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Toyota Ku:Rin Sets Record For Compressed Air Vehicle

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On: Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 4:58PM | By: Chris Weiss

Toyota Ku:Rin Sets Record For Compressed Air Vehicle

Looking at the Ku:Rin, I thought to myself that it looks like the type of streamliner that you'd see out on the Bonneville Salt Flats. Actually, first I thought "What the hell is that colon doing in the middle of the car's name, and am I going to have to write that every time?!" Then I thought that it looks like a streamliner.

Well, I was both right and wrong. The Ku:Rin is indeed a world-record breaking car, but its record is a modest 80 mph. Because it runs on a unique fuel: air compression.

The Ku:Rin (yes, I do have to write that stupid colon the whole article) was developed as a prototype by Toyota subsidiary Toyota Industries Corp. Unlike your average speeding bullet, which aims at nothing short of triple- or quadruple-digit speed records, the Ku:Rin was designed to showcase Toyota's compressed air technology, something that it uses in air conditioning systems.

A bullet-shaped three-wheeler setting a world record is definitely more interesting than a press release about air conditioning technology, so they got it right there.

The Ku:Rin recently hit the test track at the Japan Automobile Research Institute and was clocked at 80.3 miles per hour. The record isn't official yet, but Toyota presumably did it all by the book, because it plans to submit the time to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Instead of a fuel tank, the Ku: Rin carries an air tank. A reverse AC compressor uses expanded air to create mechanical energy and spin the wheels.

Though a car powered by air may sound like the next great alternative vehicle, don't expect to see the technology on a Toyota lot anytime soon. Even with its aerodynamic design, the Ku:Rin travels only about two miles before exhausting its air tank.


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