Compressed air kit car

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This article is about making a low-cost compressed air kit car.

Objective[edit | edit source]

To lower the price of new vehicles for the poor and to offer additional advantages on the vehicles performance and environmental impact.

Means[edit | edit source]

  • To cooperate with a kit car manufacturer to produce a new kit car (Ford M151A2 MUTT) with a alternative (compressed air) engine.
  • To cooperate with a kit car manufacturer to also produce cheap conversion kits (to increase ground clearance and/or convert to a compressed air engine) for the most commonly available cars in the developing world (with particular focus to NorthWest to Central Africa, and perhaps also South-East Asia)
  • To open source the (modified) M151A2 blueprints (similar to the c,mm,n-project of the Dutch Universities of Eindhoven, Twente and Delft)

Note[edit | edit source]

At the moment, cheap cars are being supplied to West Africa via the harbour of Cotonou (Benin), aswell as some other badly regulated harbours. The used, worn-out cars these ports bring in are however not intented of dealing with the local road conditions (being primarily French suburban cars as the Peugeot 205, Renault 4, ...) and are often in such degraded condition that the car's exhaust fumes are a lot more polluting than which would be normally the case (a result of their damaged/unmaintained engines that are no longer capable of regulating the fuel combustion accurately). In SE Asia, similar problems exist and relatively polluting vehicles as the tuk-tuk may be altered.

Aldough these cars supplied to the African mainland are very cheap, the price of the proposed M151A2 kit car can be sold at a comparable price than these worn-off automobiles, and offer even greater savings when the cars are compared at with their full lifecycle as :

  • like all kit cars, they need to be assembled yourself (or trough a mechanic, ...) hereby having a tremendously lower price than constructed ones
  • the alternative, compressed air engine described to be used with the M151A2 kit car would decrease its operation costs heavily as compressed air is about 1/10th of the price of gasoline
  • the M151A2 car itself was, even in its heyday, fairly cheap to produce, being small and composed of little parts
  • the car's maintenance costs are way lower than any other car sold in North Africa, giving its sturdy, military-style construction

Aldough the exact price is dependant on the manufacturer, parts used, ... average price for the entire M151A2 assembly kit would be somewhere in the range of 2000€-4000€.

Besides purchasing the car by kit, the open sourcing of the plans would also enable people the possibility to self-create the car from scratch. This, might lower the price even more, as has been experienced with other cars as the locost (which attained a bottom price to build it at 150€, depending on approach). However, as only a select group of people will be able to do everything himself, the main emphasys and focus will still be put un the assembly kit.

The kit car described would also offer far better road performance than most other cars sold in Africa/the developing world (being capable of doing 50km/ph on cross-country), and make it easier to fix any problem that might occur (as the vehicle can be repared with a bare minimum of tools).

Due to the compressed air engine, no emissions would occur at any moment from the car (not even when the car's engine is coming to age). As such, all pollution from these cars would be eliminated from the road system, and along with it, all negative health consequences from these cars' exhausts. Also, aldough the technology and the engine itself are relatively new, it is well suitable for the developing world as all gas stations are standard equipped with an air compressor, required for its refueling. In addition, it may also be refueled simply via a mere electricity plug , which gives it an even greater advantage than gasoline engines in places in the world where there is not always a gas station to be found.

Given the vehicle's light weight and as it's original engine not being very powerful at its introduction neither, no losses in speed or power would result. As such, this vehicle chassis would be perfectly matched with the new, non-polluting engine. The top speeds which could be reached with this vehicle would be around 120 km/ph, making it as fast enough to match any other car in the developed world (as speed limits are generally set to 130km/ph) and even much faster than any speed which can be attained at roads in the developing world (given the road condition/traffic situation, effectively limiting speeds to 60km/ph, even at big highways).

The project described, aldough renewing as a whole, is still constructed on proven technology and companies. These include:

  • the open sourcing of the car's construction blueprints is also done by c,mm,n-project of the Dutch universities described above
  • the experience and ability of kit car manufacturers to decrease cost, has also been used by other projects as the locost (150-1500€), Jago Jeep, Deauville Canjito (8850€), ...
  • the experience of CQFD is used for the air engine and the cost of the engine is projected to be around 1000€ (as the sale price of a complete car they make, the CityCat 1, is only around 4000€)
  • the experience of Ford and the US Army, aswell as its 40 years of field usage is used

P.S. Aldough Ford/the US Army will need to make the construction plans of one of their vehicles open source they will probably comply to this, as it is in their intrest too . It would be in their intrest as the US Army also aims at heightening the economic prosperity of other countries/peoples to facilitate global peace and better relationships with other countries. This can be clearly seen with the humanitarian and environmental initiatives they have previously been involved in; respectively their hydrogen powered bus-projects at Hickam Air Force Base (Honolulu, Hawaï), hydrogen-borohydride fuel cells, use of biofuels in all their military vehicles, ... and assistance rendered at every major natural disaster in South & South East Asia, South America and Oceania (e.g. 2004 Indian Ocean Earthquake, Bam Earthquake, ...). Also, as the M151A2 has been outdated and replaced by the HMMWV, the military value it might have possessed has long been vanished.

If however the original M151A2 plans, nor our modified plans can be open sourced, or if the M151A2 proves unsuitable for large scale low-cost production, their predecessors may be used, notably the M38/M38A1 or Willy's MB/Ford GWP.

Alternatives[edit | edit source]

Another type of car design could also be used, offering additional advantages over this vehicle, but with a longer production time and higher price. Also, some other designs as the biotrike, Victor Papanek's all-wheel vehicle and the red minibus apprearing in Bad Boys 2 (do not know the brand; could be Pinzgauer (4x4)) are also very useful designs (more storage capacity and passengers) and may also be used as a basis for the compressed air kit car.

Another very good design is a design combining the elements of the Original Desert Patrol Vehicle with the appearance and more regular dune buggy structure (more cube-like) of the Chenowth ALSV and Singapore Technologies Engineering Spider LSV / Meyers Manx buggy. Main focus points of combining the designs is a (tube-frame) roof/cage and cube-like structure of the ALSV/Spider LSV/Meyers Manx (allowing bagage storage on roof and some storage behind aswell, good window cover, while retaining simplicity of construction, low-cost DIY construction, relative high speed 4/all-wheel drive and performance.

More information[edit | edit source]

  • M151A2 MUTT

  • Overview of the compressed air engine and present manufacturers

  • MDI/CQFD Main Site (air engine manufacturers)

  • Kit car overview and kit car manufacturers

  • Jago Jeep

  • C,mm,n-project

  • Locost-project

  • Deauville Canjito

  • Rs 1 lakh car (2000$ car), to be launched in 2008

  • The tuk-tuk

  • Worn-out cars entering North Africa via the port of Cotonou

  • Compressed air car information