Not even hot air. In this environmentally responsible day and age, unheated air will suffice to propel this car. Toyota Industries Corporation (not Toyota Motor Corporation) showed a car that is powered solely by compressed air.
No CO2 will be emitted, no polar bears will be harmed. Of course, there will be a bit power needed to compress the air – minor distraction. The principle is quite simple: Tanks are filled with compressed air. The compressed air powers a motor. The motor is actually a simple car air conditioner compressor. Toyota Industries is the world’s biggest supplier of the cool gadgets, the company cranks out about 20 million compressors a year.
The rocket-like car called KU:RIN (Japanese for “air wheel”) broke the speed record for compressed air-powered vehicles (yes, that exists) by speeding up to 129.2 km/h (80.3 mph) on the Ibaraki test track. Which will earn it a place in the Guinness World Records Book.
Of course there is a minor drawback: The KU:RIN is the embodiment of range anxiety. Says The Nikkei [sub]:
“In past tests, the vehicle ran as far as 3.2 kilometers without replenishing the air in the cylinders. The company said it will work on extending the travel distance. It said the model is not intended for commercial production but is for the sake of honing its junior researchers’ skills.”