#393)
    (User #244599 Info)
    In what way are the auto companies keeping alternatively-powered cars out of our hands? If a car powered by alternative means were a viable substitution for a gas-powered car, then there would be a demand for such a thing, and thus there would be a profit to be made. The auto makers could care less about OPEC's cartel. The fact that the Geo Metro exists proves this point. So why aren't they making alternatively-powered cars? Because we don't want them! If we wanted them, either the current auto makers would sport a line of alternatively-powered cars, or firms would enter the market providing these cars, because there would be a profit to be made. This works because people covet profits. Let's not be too quick to judge the auto makers for our current lack of alternatively-powered vehicles.
    Air-Jammer! (Score:1)
    by Zerothis (zerothis@northSpAmPrOoFcoast.com) on Thursday October 26, @03:20PM EST (#425)
    (User #106974 Info) http://homepages.go.com/~zerothisis
    Doesn't anybody remember Air Jammers?
    That's Incredible!!! (Score:1)
    by ArhcAngel (YdontUjust@byteme.com) on Thursday October 26, @04:46PM EST (#426)
    (User #247594 Info)
    Maybe I'm just too old to be in this discussion :) but I remember a story on the now long forgotten TV program "That's Incredible" (over 20 years ago I think [I was only 10]) A guy had a working compressed air engine. It had some type of compressor built into it to self regenerate. I tried finding more out about him but he QUICKLY dissapeared once the story aired. Guess it just goes to show, you shouldn't come up with a better mouse trap unless you can keep from getting squished by the current oil....err I mean mouse trap makers.
    Just an humble observation.
    Re:Annoying post (Score:1)
    by darkonc on Wednesday October 25, @08:00AM EST (#33)
    (User #47285 Info)
    .... (not as good as first sex (with Natalie Portman - ah the innocent virgin)

    If you think Natalie Portman is an innocent virgin, you're probably more innocent than you think she is!
    Re:sadness (Score:1)
    by plastik55 (I_NOSPAM@read.replies_to.myREMOVEposts.edu) on Wednesday October 25, @08:05AM EST (#52)
    (User #218435 Info)
    How about an air powered bike/scooter? Surely that would have some market value for people. I have a lot of friends who commute on motorcycles partly because of the fuel economy. This would be even better.

    His head is stuck so far up his ass that his head sticks out his head. I'm not sure how that would work

    Bikes ain't all that good. (Score:1)
    by Colin Smith on Wednesday October 25, @09:09AM EST (#150)
    (User #2679 Info)
    They're certainly better than most cars but you're only talking 50-60mpg on a 500-600cc bike.

    Course 0-60 in 4 seconds doesn't give you 50mpg.
    Aahhh.... The pressure....
    Re:The good stuff (Score:1)
    by Claymore on Wednesday October 25, @08:37AM EST (#107)
    (User #9974 Info)
    Nuclear cars? There's already been one, by Ford, I think. Worked well, but it was shelved because of concerns about the waste.
    Mentioning Natalie Portman is counterproductive (Score:1)
    by yerricde (slash@pineight.8m.spam : s/spam/com/) on Wednesday October 25, @08:45AM EST (#121)
    (User #125198 Info) http://www.pineight.com/

    not as good as first sex (with Natalie Portman - ah the innocent virgin)

    Hey trolls -- mentioning Natalie Portman here is counterproductive. Not only are they Offtopic and Redundant, but Natalie Portman works for an MPAA studio.


    freepuzzlearena|GNOME vs KDE game
    Re:Hrmmph. (Score:1)
    by Gonarat (gonarat@nospamatyahoo.com) on Wednesday October 25, @10:59AM EST (#219)
    (User #177568 Info)
    Pity. I was waiting for a plutonium-powered DeLorean with the Mr. Fusion engine, but perhaps air will have to do...

    Doc Brown spend all that time and money on the Mr. Fusion engine, but the DeLorean still needed gas (or a train) to get it up to 88 MPH. Perhaps you can buy a air powered car with the Flux Capacitor Option...just make sure it will do 88!


     
     
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