Okay, I confess, I’m every bit as sceptical about compressed air cars as the journalist who wrote this article. I recall writing about one such proposal, being developed in South Africa, in the Mail & Guardian nearly ten years ago. That enterprise vanished without trace. And I find it somewhat infuriating when media carry puff pieces about unrealised concepts. But this time, the air-powered car does seem to have entered the real world, being deployed by KLM at Schipol airport.
A few interesting points are made: that compressed air cars can be “recharged” really quickly. And that they need not cost as much as electric cars because they get around the need for expensive batteries. Of course, their ultimate “greenness” will depend on how the electricity used to drive the air compressor is generated.
The other fascinating suggestion is that this kind of engine could be adapted to power aircraft. I have no idea if this is realistic, but if it is, it’s the first idea for a possible means of renewably powering aircraft I’ve heard of.
Will the air-powered car become widely used? History suggests that the “best” technologies rarely win in the market. We can but hope.