Air Car Tantalisingly Close: Part II

Back in February we featured the for-too-long awaited MDI air-car. It's a car that's been talked about, hypothesised over, and invested in for so many years that a lot of onlookers have given up and gone home. I must confess to a reasonable degree of wishful thinking as we've contemplated the possibilities with this car - but, in regards to the certainty of its actually coming to market, I've been as swayed by the technical obstacles as the next guy .

Now, however, Popular Mechanics tells us our wait is (almost!) over:

India’s largest automaker is set to start producing the world’s first commercial air-powered vehicle. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre for Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air, as opposed to the gas-and-oxygen explosions of internal-combustion models, to push its engine’s pistons. Some 6000 zero-emissions Air Cars are scheduled to hit Indian streets in August of 2008.

Barring any last-minute design changes on the way to production, the Air Car should be surprisingly practical. The $12,700 CityCAT, one of a handful of planned Air Car models, can hit 68 mph and has a range of 125 miles. It will take only a few minutes for the CityCAT to refuel at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units; MDI says it should cost around $2 to fill the car’s carbon-fiber tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. Drivers also will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car’s built-in compressor to refill the tanks in about 4 hours.

Of course, the Air Car will likely never hit American shores, especially considering its all-glue construction. But that doesn’t mean the major automakers can write it off as a bizarre Indian experiment — MDI has signed deals to bring its design to 12 more countries, including Germany, Israel and South Africa. - Popular Mechanics

India could be seen as an ideal target market for developing an air-car infrastructure (i.e. establishing the necessary compressed air units at refueling stations). Since India's internal infrastructure is still in its infancy, a strong focus on such technology could, theoretically, see them avoid some of the huge environmental pitfalls China has been experiencing.

Further Reading:

Add a comment
  • to get your picture next to your comment (not a member yet?).
  • Posted on June 4, 2007. Listed in:

    See other articles written by Craig »

    Pledge to do these related actions

    Don't own a vehicle, 216°

    Haven't owned a car for 3 years

    Find (and lower) your carbon footprint, 286°

    Inevitably, in going about our daily lives, each of us contributes to the greenhouse gas ...

    Importance of Toronto Limousine Service to Its Clients and Itself, 1°

    A limousine is a type of an automobile that is very luxurious and is normally ...

    Follow these related projects

    Share your Ride

    popular in United States, Canada and Australia, United States

    wave power mechanism

    East Timor, Philippines

    Featured Companies & Orgs