Tuesday, November 11, 2008

New Car Runs on Air

While the big car makers are plowing billions into trying to develop the car of the future - such as hybrids (which President-elect Obama wants to have his new government start using), hydrogen fuel cells (which might not ever work as envisioned), clean diesels (being developed in the EU) ... one very talented inventor -- a former Formula One engineer and his son in France - have developed a car that runs on air.

The car will start rolling off the production lines this year - with the no-frills model going for around €3,500. The car runs on compressed air - which you can get at any filling station for next to nothing ... or if you own your own air compressor - you can fill it up when you get home. One fill up will let you run the car for around 200 km and has a top speed of 110 km - making it a great car for around town.

This is a really marvelous idea -- which has been in development for some years. So why isn't there more information about it -- or why aren't the big auto makers jumping into this technology?

Normally - when you read about new automotive ideas like this one - you would expect that the idea would quickly die out. But perhaps not in this case.

Why? Because the Tatas - the leading car manufacturer in India who also happen to be billionaires - are investing into this new company. In fact they are currently in the process of setting up production lines and expect to start selling the first units this year in India.

The Tatas, who are of Parsee descent (Persian), are very acute businessmen and lovely people. I was introduced to the Tata family in the late 70's by Biki Oberoi, the founder of the super luxury Oberoi hotels at a party he threw at his country estate outside of Delhi. Quite a party by the way.

Some years later, Ambassador (to Italy) Jai Atal (a cousin of Indira Gandhi) introduced me to Rajan Tata (now CEO of the Tata holding company) in the 80's to discuss purchasing Italian steel companies - which has since taken place.

Instead of reading in the news about a big bailout for the big automakers in the USA -- so they can make and sell more SUVs and trucks, boring, boring, boring,why not invest in the real car of the future? After all, we're not about to run out of air anytime soon -- and there's zero pollution. At such a low price - why wouldn't you want one?

Alright, the design still needs some work -- but hey ... just give Steve Jobs a call or the other designing genius Guigiaro from Turin.

Can you imagine the iCar ... with a super cool design, great sound system, etc. (ok -- my husband wrote this part ... but he's probably right -- unbeatable idea).

To see a way cool video about this car - click on the link below, courtesy of Brasschecks TV.



  1. Surely you haven't overlooked the obvious joke about powering all of America's natural gas needs by hooking up a pipe to Rahm Emanuel's mouth? But then Israel might be able to impose an export tariff on it.

  2. By the way, just after I wrote that, I imagined the English cartoonist James Gillray (active early 1800s; Cinzia surely knows of him) depicting the scene.

    In particular I'm thinking of this Gillray cartoon of Napoleon, a copy of which I used to own, until an unfortunate accident destroyed it. Must get a replacement someday. Here:


  3. Doesn't Tata Motors have a big investment in Ford Motors?


Isabel Van Fechtmann

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