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Mdi Air-Powered Car Gets Priced and Dated: Air Not Included

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What would you say if I told you that your next car could run on air instead of gasoline, and that it would produce zero pollution? The MDI AIRpod might just bring that promise to reality when it hits the streets later this year.

mdi airpod

The subcompact AIRpod runs on compressed air instead of traditional automotive fuels. A set of carbon-fiber tanks sit underneath the passenger compartment, loaded up with 2900psi of compressed air. The tanks power a tiny engine capable of cranking out a whopping 5.4 horsepower and 11-foot-pounds of torque. Woo-hoo!

mdi airpod colors

It takes 2 minutes to fill up the tanks, and a single occupant should be able to go somewhere around 90 to 125 miles on a full set of tanks. And with air costing just €1 (appx. $1.40 USD) for a fill-up, fuel costs are pretty much a non-issue. Of course, that all assumes you can find a place to fill up the tanks.

mdi airpod car

MDI says the production version will transport up to 3 adults and 1 child, with a single front-facing driver’s seat, and a rear-facing bench for the other occupants. This tiny green car looks awfully cramped – not to mention a bit dangerous for the passengers, but maybe that’s just me.

airpod interior

Want to know how it drives? The guys over at Edmunds Inside Line have actually gotten a chance to test drive the prototype and it through its paces.

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While the current prototype car can only hit 30mph, the production model should hit 50mph when it hits at the end of 2009. The 2010 AIRpod is expected to be released by the end of 2009 in France for €6,000 (appx $8380 USD). MDI plans on offering additional compressed-air cars in the not-too-distant-future.

[via WOW-POW via Slashgear]







Comments (13):

  1. james says:

    Oh, not this idea again. :)

    The problem with air-powered vehicles is that they’re nowhere near as efficient as electric or petrol cars. With petrol, you ignite it and it explodes to drive the car – not terrible efficient, but pretty easy.

    With an air-powered car, chances are you’re going (a) burn fossil fuel to generate electricity, (b) consume electricity to run the air compressor, and (c) convert the energy potential in the compressed air into motion. You lose an incredible amount of energy each time you convert, and the result is anything but green. We’d be better off driving ancient smoke-spewing Indian scooters.

    • DBoone says:

      Before assuming how these work and trashing them without real knowledge, I suggest you read up on how this all operates. I read an article about two weeks back and it made sense that air is the only power needed because of how it works. I can not explain it, but I did understand it.
      It on the same principle of solar energy not needed anything but sunlight to produce its own electricity. The Austrtalian outback has used that for years.

  2. Mahadevan says:

    If the air powered cars consume so much electricity, then I think the new CNG Logan is much better option as a Green environment friendly. It consumes the least possible fuel and the running cost of the car is unusually low. I am a loyal Mahindra Renault Logan user so I can say it is really cost effective http://www.mahindrarenault.com

  3. John M says:

    5.4 horsepower is not enough power to move a real car. However, it is enough to run an electric generator. So why not use the air power to make electricity and give the car an electric motor? Then we can use this technology in Real cars and leave this little green pod to Barbie And Ken!

  4. JTeague says:

    Do you all feel that Benz felt that way when he did his 1st combustion engine? New ideas are always hard to except.. With time this tech will become the norm and be transformed into racing engines.

  5. JTeague says:

    It’s always all about in “time”, Tech will catch up and push this engine to a higher performance, :MDI are also working on a dual-power version, which will use the air engine together with a tiny “supercharger” which heats the air and thus boosts performance.

  6. Charlie says:

    It’s now late September 2010.

    Still no air car.

    MDI has no official schedule for starting production, but rumors are “early next year”.

    But “early next year” or “late this year” is that status of production for each of the last 10 years.

  7. Bella Rossi says:

    I hope for the best:)

    What i do know is there in NO reason we should still be using gas
    i wish the scientists would stand up to the oil companies for the rest of us.

    We are actually having a discussion about this…..

    http://www.mforums.org/showthread.php?tid=101

  8. Marco jones says:

    These are the exact problems we are trying to address.

    Marco jones

    http://www.millenniumparty.org

  9. phil craft says:

    where can i buy one

    • Charlie says:

      MDI has never manufactured the cars, in spite of around 20 years (yes, 20 years) of announcing almost every year that proctor would start in 12-24 months.

      As of May 2012 MDI plans to start production of the airpod ……… “next year”.

      Does anybody want to bet on whether they actually go into production.

      The problem is the relatively low energy density of compressed air makes it difficult to achieve a reasonable operating range. MDI for many years has shown prototype and claimed very long operating ranges. The only public test showed a range of less than 8km / 5 miles.

  10. Ed Willey says:

    Have to reinforce what James says at the top- Each time you convert from one type of energy or storage medium you lose 20 – 40%. The only benefit of an air car is that it is another way to mobilize energy generated at large fixed plants same as using grid electricity to charge batteries.
    The key lesson here is getting by on 5 hp. I would bet that if I built a car and used an efficient 5hp gasoline engine it’s overall efficiency and carbon footprint would be twice as good.

  11. Ryan Clearwater says:

    These are the ideas we need in this world.

    We are a social networking site and ALL profits will
    only be used to develop ideas like this!
    we are 100% not for profit.

    http://www.earth.bz

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