New car powered by compressed air to hit France

There are some nifty-sounding cars in the making these days. The latest — to be introduced in France, where production will begin next year — is the Air Car, a car that runs on, uh, air. Well, and electricity too. You plug it in at home, where an electric pump compresses air into the tank; the compressed air then powers the engine during driving. A full charge will enable you to travel about 50 miles at top speed (70 mph) and farther at lower speeds, more than enough, says manufacturer Moteur Developpment International, for most urban drivers. As MDI rep Sebastien Braud aptly summarizes, “It’s safe, doesn’t pollute, doesn’t explode, it’s not poisonous, and it’s not expensive.” The three-seater compact will go for just under $10,000, the six-seater $16,000. Of course, there are skeptics. Some enviros note that converting electricity to compressed air is inefficient, and the electricity has to come from somewhere. Still, we can’t help but be charmed by the vision of poot-pooting our way across the Bordeaux region, leaving only air in our wake.