Gallery: Top Five Air Powered Vehicles


If the Cash for Clunkers incentive wasn’t enough to curb your unsettled feeling about owning a new gas guzzler, you might want to start saving for one of these truly awesome air-powered eco-rides. Sometimes called PHEV (pneumatic-hybrid electric vehicle), these cars are most typically powered by a compressed air engine combined with an electric motor. The engines are similar to steam engines as they use the expansion of externally supplied pressurized gas to perform work against a piston. Don’t settle on a fuel/electric hybrid or a biofuel burning vehicle before you take a look at our list of top 5 air powered vehicles that will soon be available in the United States.

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  1. Nodes November 21, 2009 at 1:30 am

    The key isues for air cars are that compressed air is the most effiicient way to store microcapture energy:- photovoltaice trickle feed, passive solar panel and low-speed wind energy; so there si ptentialto run your car from your own energy eneration with the right mix of home green energy. The adiabatic problems are not significant if the air is run through heat generated from braking ystems to pre-warm the air and invrease its eficiency. Air powered elecric generation can also be sused to preheat the air you just need larger or higher pressure storage tanks.

  2. Rams October 7, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    I am looking to buy about 20-30 plug-in cars which has a capacity of four passengers. The cars are needed here in India. Anyone knows any such cars which can be bought and used ? Please write to me at

  3. myles314 October 2, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    I agree, pneumatic cars are not very useful for every day travel. Just because thses cars don’t release emissions doesn’t mean that they are clean; the compressors and electricity that they use have to be generated usually by fossil fuels. One interesting application is using this type of motor is in bananna warehouses. Since they don’t create CO2 they can drive around in the warehouses without altering the controlled atmosphere inside. Neat concepts but not too useful for our current fossilfueled society.

  4. skierpage October 1, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    Compressing air to store in the tank heats it up; as the tank cools the energy is lost. Later as air expands in the air motor it cools and loses energy. Solving thermodynamic facts with coolers and heat exchangers is hard engineering, one reason why you can’t buy an air car.

    Recovering energy by compressing air when braking is more plausible, especially for big trucks doing a lot of starting and stopping. For five years truck makers have been developing hydraulic hybrids, but you can’t buy them either. Meanwhile batteries (though heavy and expensive) plus electric motor are the most efficient means to store energy, recover kinetic energy, and turn it into motion.

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