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]