By on May 13, 2015

AIRPod-car.jpg.662x0_q70_crop-scale

Though I don’t watch broadcast or cable television much anymore, I like the idea of the ABC’s Shark Tank. Actually, when I still had cable, I watched the original Canadian version of the show, Dragon’s Den, since Windsor, Ontario’s CBC affiliate station is generally part of Detroit area cable bundling. As a tinkerer, inventor and small business owner, the idea of a show premised on pitching your business idea to possible angels is appealing to me. However, while all of the “sharks” undoubtedly have been more successful entrepreneurs than I have been, sometimes they make investments that just don’t make sense to me.

On last Friday’s show, one of the potential investors, Robert Herjavec, pledged $5 million in funding to a startup named Zero Pollution Motors to start building cars propelled by compressed air. ZPM says that they will start building the cars in Hawaii sometime later this year.


This video is only available to those in the U.S.

The project is apparently a joint venture involving Zero Pollution Motors, Motor Development International (a French company headquartered in Luxembourg that’s been working on a compressed air car for two decades), and India’s Tata Motors, which has a licensing deal with MDI. Singer Pat Boone appears to be an investor in ZPM. From the video it looks like they will be producing some form of MDI’s AirPod vehicle, which looks like a cross between GM’s Segway-on-steroids EN-V city pods, an Isetta microcar with its front opening door, and a DeltaWing racer. At first, because of the narrow front end, I thought it was a Reliant Robin type three wheeler – not the most stable configuration – but it actually does have two very small front wheels, though I’m not convinced how stable it will be when doing an emergency swerve. That, though, isn’t my main concern about the enterprise.

To begin with, I’m a bit put off by the reportage saying the cars are powered by compressed air. The compressed air is just storing energy, it’s not a fuel. The cars are powered by whatever is generating the electricity needed to run the compressors that fill the AirPod’s tanks. If you don’t have a compressor at home, ZPM says that you could fill up the tanks using the coin-operated air compressors you find at many filling stations. It would take about five minutes to fill up and cost you about $2.00 in quarters. The vehicles are claimed to have a range of up to 80 miles with a top speed of 50 mph. Presumably their competition would be so-called Neighborhood Electric Vehicles, BEVs with a top speed of less than 45 mph, suitable for downtown areas and gated communities. The 617 lb vehicles will have a price of $10,000.

TTAC readers who have been following my coverage of Elio Motors know I’m attracted to the romance of starting up a new car company, so I don’t want to rain on ZPM’s parade. I’m also not a compressed air skeptic. The AirPod might be a practical city vehicle. I am, however, skeptical of Zero Pollution Motors.

Putting aside the terrible semantics of saying the cars are powered by compressed air, I’m baffled that a serious investor would fund a manufacturing startup in one of the most expensive places in the world to make anything: Hawaii.

That island state will be the first of ZPM’s proposed “turnkey micro production factories” building the pods to sell directly to customers. ZPM claims their distributed manufacturing schema represents a “drastic decrease in costs and logistic problems associated with the conventional assembly process” that would not just be cleaner than conventional assembly plants, it would have a “significant beneficial impact” on the environment.

Hawaii was chosen as a test location because of Honolulu’s congested traffic and lack of gasoline refineries. Gasoline is relatively expensive in Hawaii because it has to be brought in by tanker. However, gasoline isn’t the only thing that’s expensive in Hawaii because of it’s location in the middle of the Pacific. Everything needs to be imported to Hawaii, not just gasoline. Hawaii could be the most expensive state in the union in which to start up a manufacturing concern. That’s probably why Hawaii ranks 50th in terms of states’ dependency on manufacturing. ZPM would have to ship all of their tooling there just to start up. As far as I know, there are no automotive suppliers in Hawaii, so everything needed to build the vehicles, down to nuts and bolts, would have to be brought in by boat. It would probably be cheaper, even with Manhattan real estate prices, to build ZPM’s air car in New York City – and the market there for city cars is undoubtedly a tad larger than Honolulu.

The auto industry is a very big crap shoot. To make your number usually requires investments in the 10 figure range. It’s estimated big car companies spend at least a billion dollars to develop a new model. With that perspective, Herjavec (who is a bit of a car guy, going gentleman racing, and owning LaFerrari VIN 01) isn’t risking much with his five mil, but my guess is it will be a long while before automobiles powered by any source make up a greater part of Hawaii’s GDP than the cannabis grown there.

Photo: MDI

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

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65 Comments on “If You Were Starting Up a Car Company, Would You Put Your Factory in Hawaii?...”


  • avatar

    Great point and that was one of the first things that popped into my mind when I watched this deal. It just seems that the cost would be so much cheaper to start out in another portion of the country. I approached the deal from the technical side as I am a bit of a compressed air skeptic and wrote about how efficient it actually is. They have to make the car ultra light just to get it to move because of the efficiency losses from storing and transferring the air. I believe that the vehicle could be much better better served by using a different type of energy storage and propulsion.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      @Ronnie Schreiber prior to that , it was ” The Inventors” on the equally Government owned Australian ABC, in the mid 1970’s
      http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/161197877?q&versionId=175727351

  • avatar
    sirwired

    What unmitigated B.S. meant to sucker some investors that have to invest in SOMETHING or they won’t have a TV show. A gas-station air compressor meant for inflating tires is not going to give you any appreciable range, even for a 617 lb vehicle, in five minutes.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    More questions than comments:

    1. Is there any advantage if they are looking toward Asian instead of American customers? For example, does Hawaii escape the Port of Los Angeles and other West Coast longshoreman contract issues?

    2. Is it a compromise to be an American auto maker – perhaps for the purposes of raising funds – but they really intend to relocate to Shanghai to another mainland Asian countries south of China or other islands?

    3. Do they have some deal with the native peoples of Hawaii where they get some sort of economic benefit, or is one of the founders not shown an ethnic Hawaiian? Hawaii was making noises about trying to demand more sovereignty for the native peoples.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      If they are looking towards significant Asian customers, it makes no sense to manufacture the things in the US at all. (Not to mention the entire vehicle can’t do what they claim it does, will cost more to develop and put into production than they say it will, and is generally about as credible as some gullible local news program airing a segment about some local crank inventing a car that runs on water.)

      When coming up with this cockamamie plan, I’m pretty sure pacific coast port hassles were about near the bottom of the list.

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      Lean production calls for suppliers being located within reasonable proximity to the assembly plant.

      Building auto assembly plants in the middle of nowhere makes no sense for that reason. It isn’t just a matter of cost, but also time and quality management. The assembler should want to hold as little parts inventory as possible and have the ability to have the supplier make changes on the fly as necessary.

      As noted, if you wanted to sell to Asians, then you would build in Asia. Lower labor costs and more suppliers.

    • 0 avatar
      WildcatMatt

      The company I work for has a Hawaii division which is saddled with some fairly awful software because we receive (or at least received) tax credits for using technology developed on the islands.

      Perhaps something like that is in play here.

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        Yes please, I’ll take that gig in a whiff.

        Being Your Peon, we keep our sunny archipelago in the other ocean. Anybody know if there are any corresponding EU regulations concerning software developed on the Canaries?

  • avatar

    I agree, Mister Schreiber. Really, the whole enterprise just looked poorly-researched. Have they even considered what kind of (small) demand there might be for this product? Even that $5 million investment—which is mere peanuts when the average cost to develop a car is nearer to $1 billion—will be difficult to earn back.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    I heard that this company is going to merge with Elio Motors and has a whippet powered trike that they’re soon to unveil.

    • 0 avatar
      DubTee1480

      They could hire Demi Moore as a celebrity spokesperson

    • 0 avatar

      I understand the skepticism people have for Elio but I’m fairly convinced it isn’t a scam, primarily because of the involvement of companies like their engine developer IAV (which is owned by VW, btw) and Comau, which is doing their manufacturing engineering and setting up their assembly line. Their suppliers say they are paying their bills. If they raise the $200 million they need, I don’t know if they’ll be a success but we will see Elio trikes on the road.

      What I like about Elio, though it’s a reason why the Dept of Energy may turn down their ATVM loan application, is that they are deliberately not trying to invent any new technology and that they are trying to use as many off-the-shelf parts (or parts that can be changed without altering the basic tooling) as they can.

      Actually, one of the points skeptics of the Elio project have raised is if they are trying to use existing tech why they are developing and building their own engine instead of buying one of the many new liter three cylinder motors that are coming out from major mfgs.

      Anyhow, I’ve spent time with Paul Elio and his team, spoken with Stu Lichter, their primary investor and landlord, I’ve driven the prototype, and I’ve spoken with a couple of their suppliers. Everyone’s been very transparent with me and I have no reason to think that it’s not a genuine, albeit risky, enterprise. While the people involved are obviously making a living, the project is very bare bones, and the marketing is focused on grass roots stuff.

      In retrospect, the Delorean and Bricklin projects, and their founders, had some issues, to say the least. Still, both of them succeeded in getting cars into production. At this point I’d say that Elio is at least as credible as those two projects were when they were getting off the ground (neither production DeLorean or Bricklin cars was very much like what was proposed at the start of those enterprises).

      As for the air car? Somewhere more credible than the Dale or Exar ventures.

  • avatar

    No way! I’d be surfing the whole day. I’d put my production where authorities are eager, car plants have been abandoned, wages are low, and the girls are plenty ;-) Probably somewhere in (Eastern) Europe then.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Weren’t these in that Woody Allen movie “Sleeper”?

  • avatar
    Tinn-Can

    I can’t imagine hitting a pothole with that front wheel set… That would be horrible… It seems more like he needs a $5million tax write off more than anything else.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    “ZPM says that you could fill up the tanks using the coin-operated air compressors you find at many filling stations”

    I don’t believe that. Those type of compressors typically deliver around 120 – 150 PSI, that’s not nearly enough to get even one of these small vehicles to go 80 miles.

  • avatar
    toxicroach

    Turnkey micro factory.

    I.e. we rent some commercial space, move in with the tools, and go. It’s not a factory in the traditional sense.

    I think it makes sense. You’ll have to ship the parts there anyway, so the expense is the same on that front. Hawaii is also the perfect place for this. On most of the islands you would be hard pressed to have to drive 80 miles in a day. Kalaoa to Hilo is 70 miles and that’s opposite sides of the Big Island. Gas is really expensive and will stay that way no matter what oil prices do, and 50 mph is faster than you’ll be going most of the time anyway. If you build locally, you get a huge benefit marketing wise, since Hawaiians love supporting local stuff. High capacity air compressors are also common, since there’s a ton of scuba over there so you even have a refill system in place.

    BTW, your semantic argument about what powers the car is weird. The release compressed air allows the the car to do work. It powers the car. Does the gas refinery power my car? No, it just prepared the fuel. The combustion of the gasoline powers the car just as the release of the compressed air powers this thing.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      I agree. Their factory is an assembly location for parts made elsewhere, and Hawaii is the ideal market for a car with no heat, low speed, low production, and limited range.

      On the topic of Shark Tank, it seems based on selling stuff to stoned people at the Mini Mart. They fund gadgets that seem clever but aren’t, or new types of junk food packaging.

  • avatar
    jmo

    How many of these can fit in an inter-modal shipping container that’s 8’x8.6’x40′? 15? Now, if we break it down to parts, unpressed body panels, unformed air tank components, nuts, bolts, glass etc. How many can we fit? 100, 250, more?

    It looks like the total cost to ship one container across the Pacific is $4153. So, depending on how much it costs to stamp out and snap all the pieces together, it could make sense for final assembly to occur in Hawaii vs. attempting to ship complete cars from China.

  • avatar
    michal1980

    when are these guys going to be thrown in jail?

    They have been pimping this air powered car forever now.

    Math is not on their side.

  • avatar
    indi500fan

    Elio at least has some cred in the physics, if not the economics.
    This one is really out there in PT Barnum territory.

    80 miles on a 5 minute gas station compressor fill…yeah baby!

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “Robert Herjavec, pledged $5 million in funding to a startup named Zero Pollution Motors to start building cars propelled by compressed air.”

    His reasons for doing so are kymplicated (lets find out if anyone watches Dancing With The Stars around here…)

  • avatar
    cdotson

    Neighborhood Electric Vehicles (NEVs) are limited either by standard or convention to 25mph top speeds. This fact and typical regulatory practice in the US allows them to operate on streets with speed limits up to 45mph. I used to work for a company that manufactured NEVs that were sold under another company’s branding. NEVs are the original regulatory-compliance battery electric vehicle. When NEVs started popping up to fulfill California’s (and 4 or so other states that piggy-back CARB regs) EV sales requirement CARB backed off because they wanted full-on BEV cars. NEVs still exist due to federal tax credits that incentivise individuals to purchase an NEV over a golf cart, but there is effectively no other market for them.

    Car-like outgrowths of NEVs are what this “thing” would really compete with, and the only one I can think of at the moment is the (defunct? or not yet?) Mitsubishi iMiev.

    The French company I believe was making some noise about air-powered cars 10-12 years ago when I worked at the company that made a few NEVs. Senior management was all over it as a potential emerging technology. The Director/VP of engineering wrote an incredibly well-researched and calculated technical paper utterly destroying any shred of reliability of any of the claims the group was making at the time. I was a thoroughly converted air-car skeptic by the time I read that paper.

  • avatar
    schmitt trigger

    Cdot, your are correct, the laws of physics are against compressed air power.
    Specifically the Gas Laws, as expressed by Boyle, Gay Lussac and others.

    The process of compressing a gas, which by definition means taking an initial volume and making it smaller, does indeed create additional pressure, but also heat…heat that goes to waste. One has to compress very slowly (adiabatic? if I remember correctly) to reduce the heat loss.

    The problem comes in reverse when one expands the gas to provide useful work.

    EDIT: Back in the late 70s when I would build my own electronic boards as a hobby, there was a board clamp called “The Third Hand” which was proudly made in Hawaii.
    The company still does exist, but cannot find their homepage, and I don’t know where they are headquartered now and much less where they assemble their products today.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      So presumably these shoot air at the road at a very high pressure…

      Which is going to blow rocks, dirt, and glass from the road onto the hood of the lawyer’s $90,000 S-Class behind them at the stop light.

      It can only go well?

      • 0 avatar
        Garak

        Or you could point the pipe upward like in trucks, or just make a long pipe with lots of holes to balance the pressure. But I think he’s talking about the loss of temperature caused by the release of pressured gas. Things freeze pretty quickly.

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        Assuming the compressed air is used to drive a motor connected to the wheels, the exhaust air should be at a low pressure, otherwise the energy in the compressed air would be going to waste.

        Are there any advantages in using compressed air rather than a battery and an electric motor? The total efficiency of a battery and electric motor is good, I wonder how the efficiency of compressed air and a pneumatic motor compares.

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          FormerFF: “Are there any advantages in using compressed air rather than a battery and an electric motor?”

          Absolutely! Those EV projects have already soaked up all the smart money. All that remains available for vehicle entrepreneurs is the dumb money. These guys have recognized that opportunity.

          Anyway, I am also inclined to think that a small EV would make more sense in many ways. A 16KWH battery moves a Volt some 35 miles at high speed. Something this size with a 3 KWH battery should be good for 20 miles, shouldn’t be particularly expensive and you could even equip it with lights, A/C and some heat without a lot of trouble.

          You don’t need 80 miles of range because nobody is going to want to drive something like this 80 miles.

        • 0 avatar
          ClutchCarGo

          “Are there any advantages in using compressed air rather than a battery and an electric motor? ”

          The only advantage that comes to mind is the speed of recharge and the number of recharge cycles before storage capacity drops off.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      While I wouldn’t argue the merits of these cars either way; compressed air as a means of motive power is nothing new. It was used in mines to power small locomotives to haul the ore cars out to the surface; they already had compressed air to run the drills and water pumps; and they did not have worry about sparks or exhaust fumes. They were basically the same setup as fireless steam locomotives; but the tanks were smaller and fewer in number so they could hold a higher pressure.

      Fireless steam locomotives used steam at about 250 PSI; so compressed air locomotives worked off of higher pressures (the later ones built by H.K. Porter worked at 800 and 1200 psi); much higher than what your gas station air pump is capable of. I have encountered several of the Porter compressed air locomotives in my searches for steam locomotives around the world; they resemble the Porter fireless steam locomotives, but have two or more uninsulated air tanks instead of a single insulated steam pressure vessel.

      http://www.douglas-self.com/MUSEUM/LOCOLOCO/airloco/airloco.htm

      I wonder if these cars will also use a piston air motor, or a rotary one.

  • avatar
    wsn

    “To begin with, I’m a bit put off by the reportage saying the cars are powered by compressed air. The compressed air is just storing energy, it’s not a fuel. The cars are powered by whatever is generating the electricity needed to run the compressors that fill the AirPod’s tanks.”

    By the same logic, gasoline is not a fuel, it’s just storing energy. The gasoline cars are powered by whatever dinosaur that turned into gasoline.

    • 0 avatar

      Using the energy stored by photosynthesis and other processes eons ago results in a net energy gain for us in the here and now, something that’s not quite the same as expending energy to run a compressor, then recovering some of that energy as usable work.

      I have a good friend who hold patents in hydrogen generation and purification and makes part of his living selling hydrogen reformulators. He tells me that hydrogen isn’t a fuel, just an energy storage material. If that’s the case for H2, it probably holds for compressed air.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    These are so stupid. Electric bicycles/mopeds or golf carts make a heck of a lot more sense.

  • avatar
    mfgreen40

    Popular Mechanics ect. have talked Air Cars for decades. I also get a kick out of watching the Sharks. Once Robert checks their claims and finds them false, he probably wont be investing.

  • avatar
    formula m

    This guy seems pretty smart to me. I served him at the golf resort I worked at one summer. We had 100 types of scotch and he would always have the cheapest Johnnie Walker Red label instead of the $150 an ounce Louis XIII like all the wannabe high rollers. He probably has something else he has in mind for this company tech/design.

    TV show aspect does make it obvious that there is pressure to invest is some businesses just because its entertainment.

    • 0 avatar

      Nothing wrong with Johnnie Walker Red, though, to use George Thorogood’s terms, his brother Black is better and their dad Blue is arguably the best blended scotch there is. I don’t think that Blue is worth multiples of the price of some very good single malts, but it does show the potential of blended whiskeys. I like Chivas Regal better than some single malts.

  • avatar
    Garak

    Even 8 miles would be an achievement with that kind of a setup. Maybe the vehicle could work as a silly hybrid, with a 125cc engine taking over when the compressed air runs out…

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I think this is meant to give those two founders some seed money so they can just not work for a while, and live in Hawaii. Then in 2019 or whatever, oops we’re out of money, this isn’t happening now! But I have this nice house to sell which I wrote of as a business expense for the past few years.

    Three states where it’s not really advantageous to start up a new business:
    Hawaii
    California
    New York

    They’re all very expensive from a land proposition, and difficult from a regulation standpoint.

  • avatar
    shaker

    When the 100,000 cubic feet of air runs out (after 80 miles), the tires could be connected to provide 11 more feet of range (so you wouldn’t have to push it into your garage).

    • 0 avatar
      FormerFF

      Wait, 100,000 cubic feet??? That’s the equivalent of 1250 standard scuba tanks. How big is this vehicle?

      • 0 avatar
        shaker

        OopS — forgot the /sarcasm.

        Edit: More specific: /sarcastic hyperbole

        IOW, compressed air (despite its seemingly apparent “advantages”) is a poor energy storage medium, the pressure requirements, pumping losses, waste heat, and the “fart” exhaust (any muffling produces losses) make it a quaint little vehicle that would be at home running Winnie the Pooh and his pals around.

        Maybe some stoners putting a day rental around the beach would find it quite amusing, though

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The video cleverly masked the sound of this vehicle.

    If you’ve ever heard one of these actually run, it sounds like a moving fart, complete with Doppler effect as it approaches and departs. It is very difficult to muffle exhausting compressed air to sound pleasing, and this will be a major turnoff to potential customers – not to mention the goofy looks.

    For a few more Euros, you could buy a used Renault ZOE and have a much better experience.

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      Yet somehow we have made internal combustion engines, which exhaust high pressure air created via explosions, almost silent.

      I don’t think the exhaust sound is the technical challenge they face when trying to design a vehicle which uses a “fuel” with 1/5th the energy volume density of lithium ion batteries.

  • avatar
    George B

    Whenever I see something that makes no economic sense like this I assume that it’s either 1) a scam like The Producers and the show “Springtime for Hitler” or 2) a business entirely built on collecting government subsidies.

    Nebraska Guitar Militia – Farming the Government
    https://myspace.com/nebraskaguitarmilitia/music/song/farming-the-government-19651876-19453061

  • avatar
    Tomas De Torquematic

    I think the real question here is: Why would you want to be anywhere else starting anything if you had Hawaii as a choice? Car factory, cocktail umbrella collection, conga lines – Mahalo, Ma’am!

  • avatar
    mcs

    What does it use for a heater?

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      Excellent question.

      And having some experience with compressed air handling, moisture content is a Big Deal in freezing temperatures.

      • 0 avatar
        CRConrad

        “Freezing temperatures”? Not going to be much of a problem in Hawaii, one would think.

        Ah, of course: That’s what you meant, right? Yeah, so yet another reason to put your alternative-fuel car factory in a place like that.

        Being more of the East-of-the-Atlantic persuasion myself, I think I’ll put my next steam-car startup on Gran Canaria.

  • avatar
    Landcrusher

    As it was explained to me by a wannabe entrant, all deals made on the show are one sided. The Sharks can back out after the show.

  • avatar
    CRConrad

    How big an island is Hawaii?

    I was thinking one legitimate reason to market a thing like this in a place like that would be that it’s definitely bounded in extent, and if it is small(ish) to boot, all the better.

    For one thing, it would tend to put an upper limit on the distance most people need to travel at a time; for another, it would mean that if you need to put up a network of refueling/recharging stations, the number you need to achieve any given density will be less overwhelming than in a less limited area.

    So yeah, FWIW, I can see reasons to start something like this on an island. HTH!

    • 0 avatar
      mcs

      Hopefully no potholes there. Looks like it would take a header if it hit a big one.

      Here is a spec sheet:

      http://www.mdi.lu/telechargements/Doc%20tech%20Airpod%20-%20Airpod%20specs%202014.pdf

      • 0 avatar
        jhefner

        Thanks for posting the spec sheet. So they are using a two cylinder motor similiar to steam cars, displacing 26 cubic inches.

        They are adding the complexity of variable valve timing. Not sure what that will buy them; they are not combusting fuel in the cylinders, and they are not working with steam, where a steam turbine would allow them to take advantage of both the reactive and expansive properties of steam. Maybe the VVT will help compensate for the drop in pressure as the air level drops.

        Also not sure why they are using a gearbox. The early steam cars were direct drive; you would reverse the engine by reversing the valves. Steam tractors had gearing to allow high thrust at very low speeds while allowing the same tractor to reach road speeds when traveling from one place to another. But this car should not need it. I don’t think the “kenetic energy recovery” called for a gearbox.

        I assume “248b” is 248 bar. If that is correct, that translates to 3,597 psi. Roughly twice the max of what the old compressed air locomotives used to operate at; not sure just any compressor could fill the reserve tank up to that pressure.

        I agree that if these were to be built and made anywhere, Hawaii would make sense, not because of the manufacturing climate there; but because of the actual climate — the limited range and lack of A/C and heater just might work there. (Like the enclosed recumbant bikes; I still bet it will be hot and sticky on sunny days.) Just not sure it is all going to be workable when it is finished.

        • 0 avatar
          FormerFF

          248 bar would be roughly the pressure that a high pressure scuba cylinder would use.

          It also says there are two 125 liter air tanks. That’s about 66 gallons, that’s a lot of volume. Multiplying that by 248 bar, I come up with around 2100 cubic feet of air, about the volume of 25 standard scuba cylinders. A typical compressor that a dive shop might have will provide about 10 cubic feet per minute. It would take that compressor longer to fill that tank than it would to charge an equivalent battery, and the electrical consumption would be vastly greater. In order to get a rapid charge, you’d have to have an enormous compressor or a large amount of stored compressed air.

          Battery electric would make much more sense.

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    I’m not sure that I think there is much valid in this proposition but there are a couple things that might make it feasible. Plenty of sun in Hi. A single battery powered compressor with a rooftop solar panel could extend the range like crazy. Recharge in the parking lot at work. Can do it underway also (but not very well) or with a 250cc diesel with a generator. For Hawaii this could work great as a hybrid but as a straight pneumatic powered vehicle I don’t think so. Tata is a lot bigger and they don’t seem to be making it work.

    • 0 avatar
      jhefner

      Wind power is another alternate energy source; lots of ocean breezes. An electric car would certainly make sense their, and range anixety is much less an issue.

  • avatar
    Ron B.

    “shark Tank” ?? it’s an Americanised version of the English “Dragons Den” where hopeful would be entrepreneurs try and convince a panel of very wealthy people that their musical toilet roll holder is worthy of the $100,000 investment they seek.
    So some surfer has come up with a salted mine to try and get the ‘merican versions of the English billionaires to part with some cash.In my fevered mind, I can see the greens now bowing down at the alter of compressed air (bel air?) claiming all sorts of anti climate change benefits while screeching their plaintiff calls for funding.
    Maybe these clever types (you have to be clever to get funding to build mobility scooters powered by air) are really trying to get funds to buy carbon credits which they will sell to the Californian government at a tidy profit.
    Afterall Carbvon credits are another means of making money out of air…

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Ron. B,
      Actually Japanese. The Inventors type format, might have ha a BBC origin, it was successful here in the 1970’s
      Commercial networks, did Dragons Den in 2005 and now Shark tank in 2015
      Japanese original
      http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dragons%27_Den

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