While other car makers experiment with alternative fuels like hydrogen, biodiesel, and compressed natural gas, Indian auto company Tata is literally hoping to pull the propulsion for its new concept vehicle out of thin air. Called the AirPod, this diminutive three-seat car primarily runs on compressed air.
The car’s special engine is driven by the pressure of air stored in a tank on board. The tank is filled either through an external pump — think of it like a gas pump, only for air — or by drawing in air while it’s driving with the help of a secondary electric motor.
AirPod’s creators say the vehicle is able to reach a top speed of 43 miles per hour and that its electric motor is recharged in part when you apply the brakes.
The AirPod may look a little silly, but its small size could actually be a big selling point in India, which suffers from extreme road congestion. The country has been investigating alternative forms of transportation for years, most recently making news with a decision to install self-driving cars to shuttle visitors to and from one of its most popular religious sites.
What do you think about the AirPod? Tell us in the comments.