GM Design Winner Compressed Air Powered

At the Los Angeles Auto Show, GM announced last week it co-won the event’s annual Design Challenge with its envisioned Cadillac Aera concept design. The vehicle, if it were ever to be built as created, would be powered by environmentally friendly compressed air.

GM said the Aera design, which tied with one from Smart during the Design Challenge, “is powered by compressed air via a highly efficient Pneumatic Drive System that has a 10,000-psi composite air storage tank with capacity for a 1,000-mile range. Flexible, pressurized air cells in the exterior skin, similar to material developed for the NASA Mars Rover airbags, enhance passive safety and interior comfort. The flexible polymer skin optimizes aerodynamics and functions as an ultra-lightweight alternative to conventional body panels and glass.”

Cadillac Aera

image via GM

The Los Angeles Auto Show Design Challenge this year called on entries to be envisioned as a lightweight 1,000 lb vehicle which would be “an efficient four-passenger vehicle that maintained comfort, safety, driving performance and style while not exceeding the weight requirement.” The Aera was thus designed as such, being thought up to be a small city urban vehicle in a 2+2 touring coupe configuration.

Technologies thought up for the Aera were advanced indeed, including an all-in-one wheel system that combines rotary actuator propulsion, steering and suspension functions; a drive-by-wire system that decreases the mass of electrical components; and vehicle to vehicle communications that promote “active safety.”

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I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.