Air Car Tantalisingly Close

A French designer of engines for Formula One racing cars has turned his attention to creating an engine that runs on, and emits, only air! By all accounts, this is no pie-in-the-sky dream invention either - as the vehicle's release is slated for later this year.

With a top speed of 110kph (68mph) and a range of about 200kms (125miles), it looks to be an entirely useable commuter, and more. In fact, once the initial model is on the market, there are plans for a hybrid version - a car that will use a small amount of fuel to generate the compressed air required for the main engine - resulting in a 4,500km range (2,800 miles) from just one tank of fuel!

That's right - just compressed air!
Because there is no 'combustion', the engine temperature remains tepid. This fact means the engine parts can be produced from metals with lower melting points, like aluminium - allowing for smaller lighter engines (about half the weight of a regular petrol engine) which increases the vehicle's range.

Watch the video to learn more:

The manufacturer, MDI (Motor Development International), lists some other interesting facts on their website:
- Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at adapted petrol stations to administer compressed air. In 2 or 3 minutes, and at a cost of approximately 1.5 Euros, the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometres

- As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4 hours

- Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 50,000 Km

- The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0 - 15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power -

That's certainly one way to offset the CO2 emissions from years of working with racing cars!

Update: Air Car Tantalisingly Close: Part II

Hat Tip: Digital Journal

1 comment

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Charlie (anonymous)

As usual, MDI didn't deliver as promised. It has been the same story every since Zero Pollution Motors and MDI announced in 2000 that production cars would be available for sale in South Africa by 2002.

Every year a new announcement. But nothing ever delivered.

MDI is not an investment-raising venture not a car-building company. They make their money from license fees and by sellng franchises, not from building cars. For MDI this is fortunate since they have never built and delivered cars that meet the performance claims they have been making for the last decade.

Written in December 2008

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  • Posted on Feb. 23, 2007. Listed in:

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