History's Innovative Autos

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Air Car One

Compressed air
In 1979, as America found itself embroiled in an energy crisis, Missouri-based engine designer Terry Miller built a car that ran on an abundant, zero-emission fuel source—air. Compressed-air engines had been used in some locomotives and trucks since the 1800s, but Miller streamlined the design for his Air Car One (above). Pressure generated by the release of compressed air from onboard tanks drove the car's engine. Miller's vehicle was never commercially produced, but interest remains. India's Tata Motors, for one, may have a compressed-air car on the country's roads by 2008.

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