Honda Air: The Compressed-Air Sportscar at LA Auto Show's Design Challenge

Honda, aside from making their cars good shapes, participates to design challenges like that from the LA Auto Show, presenting their compressed-air Honda Air.

Weighing under 454 kilos (1,000 lbs), the Honda Air is run by a compressed air motor, with the energy held inside compressed air in pressurized tanks. It’s “programmed” to have an autonomy of around 100 miles and has a pneumatic regulator system.

Concepts I never saw in a car like turbo-vacuums and the usage of external air flow to regenerate the tank pressure (probably during braking) contribute to the 100 miles of driving. The car won’t have specialized tanks placed beneath the driver. The chassis will play the role of a tank, fact which reduced the overall weight.

The preoccupation for greenness has led Honda to build the body panels from vegetable-based polymers. Hubless wheels and drive systems, glass reinforced seating panels and tires from urethane and also skeletal sub-frame components also reduce the car’s weight and give significant power savings.

The best part about driving a compressed-air car is that you don’t need special fillers and gas stations; the nearest tire repair shop is good, as is the air compressor Honda provides the car with. Nice, isn’t it?

There have been several models powered by compressed air in the past, with very ingenious engines, but they failed due to a number of reasons, among which was the body weight that led to inefficiency. Let’s hope Honda’s experience and engineers will make air cars possible.

[disenoart via ecofriend]

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