• Jun 27th 2009 at 2:03PM
  • 10
Last December, Green Car Advisor's Nick Kurczewski was able to snag a ride in MDI's AIRPod. Now, the lucky punk journalist has taken a turn behind the wheel. The short version of his review: this could be the car of the future and it feels like an amusement park ride, but it's no Millennium Falcon. Seriously.

As we know, the Air Car uses compressed air to power a small two-cylinder engine. The 180cc poweplant produces 5.4 horsepower, but MDI is working on a upgraded AIRPod GT will have 8 hp. Kurczewski says the AIRPod's joystick steering is modified from the original design, which would have seen the speed and deceleration controlled by the stick as well as direction. That complicated-sounding mess has been scrapped in favor of more traditional pedals + joystick.

Check out all the details - including why driving a bubble car with no openable windows in June is not a good idea and how MDI plans to bring dozens of AIRPods to airports and universities and other locations around the world - over at Inside Line. Thanks to throwback for the tip!

[Source: Inside Line]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is really a neiborood car, only good for city neiborood short runs. If it's cheap it can be a good buy. A windmill or a solar panel can surrelly recharge it but i would use a windmill because it work 24/24. It can be good too for child as a chrismas gift at age 10-14.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's really looks so nice, An electric car has significant advantages over the air car in performance and simplicity it seems to me, but at present the disadvantage of insufficient energy density, so the air car may get and keep its place.
      ==> http://www.wheelsontrucks.com
        • 6 Years Ago
        For compressed air, energy density by weight isn't bad, but energy density by volume is a big problem. The energy density can be improves somewhat by increasing pressure, though that means stronger heavier tanks, and the thermodynamic energy losses increase dramatically.

        So any "air car" design has a quandary. Improving the energy density by increasing the pressure can increase range, but reduces efficiency and increases cost. Improving efficiency means either sacrificing range, or sacrificing space for a larger tank.

        When it comes to efficiency, performance and range, plug-ins are far better than any air car. LiIon batteries are far more compact and much more efficient.
      • 6 Years Ago
      While the innovation is superb, the design totally sucks. Looks more like a golf cart than a true car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's not really a true car, it would barely qualify as a NEV - or should I say a NAV (Neighborhood Airhed Vehicle).

        One thing that puzzles me. The expanding air was supposed to cool the car and provide air conditioning at no extra cost when the car is running, but apparently it is insufficient to keep up with solar gain through those goofy looking windows.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Feel like you want to know more about air cars? Why not have a look at http://www.aircars.tk? I have put lots of information, pictures, links, videos and the latest news on my site. Enjoy!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Compressed air really is a terrible way to power a car, even if it was well-designed and thought through, which this one clearly isn't.
      If you wonder why many engineers loathe designers, this one's a prime example.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ha -- this vehicle is a design accident! Any legit 3-wheel design MUST be a reverse-trike -- having the two wheels in front is absolutely required for stability. And this things is tall -- if you take the Cg point and project a 45 degree cone down to the ground, the circle MUST fall completely inside the triangle of the three tire contact patches; or else it will tip over in a heartbeat.

      The windows are silly, the overall shape is an aerodynamic mess. Why do they undermine their own chances with this sort of vehicle?

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Any legit 3-wheel design MUST be a reverse-trike -- having the two wheels in front is absolutely required for stability."

        No. That's a generalization that's really not true as stability depends on many factors such as weight distribution, suspension geometry etc.

        There are good reasons to put two wheels on the front, for example to improve braking or if you want front wheel drive, but it's not a requirement for stability.
      • 5 Years Ago
      MDI and their Air Car is a decade old scam that has never delivered working vehicles, but makes money from selling 'licenses' to build them.

      See http://green.autoblog.com/2008/10/12/mdis-airpod-coming-to-new-zealand/ for more of their long sordid history.
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