AIRPod will be aimed at Indian middle classes, hold three people and be controlled with a joystick
Back in 2008, Indian carmaker Tata created an affordable car for the emerging middle class consumers in the country, called the Nano. The car offered the potential to bring motoring to the masses, but there was a problem. No one wanted a car that was marketed as being inherently cheap.
Now Tata has created a new venture. It is another car, similar compact size, designed to appeal to the same market, but there is a crucial difference. Instead of being powered by petrol, diesel, or even electricity alone, the developers are experimenting with an air-powered design, with the Tata AIRPod.
The Tata AIRPod is being developed with the help of Luxemburg-based company MDI, which has been championing the use of air power for vehicles for several years. The car accommodates up to three passengers and works by an electric filling station pumping air into a tank, then compressed air being released from the tank, propelling the vehicle forwards. The car is made more economical by recapturing energy from braking, similar to some hybrid cars.
The design will be super futuristic, the driver controlling the pod with a joystick rather than a steering wheel. The vehicle is surprisingly economical too, the model under construction by Tata only costs one euro per 200 km to fuel. Not only that, but the AIRPod will be perfectly suited to city driving, it is small maneuverable and can run at speeds of up to 43mph.
"With small size, a tiny price, zero pollution, fun and futuristic design, AIRPod marks a turning point in the range of urban vehicles while renewing the idea of the automobile and transportation," says MDI. "It is a real breath of fresh air in our cities and the prelude to travel without pollution. Its small size makes it easy to park, keeping still a large internal volume. AIRPod will help us to forget the price of petrol."
At the moment, Tata and MDI are still describing the car as being 'in development', so it is unclear on when the Indian middle classes will be able to silently whoosh around Delhi in super-green machines.
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bicky thomas, india-tamilnadu-chennai
4 October 2012, 02:33PM
This is an nice concept. But with the help air power we cant
5 November 2012, 02:46PM
In a country with over 1billion people do you really want to promote single seater cars?
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