Mexico's Air Powered Taxis
Fair Use Statement
Source: BBC News
Electric cars and this new air powered car are not the final
answer of course. The energy must still come from somewhere and this means exporting the pollution to somewhere else - no free lunch.
Nonetheless, the air-powered car seems to have one obvious
advantage - it does not create the toxics associated with the
manufacturing and disposing of the batteries used in electric
Mexico set to have
Mexico City could see taxis like this one on its streets
Mexico City, one of the most polluted cities in
the world, could see air-powered taxis on its
streets by 2002.
Factories producing a car billed as
non-polluting are due to open in Mexico next
June, and the first taxis are expected to roll
off the production line eight months later.
The vehicle - which is
said to run on
compressed air - is
produced in France,
where the first
factories have already
The car's creator,
French engineer Guy
Negre, says it is the
first viable alternative
to vehicles that run on
But some people argue that new car will not
reduce pollution because electricity is needed
to compress the air.
They say that the extra electricity is likely to
come from fossil fuels, creating an added
source of pollution.
The compressed air on which the car runs is
stored in tanks, similar to scuba-diving tanks,
attached to the underside of the car.
The release of air acts as fuel and activates
the piston engine.
Mr Negre says a
tank-full of air - on
which a car can travel
up to 200km (120
miles) at a speed of
about 90km/h - is
equivalent to two litres
If fleet owners install
their own air stations,
filling a car with 300
litres of compressed air
could take three
Alternatively, the designers say the car could
be plugged into any electrical power source to
fill it up. That could take up to four hours.
The first models of air-powered vehicles -
taxis, small pick-ups and delivery vans - are
expected to be on the market later this year.
Motor Development International, the company
which owns the patent, says that rather than
mass-produce the car, it will sell franchises to
Each factory will have the capacity to produce
around 2,000 vehicles a year.
There are already plans for five production
units in Mexico, as well as others in South
Africa, Australia, the United States, Spain and
The Mexican taxis have been especially
designed for the capital city.
Some hope that the new air-powered cars will
eventually replace the city's petrol and diesel
taxis, nearly 90,000 in total.
Motor Development International says that the
Mexican authorities have shown interest in
their cars as a way of fighting the city's
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