The Little Engine That Couldn’t Quite
French Inventor Builds Air-Powered Car
Guy Negre, an inventor working out of an industrial park on the French Riviera, has developed a car that runs entirely on compressed air, producing only cold air as exhaust. While he’s attracted a number of investors and received a flurry of media attention, enviros shouldn’t dream airy dreams just yet. Negre concedes that the car has too little power and too short a maximum range to make it fit for sale. However, he’s returned to the drawing board to develop a kind of hybrid that runs half on compressed air and half on a clean-burning external combustion chamber. He claims that the chamber would produce only tiny amounts of pollution and that an early version of the car got 94 miles per gallon. Given that Negre is operating on a shoestring budget, and the process for testing and selling new engines takes big automakers years, there won’t likely be air-cars on the street anytime soon. But it’s another dream — along with hydrogen cars — to dream.