Alternative Fuel Projects
Air Powered Cars

by Jorge Chapa
June 1, 2007

Developed by Moteur Developpement International, the Compressed Air Engine might just be best thing to have happened to the motor engine in years. And now, one of the first commercial applications for the zero-emission engine, the Air Car, will be starting production relatively soon, thanks to India’s TATA Motors. There’s fuel, there’s renewable fuel, and then there’s uber-renewable fuel- and a car that runs off of air is sure to fall into the third category. Here’s hoping we see these on streets all over the world sooner than later!

The engine works by using compressed air instead of gasoline for fuel. It has a maximum speed of about 100km/h and a range of around 200-300 km per fuel charge, making it ideal for use within the city. Two types of engines are being proposed for the models, a single energy engine which works simply by using compressed air, and a dual energy engine, which works by combining compressed air for short trips and gasoline for longer trips.

In order to recharge the car, one can plug it into the mains system so that the internal pump can refill the compressed air tank, or by going to a purpose-built air-station. The Minicat and the Citycat are two of models being proposed for manufacturing with plans to expand towards pick-up trucks and even minivans. 


Related Links

The Air-Powered MDI Car is Coming to the US!
by Jorge Chapa
February 26, 2008

India’s air-powered four wheel marvel, the MDI Air Car, will be coming to the United States in 2010! The eco-friendly air-powered vehicle will be manufactured by Zero Pollution Motors, who just licensed the technology from MDI. It’s another entry in the growing field of the subcompact class, and another challenger to the title of world’s most fuel efficient vehicle.



Alternative Fuel Projects Air Car from France (1 of 2) 
Youtube Link

By Roger Harrabin
Environment analyst, BBC News
February 14, 2008

An engineer has promised that within a year he will start selling a car that runs on compressed air, producing no emissions at all in town. The OneCAT will be a five-seater with a glass fibre body, weighing just 350kg and could cost just over £2,500. It will be driven by compressed air stored in carbon-fibre tanks built into the chassis.

The tanks can be filled with air from a compressor in just three minutes - much quicker than a battery car. Alternatively, it can be plugged into the mains for four hours and an on-board compressor will do the job. For long journeys the compressed air driving the pistons can be boosted by a fuel burner which heats the air so it expands and increases the pressure on the pistons. The burner will use all kinds of liquid fuel.

The designers say on long journeys the car will do the equivalent of 120mpg. In town, running on air, it will be cheaper than that.

"The first buyers will be people who care about the environment," says French inventor Guy Negre. "It also has to be economical."

Major savings

Mr Negre has been promising for more than a decade to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Independent observers are more convinced this time because he recently secured backing from the giant Indian conglomerate Tata to put the finished touches to the engine.

The compressed air is stored in carbon-fibre tanks. Tata is the only big firm he'll license to sell the car - and they are limited to India. For the rest of the world he hopes to persuade hundreds of investors to set up their own factories, making the car from 80% locally-sourced materials.

"This will be a major saving in total emissions," he says. "Imagine we will be able to save all those components travelling the world and all those transporters."

He wants each local factory to sell its own cars to cut out the middle man and he aims for 1% of global sales - about 680,000 per year. Terry Spall from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers says: "I really hope he succeeds. It is a really brave experiment in producing a sustainable car." But he said he was interested to see how the car would fare with safety tests and how much it would appeal to a public conditioned to expect luxury fittings adding to the weight of the vehicle.

Mr Negre says there's no issue with safety - if the air-car crashes the air tanks won't shatter - they will split with a very loud bang. "The biggest risk is to the ears." 

MDI Group of Companies
The MDI Group of Companies are involved in Research and Development of new technologies, and, Production Concepts for sustainable energy source without any pollution. MDI has already registered several patents for the Compressed Air Engines developed by its research department, which has focused on improving the efficiency of the engines.

Motor Development International & Zero Pollution Motors

The Air Car
Beyond Tomorrow 2005

Youtube Link
World's First Air-Powered Car: 
Zero Emissions by Next Summer

This six-seater tax, which should be available in India next year, 
is powered entirely by a tank filled with compressed air.

By Matt Sullivan
Popular Mechanics
Published in the June 2007 issue. 

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. 

Air Car Engine
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