• Jan 11th 2008 at 11:52AM
  • 18

Recently, I told you the BBC and the Age reported the Air Car would be released this year. After reading an article in the Mumbai Mirror, I am little concerned about Tata Motors making that release date. In the Mumbai Mirror article, Debasis Ray, head of corporate communications for Tata Motors said the Air Car won't be ready for "nearly two years." Here is the full quote:

When contacted, Tata Motors' Debasis Ray, who heads the company's corporate communications said: "The Air Car still requires nearly two years of work, to refine its technology." He added that the company would only discuss the price point for the vehicle, and its launch date after Tata Motors is ready to launch the car into the market.

The article does say MDI has "already signed 50 factories in Europe, America and Asia" and MDI's Guy Negre is "happy with" the agreement with Tata Motors. Also, the Mumbai Mirror article's focus was on a possible release of the Air Car in India. So, Debasis may have meant work needed to be done to make the car fit for the Indian market. So, it's possible Tata saying MDI needs two years of work doesn't mean a delay in the overall program, I guess.

Then again, it could mean the Air Car is going to be late. No insult intended to Indian standards but why would a car be released in the EU and Australia, then need two years of work so it can be released in India? The real reason for my concern is I assumed a release date of this year was based largely on MDI's relationship with Tata. Now that is in question and I have real doubts about a release. Why do I have doubts about a release without Tata?

In January 2004, CNN said the MDI team "hoped" the Air Car would be "rolled out by the end of 2004" (check it out at 4:25 into the video above). Is a 2008 release just more hope?

[Source: Mumbai Mirror]

I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.

    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      For those who read spanish I am writing on the Air Car in my blog http://espacioexterior.blogspot.com

      I am very skeptical about the release of the car, and many people told me the bussiness is to sell "manufacturing licenses" to investors.

      Greetings, Heriberto.
      • 8 Months Ago
      TATA is an environmentally conscious tech development company in India, (which founded TERI, Tata Energy Research Institute). Theyve been working on a viable air-based car for a while and its coming close to being road-viable.It would have a max speed of around 115km, drive for around 10 hours before needing refilling - it takes a couple of minutes to refill the compressed air tank and is significantly cheaper than petrol (the article states about 1/10th the cost in current European climate). It also has a secondary power source of a rechargable electric battery that takes about 3 hours to charge for a similar running duration.In terms of oil, because the engine is not a combustion engine, oil usage is incredibly low, and not only that, but it works on vegetable oil. 1L of vegetable oil per 50,000kms of travel.As an added bonus in terms of Australian climate, the air expelled by the engine is 100% clean and below zero degrees, meaning that not only is air conditioning included, it is a byproduct of the regular engine system (and hence no power is lost, nor extra fuel/energy used when using aircon).My one question is, why are people who design cars with alternate fuel sources totally incapable of making the thing look good?Anyway, lets hope these come to Australia in a big way.. which wont happen ofcourse if the conglomerates have any say in the matter.. the car is going to START at a cost of 5500 pounds, which is already cheaper than pretty much every other car on the market..
      Link Building
      • 8 Months Ago
      Thye Hadley, Ferral, and Polar air cells determine global weather patterns. Ideally air would be compressed at 67* lattitude [sound] The heat would reinforce the strong up draft needed to send cold polar air back up to 90*. The compressed air tanks would be shipped south and used at 37* where their 40*F cold air exhaust would reinforce the DOWN DRAFT needed to pull the warm Hadley air rising from the equator down and send it back south to be reheated and rise again. Pipelines of compressed air tanks like TSA trays? After use would they unseal, nest, and be sent back up to 67* how?
      • 8 Months Ago
      Look past the marketing hoopla and give this concept a fair chance!

      I think a five -year development span will be a reasonable timetable for the product to come to the market.

      The idea itself is very intriguing and promising!
      • 8 Months Ago
      I remember checking out the MDI website a few years ago, and back then they were claiming that they would get 240 km range on one fillup. How did they get that figure? They took a 17 km run in a prototype, then said "the production version will have a bigger tank, and use higher pressure, and will be more streamlined, and have an improved engine, and will be lighter, etc. Each planned future "improvement" was multiplied to the original 17 km run, strettching it out with fudge factors to an incredible 240 km!

      The reason for the endless delays? They need development time to to try and get the performance up to within shouting distance of all the hype.
      • 8 Months Ago
      I don't get the impression the Air Car will be released in Australia this year - the factory hasn't been constructed yet and the local partner is talking about releasing the engine as a power generation unit as the first step.

      I'll have an interview with louis Arnoux up early next week at The Oil Drum and Peak Energy going over some of these questions...
      • 8 Months Ago
      people will say what about the energy to compress the air? i think it will be less than the energy used to get a tank of fuel in to your car look at the oil process as a whole from the rig drilling transport to the refinery the cracking process transport to the gas station and finally the electric pump that puts the fuel in your car air requires no transport just power to compress it which can which only leaves us the choice where does that power come from?
      • 4 Years Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      Well, there's no longer any doubt. Neither MDI nor Tata Motors released an air car in 2008.

      Now the question is whether one will be released in 2009.

      Or 2010

      Or 2011

      Or 2012.

      We've been waiting since the first announcement by MDI back in 2000 that production would start in France in late 2000 and in South Africa in 2002. What's another decade or two for a true believer?
      • 8 Months Ago
      "I have real doubts about a release."

      Wow, if you have doubts, that is all I need to hear!

      PS Who looks to the press for direction?
      • 8 Months Ago
      "Thin air"/"Apple Air": How much nitrogen and oxygen, etc. is needed to be released into the atmosphere of earth given how many tanks of compressed air in use - in order to keep the total volume of earth's atmosphere thick enough?
      • 8 Months Ago
      The truth is that the oil companies of the world (extremely powerful as you already know) will never let this see the light of day.

      It will just be delayed and delayed indefinitely.

      Guaranteed you will never see this on the market.
    • Load More Comments
    Share This Photo X