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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.

A rear seat that faces backwards. Powered by compressed air. Name like the AirPOD and FlowAIR. A windshield that doubles as the door. There are a lot of hurdles that MDI's compressed air line of vehicles needs to jump before people will consider them "real" cars - or at least a solid alternative. At least one North American journalist was recently given the chance to see if riding in a prototype AirPOD is anything like a true car experience. The verdict: the vehicle is noisy, but maneuverable an

Echoing rumors that we've been hearing all year is a news story from Kiplingers that we ran across on Yahoo Financial suggesting again that air-powered vehicles will be available in the U.S. within a few years time. Instead of larger cars, though, we could get the little three-wheeled, joystick-driven AirPod that's scheduled to hit New Zealand any time now. Zero Pollution Motors still has high hopes that it will bring cars powered by compressed air to the masses in the United States. In all actu

One of France's most prestigious auto magazines, L'Auto Journal, has published a very skeptical and critical report about Guy Nègre's MDI compressed air car, whether we call it the AirCar or FlowAir. The article (not available online) makes quite a number of arguments against MDI and the whole idea.

Looking like just about every other three-wheeled, joystick-controlled, compressed air-driven car we've ever seen, the AIRPod by MDI will be available to lease in New Zealand soon. MDI has an agreement with IndraNet Technologies to market them in the land of the M?ori and, according to an article in the New Zealand Herald, they could be arriving on the island before the end of the year. If true, that would be the first market where the rolling alien marshmallow would appear. The MDI website says

We've already been scolded this year not to call the air car the Air Car. The nomenclature is not getting any easier, but hopefully we've reached the last rebranding of the "Compressed Air Vehicle." An update to the MDI website tells us that the vehicle line up now has a "FlowAIR" theme. The models are now known as the OneFlowAIR (open top), MiniFlowAIR (a mini minivan) and CityFlowAIR (a truck-like vehicle with a bed). If you've been following the MDI story, you might recognize parts of these n

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.

Who would have thought that a concept as simple as compressed air could be a viable automotive technology? Sure, we all fill our tires with the stuff, but some automakers - MDI, for one - are considering compressed air as an energy carrier, like a battery. Whether a vehicle is engineered to run solely on air power or if the energy is stored as part of a hybrid system, the very air we breathe could provide propulsion for our vehicles.

The Automotive X Prize announcer used it. We've been using if forever. And, until recently, MDI and Zero Pollution Motors were still calling their vehicles the Air Car. Now, though, to avoid confusion as much as possible, the preferred term is "Compressed Air Vehicle" (don't look now, but the ZPM website still says Air Car). At the New York Auto Show this week, we finally had a chance to sit down with Guy Negre, the creator of the CAV, and his partner Shiva Vencat (Vencat also provided translati

Our colleagues at AutoblogGreen happened upon the MDI Air Car uncovered in the lobby of the Jacob Javits Center just now, and were surprised at what they saw. Powered by compressed air stored under pressure in carbon fiber tanks, the Air Car on the floor in New York looks absolutely nothing like prototypes and sketches we've seen in the past. This previous rendering promised a fully-enclosed, Yaris-like cocoon, and even the original prototype at least had a solid roof over your head. Not this on

While wandering around near the Automotive X-Prize booth, look what we stumbled onto: MDI's air car. The green plastic-y version that had just been uncovered - I think for a video team's camera - bears only slight resemblance to the rendering that appeared on the X-Prize screen. It looks even less like the previous version of the Air Car that we've seen before. We'll be sitting down with the people behind the Air Car later today to figure out just what it is we're looking at here.

One thing we are really looking forward to at the New York Auto Show is the official start of the Auto X-Prize, a contest to build a 100 MPGe car with a multi-million dollar prize. At the Detroit Auto Show, the X-Prize people and some of the teams had car models on display (see video below the fold).

Tomorrow, MDI will show the Big Apple what an air car looks like. The unique compressed-air-powered vehicle will be unveiled during the Automotive X Prize's big announcement on Thursday. We've been following the progress of the Air Car for quite some time, and look forward to letting our cameras take a good look at this zero tailpipe emission vehicle, which might look different from the one you see above, if I'm reading the press release correctly. We won't be the only ones checking the car out,

According to Green Business, the Air Car will arrive in the US by 2009 or 2010, courtesy of Zero Pollution Motors. The quirky alt-propulsion vehicle's anticipated $17,800 price tag includes standard safety equipment like airbags and ABS, along with the 75-horsepower compressed-air six-cylinder that gives the car its name. Brave envelope-pushers might even reach the Air Car's estimated 96 mph top speed. Drivers who aren't interested in treating it like a Mustang GT, however, should achieve fuel e

According to Climate Change Corp, the Air Car will be released this year thanks to a $30,000,000 investment from Tata. Months ago, we told you about reports in The Age newspaper and BBC News that MDI, Moteur Development International, said the car would be released in 2008. We dialed back our enthusiasm when we read in an Indian paper that Tata said the car sill required two years' work. Fears concerning a delay were confirmed when Oil Drum asked MDI about these concerns and it stated a release

Recently, I posted a video of a BBC News report with the exciting news MDI would release their compressed powered air car in 2008. I assumed such an early release was largely due to Tata's connection to MDI but according the Mumbai Mirror, Tata now says the air car is "two years away." I said I doubted a release by MDI alone.

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 w

We have shown you the air-car before, and you may have seen it on TV if you watched the Discovery Channel series, Future Car. If you did, you witnessed them erroneously refer to the possibility of perpetual motion in reference to the air-car. While there is no perpetual motion at work here, there may be production plans in the works. An agreement between Tata Motors and MDI, creators and patent-holders for the air-car and it's powertrain may just bring the air-car to market.