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The Tata Minicat will be the first commercial air-powered vehicle. The car has also been called as the Air Car to make the job of explaining its power source more simply. Developed by Formula One engineer Guy Nigre in Luxembourg for MDI, the Tata Minicat is expected to cost about $8,177 or about Rs.4 lakhs.
Tata Motors will be launching about six thousand of this air powered cars in India son according to reports. One of the most important feature in particular for the cost conscious Indians is its range. The Air Car can run for about 300 kilometres per charge and recharging its air cylinders just $2 or Rs.100 at current exchange rates.
The Minicat's range is achieved by its low weight. This is possible by the extensive use of light materials such as fibre glass. Further the car's panels are not welded but are glued to keep weight low. Micro controllers are used to manipulate the different parts of the car. The parts receive radio signals and respond to them eliminating the need of electric wiring across the car.
The designer of the car is confident that the Air Car will be accepted by all. He has listed some of its features that make it more cheaper to run than an electric car or even a conventional car. The cost of running this car for 100 kilometres is less that Rs 50 which is about the tenth of a cost of running a petrol powered car. The range of this car is no match to any electric car in the market. This essentially means the Tata Minicat is an ideal city car.
Most eco friendly cars are not liked by petrol heads as they do not provide ample performance. But the Minicat air car can reach a top speed of 105kmph which is more that what an electric car can offer. If you find it difficult to refill your car the Minicat also has a compressor that refills tanks and allow the car to run for a short distance. This means this is a compressed air-electric hybrid.
It remains to be seen if this concept car comes out of its development stage to a production stage. This is a difficult ask as there have been no successful models that can run on compressed air along with a practical range.