RMIT design graduate Dean Benstead recently released a vehicle that could challenge the electric transport market – his air powered engine 02 Pursuit Motorcycle. Running off compressed air, much like that of a standard SCUBA tank, the bike holds several benefits over its electric counterparts.
Firstly, since it requires no batteries, the bike’s life-cycle has no end. And unlike electric vehicles which can take hours to charge, the 02 Pursuit Motorcycle fills with compressed air in a mere two minutes. However, as a new entry into the transport market, it’s still uncertain how viable the air powered engine is.
Furthermore, energy is still required to compress the vehicle’s air, although Dean is confident his design can compete in the electric vehicle market. “As far as range is concerned, we’re looking at being competitive with the electric bikes”. We’ve done some stationary testing of the prototype, and it’s coming out at 100 km plus”, he says.
Dean’s air powered engine bike is based on the design of a 250cc motocross bike, which uses running gear from a WR250F, along with Engineair’s 11kg DiPietro air engine. The compressed air is released from its vertically stored tank via a lever, before the throttle releases the air into the engine, which uses low-tech drive chain power.
Dean says the rear wheel has been recorded reaching speeds of 140 km/h. However, he says this can almost certainly be improved upon, as his current model, which is only a prototype, focused on design rather than engineering during development.
“The next prototype would involve a total re-style, different material choices over the current steel tube chassis, such as aluminum or even a futuristic printed titanium, reducing the weight comparable to a heavy-duty mountain bike”, Dean says.
When asked about the design of his 02 Pursuit Motorcycle, Dean says “I wanted to explore the viability of compressed air as an alternative fuel, and my childhood experiences riding dirt bikes led me to design the motocross bike based around the Engineair engine.”
Dean officially launched his bike at the 2011 QBE Sydney Motorcycle and Scooter show, before picking up a Melbourne Design Award for his efforts. Although we’re yet to see how viable the air powered engine is, it’s a promising addition to a steadily growing sustainable transport market.
For more info on Dean’s air powered invention, take a look at his website.
Check out this footage on Dean’s design: