A car that runs on nothing but compressed air is about to start production in India by the nation’s largest carmaker, Tata Motors. Known as the Air Car, the small runabout was developed with by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre and is capable of traveling up to 68mph with a range of 125 miles.

Tata is expected to produce up to 6,000 units per year with the first cars predicted to hit showrooms early next year in India. The Air Car works by using compressed air to push its engine’s pistons and is refueled using a simple air compressor unit that has been designed uniquely for it. Filling the tank will cost about $2 but if no suitable compressor can be found, owners can use the inbuilt unit by plugging it into a regular household power socket.

The Air Car may not produce any emissions on its own, but the electrical power needed to compress the air to run it will most likely be produced by burning fossil fuels. However, carbon emissions per mile of the Air Car will still be insignificant when compared to that of a comparable internal combustion driven car.

The project won’t be strictly limited to the Indian market. There are already plans to export the vehicle to 12 other countries including Germany, Israel and South Africa. There are also plans for a hybrid version that will feature a small petrol-powered compressor to fill the tanks when they’re running low.

[Source: Popular Mechanics]