Take a deep breath

A sprawling urban metropolis can afford its inhabitants a number of advantages but a getting a regular lung-full of clean air isn’t one of them.

This situation may be about to change, however, thanks to the creation of air-powered vehicles by French designer, Guy Negre.

Negre’s invention uses high pressure – 300 bar – compressed air to store the energy required to run the engine of the vehicle that is said to be non-polluting.

In urban areas, the engine can power a five-seat vehicle with a range of approximately 200 kilometres using 300 litres of compressed air stored in carbon or glass fibre tanks.

A compressor driven by an electric motor connected to a standard electric outlet will, according to Negre, recharge the compressed air tanks. Rapid recharging using a high-pressure air pump is also possible.

To demonstrate the viability of the concept, three prototype vehicles equipped with air, mono-energy, and engines have been developed.

The potential market for the ‘clean engine’ concept is believed to be immense in vehicles where fixed engines are primarily used in urban or restricted areas.

A version of engine can, in addition to air, also function with the use of traditional fuel, petrol, diesel, natural or town gas, consumption levels that are said to be very low.

A change in the source of energy is handled electronically based on the speed of the vehicle. Vehicles running below 60 km/h operate on air whilst running on petrol or diesel at higher speeds.

Motor Development International, the company that owns the patent, says that rather than mass-produce the car itself, franchises will be sold to local manufacturers.

Each factory will have the capacity to produce around 2,000 vehicles a year.

There are already plans for five production units in Mexico, as well as others in South Africa, Australia, the United States, Spain and Switzerland.

Motor Development International says that the Mexican authorities have shown interest in their cars as a way of fighting the city’s pollution.

The first models of air-powered vehicles – taxis, small pick-ups and delivery vans – are expected to be on the market later this year.

More on the web at www.zeropollution.com