Posted by: thescoundrel | August 13, 2008

Car of the Near Future That Runs on Compressed Air

Another possible style of hybrid car has been revealed, as a possibility for marketing as soon as 2010. The car, which uses a combination of compressed air and fuel, is being touted by its designer to get up to 106 mpg. The vehicle, which is in its infant stages, is supposed to also be able to break ninety mph, sit six people and have an overall traveling range of 800 miles per tank of fuel. The article stated that the car would be made from fiberglass and foam to make it light. It sounds like an interesting possibility, though the skeptics and industry are waiting to see if the car performs as well as the designers/manufacturers are heralding. Now my rant. Hey you had to know a rant was probably included in the offering! 😉

I do have some personal concerns with the way cars are dumping size and weight to gain gas mileage. One problem is driving down the Interstate in a small car can be like an amusement park ride. Small and lightweight cars do not like strong crosswinds and when a semi-truck passes you you can also find yourself changing lanes without turning the wheels. If you drive I88, the overpass near Joslin is one site fond of sideswiping your vehicle with strong crosswinds. They also do not like to play bumper cars or tag with trailer hitches and heavier older model cars made out of heavy steel. Another problem I have with many of the newer vehicles, not just the compact vehicles, is that they do not include enough headroom for people over 6′. I am 6’2″ and most new vehicles do not offer me enough headspace to sit up straight in. The last Ford Ranger pickup truck I tested – my head was stuck against the roof with some kind of ridge that ran behind me that my head kept slamming into every time I hit one of our lovely QC potholes. Plus my vision of the road was limited due to the fact my eyes were looking out of the top couple of inches of the windshield. Now I know it is possible to make a compact car that gets great mileage that also allows above average height people to sit upright with good posture. I used to own a Dodge Omni sports coupe that got great gas mileage and that allowed me to sit normally without banging my head into the roof. But with most of these new vehicles smaller is not always better for my personal use.



  1. Not to be outdone –> other manufacturers are looking at past technology in efforts to save on automobile fuel costs. From the looks of it I doubt if this hybrid will reach 90 mph, except maybe going downhill off a mountain but I am guessing the vehicles gas mileage is unbeatable.

  2. I think you hit on one of the biggest stumbling blocks the auto industry will have to overcome. The cars will have to be smaller and lighter to get better mileage. Trucks can’t get much smaller and be profitable. We don’t believe most people are ready yet to get on the road with these things. We have to wonder if these will actually be safe on the highways. Wouldn’t the Flintstone car have to be an around-town vehicle?

  3. Yeah one of the interesting considerations brought out in the article was that though the manufacturers claim that this vehicle will pass road and safety tests, no car design that has gotten over 100 MPG, has ever passed the crash test phase. If this car can do the 90MPH it claims to be able to do, it better have some interesting design for protecting passengers or there could be a lot of teenage driver brains being scooped off the highway.

    Hey I watched Fred operate that model of car for years as I was growing up and it is a real gas saver. I am not sure you can get it up to minimum Interstate speed though. The other huge problems would be poor turn radius and you better have a good podiatrist to keep them brakes operating at a minimum stopping distance! It could also be a little cold to operate in these Midwest winters. 😉

  4. my first car was an omni… total piece of garbage though… the memories!

  5. I’m surprised you have a headroom problem with cars/trucks.

    Mr. Examiner is 6’1″ and he’s never had a problem with insufficient headroom—of course he always buys Chevys, so maybe that is the difference.

    But on the other hand, Examiner Jr. is about my height (5’9″) and he drives homey-style with the seat back down just about as far as it can go with being horizontal!

    So my advice for you is to either get a Chevy or be a homey! 😀

  6. Huh, the Omni I owned was an excellent car. The only real mechanical problem I ever had was the way the timing belt was mounted if you hit a high snow drift, which was not an uncommon occurrence in the rural areas I lived in, the belt could get out of time. I am not a passable mechanic and the way the engine was mounted required the motor to be dropped to work on the belt. It was not a cheap process. the only other problem was it was so light it would change lanes sometimes when you were passed by large moving vehicles. Otherwise I loved the car it was roomy and drove well.

    Uhh, QCEX Chevys are worse. I have a relative that has a chevy mini-van and if I sit in the front I have to sit in a crunched up position. The problem is partly that my legs did not keep pace with the rest of my body during my growth spurts. I am basically mostly upperbody torso with a short foundation.

  7. OK Scoundrel, now I understand. I’m 5’9″; Mr. Examiner is 6’1″ but when we sit side by side, I’m taller than he is—I’m taller from the keester up than he is—and so are you! 😀

  8. The car industry doing it’s desperate best to drop size and weight is a bit like a 60yo actress trying cosmetic surgery to win a teenager role!

    Gas is on the way out. If the price wasn’t bad enough, there’s all the environmental pressures on as well. I think the writing’s on the wall, and Sweden and UAE are already way ahead of the rest of the world in adopting alternative ways of getting around that DON’T involve gas guzzlers, however small, cramped and light!

    Personally, I want a TWIKE!


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