So what is this frumpy little car doing on Faster and Faster? Well, it isn’t about the car – it’s about the engine, which is powered by compressed air. The air engine has been developed by MDI, which is based in Luxemburg, with a factory in France.
Guy Nègre, the man who set up Moteur Developpement International (MDI) in 1991, and who’s invented the air engine, has significant engineering credentials. He’s worked in aeronautics and F1, and at one time, developed a W12 engine which was exhibited at the French Petroleum Institute.
To come back to the air engine, MDI have tied up with one of India’s largest carmakers, Tata Motors, and are all set to start producing the world’s first air-powered car by mid-2008. Some 6,000 zero-emissions ‘Air Cars’ are scheduled to hit Indian roads by August 2008.
These cars are expected to have a range of about 200km, and a top speed of 110km/h. One tank of fuel means 340 liters of air, at 4350psi. Till the time special, high-speed filling stations are built, owners can simply plug these Air Cars into an ordinary electrical outlet and use the car’s built-in compressor to refill their ‘fuel’ tanks – a process which will take about four hours.
The cars will also be fitted with GSM/CDMA phones, GPS navigation systems, and Internet connections. Apart from India, MDI have signed deals to launch their Air Car in 12 other countries, including Germany, Israel and South Africa.
MDI say that the ‘air engine’ used in their production cars will comprise of an “800cc moto-compressor, and four flat-lying cylinders.” While we confess we don’t really understand too many technical details (which are available at the MDI website here), we must say we’re quite intrigued with the idea of these compressed air engines. Will these alien engines replace the internal-combustion engine in the next 10-20 years? Will petrolheads convert to being airheads? Fifteen years from now, will there be a Yamaha Air-1…?Also see:
Single-side exhaust systems for the 2007 GSX-R1000
Tom Cruise buys a Vyrus 985 C3 4V!
MotoGP: Is the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-RR any good?
1948 Vintage: The Ducati Cucciolo
Casey Stoner gets brand-new Alfa Romeo Brera!
Kalex AV1: All-out performance for the street
Top Gun: MotoTuning's streetfighter GSX-R
Beyond Tomorrow: The Air-engined MDI cars in action...!