ZPM Wants to Pump You Up

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
zpm wants to pump you up

After tugging their earlobe and saying Nano Nano, Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM) has announced they'll start taking reservations for a U.S. version of the compressed-air-powered minicar later this year, for delivery in 2010. ZPM claims the car will allow you "to drive pollution-free and free of fuel dependency" and that "the air expelled from the tail pipe is actually cleaner than the air used to fill the tank." That is, as long as you're driving below 35 mph. Above that speed, you're fuel dependent, burning some kind of hydrocarbon to heat air as it enters the engine, delivering the supposed equivalent 106 mpg. The ZPM web site also claims the new car will top-out at 96 mph and offer an 800-mile range on the U.S. version "with supplementary fuel source." When you're not driving, you "recharge" the air tank by plugging into a nearby electrical outlet; obviously the "pollution free" claim ZPM is making doesn't consider the pollution generated from generating the electricity. But just think… an engine running on compressed air could bring a whole new meaning to the term "fart can muffler."

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4 of 8 comments
  • I6 I6 on Mar 03, 2008

    This idea was a non-starter over 10 years ago. That it is being revived in the Land of the Lazy just illustrates for me the depth of desperation out there for an easy solution to the energy / environment problem.

  • KBW KBW on Mar 03, 2008

    Why yes, I would love a 4500PSI air tank sitting under my seat. Nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Never mind the inefficiencies involved with compressing and expanding air.

  • Dean Dean on Mar 03, 2008

    Compressed air is an energy-intensive and inefficient way to store energy and do work. It is well-suited for use in stationary industrial applications because pneumatic actuators are inexpensive and work well for linear, low-load applications. As a method of propulsion for a car it is ludicrous.

  • Donal Fagan Donal Fagan on Mar 03, 2008
    I’m afraid the zero point module is on the back burner until they can get the bugs worked out of the flux capacitor. Try reversing the polarity.