A Little Competition for Tesla Motors

Yes, I know, I have to get away from posting videos. Yes, I will try. Is there a 12-step group for this compulsion to post videos?

In the meantime, this video about a compressed air-powered car (well actually two of them) has to be seen to be believed.

Over at 9Rules I asked if you would buy a Tesla sedan if it could compete on price with a Prius. I got some decent answers, but now I want to know now if you would buy a competitively priced compressed air car?

At $2 of electricity (to run a compresser at home) for 200 km (I think that’s what I heard), this might be a pretty good “around town” car. And perhaps even cheaper to operate than (but not as fast as) the Tesla.

So, would you buy one? Should buses be run on compressed air? Trains? Planes? (I already covered automobiles). 🙂

Props (again) to Derek at UNEASYsilence.

5 Replies to “A Little Competition for Tesla Motors”

  1. Sorry, nope. . . I can’t see this being competitive.

    The energy density just isn’t there. The new carbon-fiber storage tanks allow higher pressure air to be stored with less weight, so maybe these things could have competed with electric cars — if we were still stuck with lead-acid batteries. But battery technology has moved on, so I don’t really see the point of fooling with compressed air now.

    Another thing to remember is that there’s always a certain degree of inefficiency when compressing air, due to the diesel effect. Compressed air becomes hot, and the heat then diffuses away and is lost. There’s no way around it.

    There’s also a safety concern, as a ruptured air tank would go up like a bomb. It’s much more dangerous than gasoline. This is why I cringed when GM showed off the Sequel with its 10,000 PSI hydrogen storage tanks. All it would take is one “road rage” or drive-by shooting incident, with a bullet striking the tank, and that sucker could be headed for orbit. “Houston, we have a problem!”

  2. Tony:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post.

    On the diesel effect, there is always going to be some energy loss — people haven’t found a way around entropy yet. I am curious however how mileage would compare. In particular, I don’t know what the mileage per dollar of electricity to recharge the Tesla batteries is, but the “journalist” (in the video) asserted that the first of the two compressed air cars got about 100km per $1 (and of course, he did not say whether that was US dollars, Canadian dollars or what-have-you) of electricity in refilling the tank at home.

    On the safety thing, yes, that’s a great deal of pressure, but (i) the video did make reference to the containers being designed to split rather than explode (and splitting doesn’t sound too bad) and (ii) air just isn’t hydrogen — so your last comparison is a little off.

    The problem for me with the compressed air car video was the fact that mileage seemed to be based on the liberal use of Aluminum. If I were to be honest in my comparison of mileage from the two technologies, it would have to be with similar weight vehicles.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I am not interested in this compressed air car as a replacement for the Tesla I want to buy, but rather as an alternative for those that need only in-city driving.

    Tesla seems to be trying to develop a real car. This seems to be uber golf cart technology — but if it works, I am all for it.

  3. The trick to air is not caring all the air for the trip.
    It’s making it along the way.
    Be watching for the POP Air Car coming soon ………….

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