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Guy Negre's compressed air vision has crossed our desks before. The vehicle, which uses a motor powered by 4,000 psi of compressed air stored in carbon fiber tanks, will actually start production in India soon – after 15 years in development – thanks to some help from India's biggest automaker, Tata, which itself just unveiled the world's least expensive car called the Nano. The MDI Citycat and Minicat are built from lightweight materials and offer large passenger and luggage space with zero emissions motoring. The energy required to refill the compressed air tanks reportedly costs about $2, and there are optional propulsion units to extend the roughly 90-mile (at speeds of 40mph or below) range of the vehicle so you aren't stuck if your air car runs out of breath.

We wonder if the MDI Citycat and Minicat might actually increase the demand for compressed air. We can just imagine someone finding a way to make money selling high-octane squeezed atmosphere. Regardless, 100 miles of zero emissions sounds good to us, and MDI is also considering setting up local factories in various markets to virtually eliminate transport costs and pollution, too. With Tata's large resources and the insatiable demand of the burgeoning Indian market, these clever cars stand a good chance of success.

[Source: Automotive News, sub. req'd]


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  • 67 Comments
      Walt Esch
      • 7 Years Ago
      Walt Esch sez:

      Jack...your parents were visionaries when they named you! How could they have known the limited amount of knowledge you would accumulate?

      You totally missed my point regarding changing your own oil opposed to having it had done by a qualified service center.

      My point was that the average lay person could manage to change their own oil and save a few dollars, and overlook the fact that the brakes also needed replaced.

      Oil changes are only part of what makes up a scheduled maintenance program.

      What I wasn't able to make clear to you, Jack, was simply an issue of safety.

      In regards to your comments that I might be too lazy to change my own oil...I'm an ASE certified Master Automobile Technician. Have been since 1976. And buddy...I do know Jack!
      Joseph Mulherin, Sr
      • 7 Years Ago
      Back in 1970 I was listening to KGO radio from San Francisco. There was a story of a guy that made a similar car which he drove over the Golden Gate bridge every day to and from work in Oakland.
      He had a jackhammer motor for the drive, attached with two scuba tanks @3000lbs of clean air he had recharged at a dive shop weekly. Also had a compressor driven by the drive line to replentish the air used; also had an electric drive system which he started the car moving up to 35mph before switching over to the air drive; had a generator to replentish the batterys.
      nunn bill
      • 7 Years Ago
      how about adding a device that would recharge a air commpressor also?
      • 7 Years Ago
      The tanks are of low risk if they rupture. They're made of carbon fibre rather than metal, and if they did break, they would crack rather than shatter. There might be a quick escape of compressed air in one direction, but the injuries the compressed air would cause are far less than the ferocity of the collision needed to break the tanks in the first place.

      I love the idea, the cost, and eco-friendly aspect. The only thing I don't like is the styling and design. A three seat car with only one in front and two in back? Make it a two seat sedan/coupe/convertible with a boot (trunk) and well talk.
      • 7 Years Ago
      What is the gripe some of you are making about safety standards in these little cars when you have just as much risk on a motorcycle? People are not/will not be buying these, as they do not some motorcycles and scooters, Segways, those golfcarts you see in some cities, etc, because of the latest airbag and crash avoidence technology. Strictly an efficient, practical way to get from point A to point B and not be consumed by status of the hood ornament.
      Joe
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow 2500.00 for a TATA
      I think I'll get two TATA'S for 5000.00
      My EX-Wife's cost 7000.00
      • 7 Years Ago
      An independant study showed that it would cost ~$5 a fill.
      kenny
      • 7 Years Ago
      what they really need to do is put a compressor onboard to fill the tanks when needed and charge the battery overnight. that would be really amazing
      everet
      • 7 Years Ago
      cost of car is about price of 750 gallons of gas,sounds like a wimmer to me, i`ll buy one!
      Brian
      • 7 Years Ago
      This company has entered the Automotive X-Prize contest. I hope they dont plan on using this car because it wont cut it. The prize is $10 million! Sorry for the long post above.. I have some really serious ideas that can meet and exceed the demands of the contest, if anyone in or around NJ is interested in forming a team to enter the contest send me an email. Any sponsors out there this is a chance to go green with TV, magazine, newspaper and internet publicity. Coverage that cant be beat. This is the same people that did the space X prize and had the show all over TV. I am not really interested in the moeny but more so the chance to get some really great ideas out and running. (Brian220x at AOL . com)
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not so concerned about the tanks as I would be having to ride in one of these new tiny vehicles. I live in Texas, rural Texas, half the vehicles here are big diesel 4 wheel drives with 20,000 pounds of something on a trailer hooked to the bumper. I really pity the poor family or person in one of these when they are in an accident. Just doesn't look safe at all.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Is this like the Dandy Lion SX?
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