In 2010, a new research and development company by the name of Magnetic Air Cars Incorporated announced that they were actively developing a compressed-air prototype engine based upon a car allegedly built by J.M. Custer of Piggott Arkansas in 1932.
The Historic Air Car
Manual Parks, the CEO of Magnetic Air Cars reports that the research company started with Custer's design and utilized the latest engineering and automotive technologies to transform the compressed air car design into one that will work more efficiently and with more power.
The story about the car built in 1932 is sourced primarily from a January 1932 ad in Modern Mechanix magazine, which features a car built with a compressed air motor. The featured car had several tanks of compressed air on the back, and an odd rotary fan in the front of the car.
According to the ad, the operation of the air car involved using an electric battery to heat the air coming into the front engine, then cooling the air and compressing it into the tanks. Finally the compressed air returned to the engine and served to provide power. The final prototype, built by J.M. Cluster, was based on six years of research by inventor Roy J. Meyers.
Meyers patented the technology, and in the patent description, he outlined how the air remained compressed through a heating and expansion chamber using electrical heating elements.
The Modern Magnetic Air Car
While competition and technological achievements often drive innovation and a constant evolution of every industry, the automobile industry has suffered from technological stagnation. The gasoline fueled combustion engine has been used for many decades, and an entire infrastructure and car fuel industry now exists to support the gasoline powered cars on the road.
As environmental issues become an increasing social concern, more research efforts are underway throughout the industry to develop alternative fuels or alternative motor designs. While commercial "green" cars today now consist mostly of hybrid vehicles that utilize both electric batteries and gasoline, other research organizations, like Magnetic Air Cars Incorporated, are considering completely redesigning the entire concept of a "car engine."
How the Magnetic Air Car Operates
Because competition in the alternative energy research field is so fierce, the company only shared a superficial description of the proposed compressed air engine with reporters in 2010. From that description, the proposed 2010 design included the following features:
- Air-bearing turbochargers to create the required mechanical energy from the cold compressed air
- Super capacitors as part of the electrical system
- Recyclable batteries and solar power
- Magnetic motors and magnetic generators
The company describes the use of all of the above advanced technologies to compress the ambient air that enters the engine during travel.
Perpetual Motion Machines and the Auto Industry
Ever since social and political concerns started directing the industry away from using fossil fuels to power cars or to generate electricity, many scammers and con artists made numerous "perpetual motion" promises to investors in order to receive research funding. None of those promised technologies have ever come to fruition, so today more and more research investors are wary of any claims of perpetual motion.
Perpetual motion is the concept that an engine can run without any fuel and can produce no harmful emissions. Laws of thermodynamics require that mechanical energy cannot be created from nothing, so another valid source of energy is required in order to create the mechanical motion of the car.
Many observers describe the Magnetic Air Car as yet another perpetual motion machine, because some form of energy is required to heat and compress the ambient air. In 2010, the company assured the public that through the use of advanced technologies like super-capacitors and solar power, the new compressed air engine is able to perform as promised.
Cars of the Future
As the car industry continues to be transformed by each worldwide energy crisis that occurs and automakers react to global competition throughout the auto industry, the entire design of the car today may soon become a relic of the past. Only a few questions remain: Which new technological advancement will transform the industry? Will the new technology be commercially viable? And will car consumers want to own the vehicles that utilize that new technology? In an industry that has seen dramatic ups and downs over the last century, only time will answer those questions.