The world’s first air-powered car is set to make its debut this August in India. The Mini CAT is the latest offering from Tata Motors, India’s biggest – and most economical – car manufacturer. It runs solely on compressed air, with no alternative fuel sources for backup, thanks to an engine developed by French company Motor Development International, meaning it’s completely environmentally friendly.
Additionally, it’s wallet-friendly. The Mini Cat will retail for about $8,200 and for that sticker price, you get four wheels, an engine which tops out at about 60 MPH and runs for about 185 miles between fuelings, some stiff seats and not much else. Tata has built their name on efficiency, not creature comforts (though it does do some of the Asian manufacturing for Ford’s Jaguar and Range Rover). This really means if you want a radio, you’ll have to put one in yourself.
While it may not be the most luxurious, nor the safest car ever produced (it’s made with a tubular chassis that’s glued and not welded together), it’ll certainly be among the cheapest when it comes time to refill the tank. Special air compressors installed at Indian gas stations mean a fill up will take about two or three minutes and run drivers about 2 or 3 dollars. Total. You can also fill it at home in your garage with it’s on-board compressor, which takes about three to four hours.
The lack of a combustion engine means no oil to change either. The Mini CAT requires only one liter of vegetable oil that needs replacing about every 30,000 miles. A final added bonus: the temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust is about 0 to -15 degrees, meaning it’s perfect to repurpose and use for air conditioning.