volvo air 1

Yes, it’s probably the smallest vehicle to be seen at the LA International Auto Show, the Volvo Air Motion zero-emission concept is, but it certainly isn’t child’s play or a super ultra compact.

The car that can be seen sitting in the concourse joining the two main halls of the show is actually a 1/4 scale model representation of the concept, which was developed by a team from Volvo’s Monitoring and Concept Center in California to take part in the show’s Design Challenge Competition.

volvo air 3

In keeping to the competition’s theme this year of envisioning an efficient, light-weight, four passenger vehicle that’s stylish, drives well and is comfortable and safe, while not exceeding 1,000 lbs, the team at Volvo came up with this ultra light clam shell design, which is powered by compressed air.

Weighing in at 902 lbs, the bodywork is made of carbon fibre and the VAM features a significant reduction of components used to build a traditional car, with a wheel that integrates the brake disc, hub, rim and transmission into a single offering being one of the novelties.

volvo air 2

Compressed air motors replace a heavy internal combustion engine – these cool down under load rather than heat up, thus removing the need for bulky cooling systems. To compress the air needed for the centrally mounted air tank, Air Replenishment Sites, with air turbines floating 1,000ft in the air, harness the power of the wind and convert it to electricity to provide the vehicle’s compression.

Gallery after the jump.

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