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We heard that MDI, the creators of the AirCar - excuse us, the "Compressed Air Vehicle" - broke off all commercial relations with Miguel Celades, who had been carrying its commercial operations for a while. We tried multiple times to contact Mr. Celades for further explanations, but couldn't. So, we turned to MDI's new webpage and other sources for the information.

The good news is that MDI is still working on their vehicle and has taken some steps to get it on the road. The French environmental website Ecolo-Trader has unveiled a picture of the first MiniCAT model with regular car plates, which should mean it's road-worthy and has received all the legal requirements from the French Ministry of Industry. MDI's MiniCAT has an range of 80 km while running exclusively with compressed air and, thanks to a system which heats compressed air (using fuel), the range can be extended even further. According to the website, which refers to the Southern France newspaper, MDI is planning a second factory to increase output of the MiniCAT. The model will be on display for the Paris Motor Show and on sale in France at the beginning of 2009.

[Source: Ecolo-Trader]


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  • 20 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about a solar panel that charges a pump to compress the air that goes in the car. After it pays for itself it's basically free. The idea of a compressed air vehicle has merit. It doesn't have to break all records on it's 1.0 version. It just has to show promise, which it does.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The air car concept has a LOT of merit. I hope it makes it to production.

      In theory, a high pressure tank could be as good an energy storage as a battery.
        yeslorenzi
        • 6 Years Ago
        I am with you in believing in a new and better idea then the what we have now. The air car is going to replace the gas car. Ola, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It's about time. I am all for it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      We would like buy air cars for teast reasons (market researchs). Please,If it is posible ,If anyone knows the contact persons-salers,or oficia ldistributor of MDI,Tata-Air CAr, send to us account or write as how can we reach the goal. Our Email:
      nodartushishvili@gmail.com
      georgeaskurava@ymail.com
      • 6 Years Ago
      Another year starts with MDI maintaining their 8 year record of never delivering a car, in spite of claiming to be ready to do so for almost every year since 2000.

      This car is not on sale in France.

      The next missed promise date will be when MDI fails to deliver pilot production AirPod vehicles to Air France this spring.

      While MDI is mum about the many missed production schedules and the many failed projects, it appears that the key engineering problem that remains to be solved is the operating range. Although MDI claims 60, 80 or even 150 mile range on compressed air for the various models, the only published test results showed the MDI air car running out of compressed air after only 7.22km.

      Doesn't anybody wonder why MDI doesn't let any car magazines ever do road tests of their prototypes?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Don't get your hopes up too high. By the way this is a car with 1 HP, can go up to 40 miles, and up to 70 mph. This car cannot go 40 miles at 70 mph. There is a difference. My guess is that it will go 40 miles at less than 10 miles per hour. And less than 1 mile at 70.

      You would burn through a tank of compressed air pretty quickly at 70 mph. That is a lot of air resistance to fight.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You got that right. Several years ago, when the first reports were coming out about this company, I did some calculations based on the information given, and figured out that the maximun range was achieved by tootling along at 18 miles per hour. It has to do with the engine having to take time to absorb heat from the environment to improve its efficiency. Drive fast and the efficiency plummets (until the engine freezes up!)
      • 6 Years Ago
      MDI's air cars: The perfect vaporware to destroy the planet with.
        yeslorenzi
        • 6 Years Ago
        You have got to be kidding about the air car. This is the best thing that could have happened to us and mother earth. We may even get fresher air.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thank God, I finally found a new posting about this vehicle. I do not want to be concerned with fuel anymore. I do not want to be buying ultra expensive batteries for an electric vehicle either. The so called fuel efficient less than 60 mpg vehicles and often less then 40 are no longer of any interest to me.

      I want this compressed air vehicle and I want it now.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, if you want to destroy the planet (compressors are incredibly inefficient), by all means, it's the perfect vaporware for you!

      ("ultra-expensive batteries"? How many battery packs are you planning to buy?)
        yeslorenzi
        • 6 Years Ago
        I just love it when someone says something about this air car that knows nothing about what they are talking about. Did you know that this air car is the future and improvements and adjustments are in full swing. I love the air car and would buy one as soon as it is available. Get out of my way here I come with my air car.
      • 6 Years Ago
      OH PLEASE JUST USE A HAND PUMP !!11111
        yeslorenzi
        • 6 Years Ago
        What are you talking about, a pump???? There is no pump. Look into what you are talking about and educate yourself a whole lot more about the air car before you say what you are talking about.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You do realize that there aren't many hand pumps capable of pumping up to 4,500 PSI, don't you?

        For the same reason, you aren't going to be "filling up" at the tire refill pump, as those max out about 150 psi.
      • 6 Years Ago
      a maximum speed of 110 km/h (68 mph) and a range of 150 km (90 miles)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've read more than once that there is not enough lithium on the planet earth to power all the cars that may require batteries.

      Electricity is probably a great power source, but storage remains problematic. Storage as compressed air just might be the ticket.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Dave: I was wrong about the relative abundance of Iron, but Wikipedia also indicated that Lithium is the 33rd most abundant element, and "The total amount of lithium recoverable from global reserves has been estimated at 35 million tonnes". That should be more than sufficient for the entire automotive fleet, as each battery would only require a few hundred pounds at most.
        • 6 Years Ago
        You've been reading nonsense. Lithium is the 33rd most common elements on earth, there is more Lithium than copper or iron, and we certainly have enough of those elements for our cars.

        There are 3 problems with compressed air energy storage:
        1. the volumetric energy density is very low, less than any storage battery, which means very large tanks and limited range. Increasing the pressure improves the energy density somewhat, but increases the weight and cost of the tanks.
        2. There are thermodynamic energy losses involved, the higher the pressure the greater the losses. At the high pressures required, the overall efficiency is much less than for batteries.
        3. When the air expands in the engine, the temperature drops considerably. While this provides "free" air conditioning, it also reduces efficiency and risks the engine freezing up in cold weather. To compensate, the engine takes in additional air while running, and the hybrid version burns a liquid fuel for additional heat and power.
        • 6 Years Ago
        @ChrisM

        I believe actually, you are the one who is wrong about the lithium.

        There are 92 elements that are naturally found, only eight of them are common in the rocks that make up the Earth’s outer layer, the crust. Together, these 8 elements make up more than 98% of the crust. Lithium is not one of them.

        The 8 most common elements in Earth’s crust (by mass):
        46.6% Oxygen (O)
        27.7% Silicon (Si)
        8.1% Aluminum (Al)
        5.0% Iron (Fe)
        3.6% Calcium (Ca)
        2.8% Sodium (Na)
        2.6% Potassium (K)
        2.1% Magnesium (Mg)

        http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/5/56/Relative_abundance_of_elements.png
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