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(Daily Mail)   Old and busted: Electric cars. New hotness: Cars that run on air   (dailymail.co.uk ) divider line
    More: Interesting, electric cars, hybrid cars, artificial brain, compressed air, Peugeot, PSA Peugeot Citroen, internal-combustion engines  
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2546 clicks; posted to Geek » on 27 Feb 2014 at 11:49 AM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-02-27 08:32:28 AM  
I guess that would be better than batteries as it doesn't degrade.
 
2014-02-27 08:46:57 AM  
Why a gas/air hybrid instead of an electric/air hybrid?

I imagine this thing only works as a hybrid technology.  You're going to need a pretty big air tank to get any decent mileage from an air-only engine, so it's a little inaccurate to state this as a replacement for "electric cars"
 
2014-02-27 08:50:14 AM  
I guess they won't work in China.
 
2014-02-27 08:51:19 AM  
It's always good to keep a couple spare balloon animals in the trunk in case you run out of compressed air.
 
2014-02-27 09:54:17 AM  
New level 2 Hotness: Car that is powered by poo
 
2014-02-27 10:00:57 AM  

serial_crusher: Why a gas/air hybrid instead of an electric/air hybrid?


Batteries, a air compression tank and a gas tank all take up considerable space. Also, each have separate costs and energy capacities. Certainly a vehicle could use a combination of all three, once cost and efficiency and space are taken into account the most efficient overall choices will continue to use gas as a secondary tank since gas continues to have a higher energy density.

But, since this already has a compression tank, I wonder if it's possible for a vehicle to use both air and natural gas using a shared tank.
 
2014-02-27 10:05:58 AM  
Air Hogs?
 
2014-02-27 10:13:37 AM  
There is no gas shortage man. It's all fake. The oil companies control everything. Like there is this guy that invented this car and it runs on water man. It's got a fiberglass air-cooled engine and it runs on water!

mtv.mtvnimages.com
 
2014-02-27 11:14:39 AM  
"Runs on petrol and air"

...isn't that how most cars work?
 
2014-02-27 11:16:10 AM  

unlikely: "Runs on petrol and air"

...isn't that how most cars work?


Okay, after reading TFA it's kinda cool
 
2014-02-27 11:35:03 AM  
I like the idea of a catastrophic explosion when the air tank fails in a crash. The idea of high speed shrapnel being part of the danger equation has a lot of appeal.
 
2014-02-27 11:51:36 AM  
Pfft. It'll never work. Seriously, there's no driver's seat, no steering wheel, and there's a huge hole in the chassis!
 
2014-02-27 11:52:55 AM  
On a more serious note, they have a compressed air cylinder directly next to the exhaust muffler... You know, the thing that gets really, really hot. Next to a pressure vessel. Nope, that can't end well.
 
2014-02-27 11:53:44 AM  
Came here for picture of Tatas, left disappointed.
 
2014-02-27 11:58:07 AM  
New? This has been proposed and proto'd many times over the decades (but this one is sort of cool, too).
 
2014-02-27 11:58:12 AM  
How does the air get compressed in the first place?  Magic?

Assuming it's an electric compressor, wouldn't this still essentially be a less-efficient electric car?

Or, even better, if it's a diesel-powered generator that compresses the air for the petroleum --> electricity --> compressed air efficiency-loss trifecta.
 
2014-02-27 12:03:50 PM  

lardweasel: Assuming it's an electric compressor, wouldn't this still essentially be a less-efficient electric car?


It's the storage they're saving on.  Batteries aren't cheap, and compressed air retains its energy density forever*.

*You know what I mean.
 
2014-02-27 12:08:56 PM  
Not a repeat from 1932
blog.modernmechanix.com
 
2014-02-27 12:11:03 PM  
Peugeot. French for "Engineer on Vacation".
 
2014-02-27 12:12:45 PM  

pkellmey: New? This has been proposed and proto'd many times over the decades (but this one is sort of cool, too).

Yeah, seen this a bunch of times. But for once I am cautiously optimistic. It basically just saves the energy lost from braking and uses it later, and it does it in a way that does not add too much extra weight, etc. With modern aerodynamics it doesn't take much energy to push a car down the road at a steady speed.

And, yeah, the idea of sitting next to the compressed cylinder freaks me out. But it's buried deep in the car and there are materials they can use (and perhaps devices) that can prevent a catastrophic failure. And if they weren't able to overcome that obstacle the design would never have come this far. Also I'd imagine that this is actually safer than having a bunch of high-current lithium batteries nearby.

I hope this sees the light of day. It makes sense and works with modern technologies. When we have better batteries - and infrastructure - then, sure, electric all the way. Until then...
 
2014-02-27 12:16:53 PM  

lardweasel: How does the air get compressed in the first place?  Magic?

Assuming it's an electric compressor, wouldn't this still essentially be a less-efficient electric car?

Or, even better, if it's a diesel-powered generator that compresses the air for the petroleum --> electricity --> compressed air efficiency-loss trifecta.


It seems that the compressed air is just a store of energy so when in city use there's reduced fuel consumption and emissions. Sure, you'll have to fill that tank elsewhere- as I understood TFA the car can do that on its own through the engine. I've seen some designs where you would fill an onboard tank from an external compressor and then the car just runs on that compressed air- kind of like how a steam engine works, but instead of using fire to raise steam pressure the air is pre-compressed. It works fine, it just doesn't seem to bring any special advantages to the table (unlike an electric car, you still have a reciprocating engine that requires lubricating and other maintenance).

I'm not sure this is really going to take off, but there have been other hydraulic hybrid systems in use on delivery trucks (on slowing down it pumps hydraulic fluid into a high pressure storage tank, on acceleration it goes the other direction)... not a terribly useful thing in a passenger car but makes sense for UPS/FedEx trucks. Still, I think we're entering an era of multiple drivetrain possibilities depending on what you need- it won't be ALL diesel/gasoline internal combustion, ALL hybrid, ALL electric, or anything... you'll get a BEV if that's what works for you, a hybrid if that suits your needs, etc.
 
2014-02-27 12:31:22 PM  
FTFA "The air compression system can re-use all the energy normally lost when slowing down and braking. "

Lisa in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics.
 
2014-02-27 12:33:48 PM  

bmongar: FTFA "The air compression system can re-use all the energy normally lost when slowing down and braking. "

Lisa in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics.


Energy isn't created or destroyed.  The omission of entropy in the discussion is an oversight, but "normally lost" refers to the fact that 100% of kintetic energy is normally lost to heat(on break pads and tires).  Here a huge percentage is retained as the breaking mechanism dumps the kinetic energy into an air pump.
 
2014-02-27 12:35:26 PM  
UPS tested out hydraulic/compressed air trucks back in 2008:
http://gas2.org/2008/10/28/ups-is-first-in-delivery-industry-to-test -h ydraulic-hybrids/

Peugeot talked about this system last year:
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-31346_7-57572749-252/peugeot-debuts-fir st -ever-hybrid-gasoline-air-vehicle/

And I could have sworn of seeing similar compressed air braking/boost prototype in a US made light truck, like a GMC or Ford. Yup - it was Ford, back in 2011:
http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/02/batteri es -not-included-ford-f-150-hydraulic-hybrid-could-get-40-mpg-/1

Seems like plenty of people have had working "prototypes" for quite some time. It's curious that I haven't heard any results of the tests. I'd guess that there's premature wear in the hydraulic/air systems and metal fatigue in the pressure containment systems. It also wouldn't surprise me to hear of valves freezing from rapid expansion of released air.

Compressed air systems sound exciting in theory, but the physics aren't that simple - especially when you want reliability.
 
2014-02-27 12:38:04 PM  
rcmemories.files.wordpress.com

Big deal, I owned an air powered car when I was 7.
 
2014-02-27 01:45:33 PM  

EvilEgg: I guess that would be better than batteries as it doesn't degrade.


Degrading batteries is one of those things that everyone "knows" is a big problem but turns out to be just about a non issue.
 
2014-02-27 01:48:41 PM  

lockers: I like the idea of a catastrophic explosion when the air tank fails in a crash. The idea of high speed shrapnel being part of the danger equation has a lot of appeal.


Anything with enough energy and power density to move a car down the freeway can fark you up if it fails.  Including, of course, gasoline.
 
2014-02-27 01:51:13 PM  

Hollie Maea: EvilEgg: I guess that would be better than batteries as it doesn't degrade.

Degrading batteries is one of those things that everyone "knows" is a big problem but turns out to be just about a non issue.


They really did end up lasting way longer than anybody expected... and when they wear out, it's far cheaper to rework a battery pack than originally anticipated. IIRC, the battery pack in a Prius was expected to last 100K miles and cost $10K to replace. The former figure is extremely low, the second ludicrously high. Of course, if you use 100% of the battery capacity all the time you'll wear the battery down in no time, but that's not how these things are intended to work from the factory.
 
2014-02-27 01:52:20 PM  

unlikely: unlikely: "Runs on petrol and air"

...isn't that how most cars work?

Okay, after reading TFA it's kinda cool


Came into the thread to make much the same joke, but I have to agree that after some consideration it sounds like it could be at least an interesting stepping-stone technology. Would definitely worry about a catastrophic failure of the air tank, but they SHOULD be able to build tanks that fail in a way that doesn't produce enough shrapnel and/or sufficiently protect the occupants of the car.
 
2014-02-27 02:05:50 PM  
Believe it or not, it's just me
 
2014-02-27 02:09:27 PM  

Fano: Believe it or not, it's just me


Are you saying these things run on a wing and a prayer?
 
2014-02-27 02:32:10 PM  
i1.ytimg.com

Not pleased with this development.
 
2014-02-27 02:40:35 PM  

Hollie Maea: Degrading batteries is one of those things that everyone "knows" is a big problem but turns out to be just about a non issue.


An interesting fact I learned with the first annual checkup on my LEAF. After driving 12,000 miles, and charging almost exclusively from 110v sources, my battery showed only a 2% capacity loss.

Who would have guessed that driving in a mild climate and trickle charging a battery would result in extreme battery life?
 
2014-02-27 03:18:15 PM  
If I'm reading the article correctly, this looks quite similar to the hydraulic hybrid setup that UPS uses.  It captures the energy from braking by pressurising a medium then uses that energy to accelerate the vehicle from a stop so that the combustion engine can run at a more-or-less steady state (acceleration is the real MPG killer).

I wonder why their system needs a low pressure reservoir (the second tank near the muffler).  In a hydraulic setup you need to store the unpressurized fluid somewhere but in a pneumatic system couldn't the pump just ingest outside air and the engine just dump the uncompressed air back outside the car (as long as you had sufficient filters and dryers to ensure the pressurized air was clean)?
 
2014-02-27 03:19:08 PM  

lockers: I like the idea of a catastrophic explosion when the air tank fails in a crash. The idea of high speed shrapnel being part of the danger equation has a lot of appeal.


THIS.

I'd be interested to see the pressures they want to use. For comparison, my paintball marker hooks up to a 68 cubic inch, 4,500psi tank; this contains enough energy to fire several hundred lightweight paintballs before needing a refill (yes, I use a very inefficient mechanical marker). That tank still contains enough energy to take someone's head off in the event off a catastrophic regulator failure (heck, a flying 800psi CO2 tank will kill you). The amount of energy needed to propel a car is much greater, I assume. Rupture a gasoline tank, you get a leak that turns deadly IF it meets an ignition source. Puncture a high-pressure air tank, and you've got an immediate disaster. I hope they secure these to the chassis REALLY well...
 
2014-02-27 03:23:03 PM  

lockers: I like the idea of a catastrophic explosion when the air tank fails in a crash. The idea of high speed shrapnel being part of the danger equation has a lot of appeal.


Stupid engineers didn't even think of that, morans.

/Time to go to work in my vehicle with absolutely no chance of explosion.
 
2014-02-27 03:23:24 PM  
www.voyageunbound.com

"When suddenly, ahead of me, across the mountainside...
A gleaming allow air car shoots towards me two lanes wide."


:o)
 
2014-02-27 03:24:01 PM  

kkinnison: Not a repeat from 1932
[blog.modernmechanix.com image 850x1299]


Something about this has been making the news rounds for the last three years. Every six months or so it pops up.
 
2014-02-27 03:24:20 PM  
"Alloy," not "allow."

DAMMIT, but I HATE hitting Preview first!  I hate it so much!
 
2014-02-27 03:28:08 PM  

Parallax: DAMMIT, but I HATE hitting Preview first! I hate it so much!


Sometimes I'll hit preview.  Read what I wrote, with my mind replacing what I meant to say in place of what I didididndn't, and go "yep", then only catch it while the submit page loads.

Being an imperfect biological organism sucks.
 
2014-02-27 04:14:53 PM  

serial_crusher: Why a gas/air hybrid instead of an electric/air hybrid?

I imagine this thing only works as a hybrid technology.  You're going to need a pretty big air tank to get any decent mileage from an air-only engine, so it's a little inaccurate to state this as a replacement for "electric cars"


Also compressing air creates a bunch of heat which is essentially wasted energy.

I guess they must have done calculations, but I am a little skeptical.
 
2014-02-27 04:17:19 PM  

SpectroBoy: Also compressing air creates a bunch of heat which is essentially wasted energy.


"A bunch" of heat is overstating the case.  And:  the entropy doesn't actually change substantially, because the energy is condensed over a smaller area, increasing enthalpy.  You might as well pretend the laws of thermodynamics are violated when the air cools as it is expelled and expands.
 
2014-02-27 04:20:13 PM  

Parallax: [www.voyageunbound.com image 512x344]

"When suddenly, ahead of me, across the mountainside...
A gleaming allow air car shoots towards me two lanes wide."

:o)



Yeah, but that was before the motor laws.  :(
 
2014-02-27 04:22:50 PM  

ikanreed: SpectroBoy: Also compressing air creates a bunch of heat which is essentially wasted energy.

"A bunch" of heat is overstating the case.  And:  the entropy doesn't actually change substantially, because the energy is condensed over a smaller area, increasing enthalpy.  You might as well pretend the laws of thermodynamics are violated when the air cools as it is expelled and expands.



Good point. I guess if you include the ambient environment in the system much of that heat can be "recovered"

Nice.
 
2014-02-27 05:02:01 PM  

bmongar: FTFA "The air compression system can re-use all the energy normally lost when slowing down and braking. "

Lisa in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics.


It's a French car. Everything happens infinitely slowly.
 
2014-02-27 05:42:15 PM  
is this real?
 
2014-02-27 11:18:05 PM  
Pat Boone has been supporting a company for about 12 years using this methodAir in, air out. Air is the "fuel" and the exhaust is air. Low noise. And the more air cylinders you have, the more distance you can go. One cylinder goes about 50 - 60 miles. Normal air compressors refills the tank. Videos are available on YouTube... or http://video.foxnews.com/v/923168677001/pat-boone-pushing-air-cars/
 
2014-02-28 01:29:07 AM  

SpectroBoy: ikanreed: SpectroBoy: Also compressing air creates a bunch of heat which is essentially wasted energy.

"A bunch" of heat is overstating the case.  And:  the entropy doesn't actually change substantially, because the energy is condensed over a smaller area, increasing enthalpy.  You might as well pretend the laws of thermodynamics are violated when the air cools as it is expelled and expands.


Good point. I guess if you include the ambient environment in the system much of that heat can be "recovered"

Nice.


Combined Gas Law: PV/T = PV/T, or PV=nrT if you prefer the Ideal gas Law. So If your volume don't change, then increasing the pressure has to increase the temp. The important thing is how much the pressure increases. P will be in Pascals, and T in Kelvin, and 1 psi is about 690 Pa IIRC. Room temp in Kelvin is about 300 K. So let's say you need to go from 14 psi (1 atmosphere) to oh, 20 atmospheres (280 psi). That's going from 10,000 Pa (I'm rounding shamelessly to make the numbers easier) to about 200,000 Pa. So:

10,000 / 300 = 20,000/x, so 600 K. That's about 620 F. Pretty warm. It'll have heat to spare to warm your coffee :)
 
2014-02-28 01:34:23 AM  
Yeah, they have been working on this for along time. I seen this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXrnCYAlUFc  like back in 2006 or something. I used to dream about designing my own version back in shop class in the 90s. I even tore apart  some old air compressors, but then I got high.
 
2014-02-28 02:07:34 AM  
It will happen though. I think small scale like air powered lawn mowers, mopeds and other things that require small engines will eventually be the norm along with electric versions.  Once they are able to compress enough air safley into a smaller and smaller space without it exploding and popping out your ear drums it's on.
 
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