Originally Posted by JRP3
The air car looks like crap to me. A really inefficient way to store electrical energy.
There are several advantages I see in a compressed air system (CAS) that makes it worth taking a look:
1) Weight Reduction
: With the use of carbon fiber tanks the weight of the system is essentially the weight of the tanks.
2) Cost: not the electric cost, which of course is higher due to inefficiency, but that the costs of the tanks will be significantly less than the costs of batteries. In addition, tanks don't wear, so you won't have to replace them.
3) Fast refillability: Air tanks can be quickly filled from tanks of precompressed air, which can then be later refilled. So at least in theory filling a CAS vehicle would be more like filling a gas tank, as opposed to having to plug in for an extended period of time.
4) Free AC: decompressing air cools it, by capturing that coolness and transferring it to the cabin, AC can be achieved as a byproduct of running a CAS engine.
5) Improved efficiency using waste heat. Heated air expands more. So more power can be obtained by heating the air as it is used. Any heat source is usable for this process. A lot of the wasted electricity in compressing air is generated as heat. By capturing this heat in the vechicle in an insulated system and reusing that heat (or the heat of braking)
to heat the gas, the efficiency of that CAS system will improve the range of the vehicle.
6) Regenerative Braking
. A CAS system facilitates recapturing the energy of braking by compressing air back into the tanks.
Using a electric traction motor and battery system coupled with a CAS system that drives a generator can facilitate a fast fillable, regen, lightweight plugin hybrid with extended range. And it's still an all electric hybrid instead of a gas electric hybrid.
Finally if we start using renewable energy such as solar, then the fact that air compression is inefficient isn't as critical.
I have another post on this subject on the forum. I'd love to discuss the idea some more.