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Old 06-10-2007, 06:43 PM   #1
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The Air Car

From Popular Mechanics:

"India?s largest automaker is set to start producing the world?s first commercial air-powered vehicle. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy N?gre for Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air, as opposed to the gas-and-oxygen explosions of internal-combustion models, to push its engine?s pistons. Some 6000 zero-emissions Air Cars are scheduled to hit Indian streets in August of 2008.

Barring any last-minute design changes on the way to production, the Air Car should be surprisingly practical. The $12,700 CityCAT, one of a handful of planned Air Car models, can hit 68 mph and has a range of 125 miles. It will take only a few minutes for the CityCAT to refuel at gas stations equipped with custom air compressor units; MDI says it should cost around $2 to fill the car?s carbon-fiber tanks with 340 liters of air at 4350 psi. Drivers also will be able to plug into the electrical grid and use the car?s built-in compressor to refill the tanks in about 4 hours.

Of course, the Air Car will likely never hit American shores, especially considering its all-glue construction. But that doesn?t mean the major automakers can write it off as a bizarre Indian experiment ? MDI has signed deals to bring its design to 12 more countries, including Germany, Israel and South Africa."

Info direct from the manufacturer, MDI, at

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Old 06-10-2007, 07:38 PM   #2
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only 12 cubic feet of air tank at 4,350psi? I wonder how often they will have to replace the air tank for safty reasons?

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Old 06-10-2007, 07:41 PM   #3
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Same thing used in bus fleets, so I suppose you could check that out. Iirc you can hit it with a shot gun and all that'll happen is the air will leak out. Some kind of composite that's designed such that it will never explode like a balloon.
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I think if i could get that type of FE i would have no problem driving a dildo shaped car.
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Old 06-10-2007, 11:51 PM   #4
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Cool -

125 miles would satisfy my commute. Built-in overnight charging? Coolio. I wonder what a "US Safety compliant" version would run?

Now, if I could just fill it with my bicycle pump .

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Old 06-11-2007, 04:34 AM   #5
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Whats the 0-60 time? Or should I say 0-62 time?

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Old 06-11-2007, 05:12 AM   #6
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they profiled this car on discovery channel. they showed the frame of the car, it looked a bit suspect. i think that if you do a youtube search you will find video of it.
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Old 06-11-2007, 05:42 AM   #7
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Using air as an energy storage medium is as inefficient as it gets. Energy gets lost in every step of the way:

1) The air has to be compressed using an electric motor, which is driven by turbines that waste heat.
2) The electric motor itself wastes heat.
3) The compressor wastes heat.
4) Compressed air then has to be cooled and dehumidified to prevent condensation. Both steps use energy.
5) The the air motor wastes heat, although heat loss is masked by exhaust air that gets cold due to expansion.

Compressed air is by far the most expensive utility per unit of energy delivered. Our plant uses huge compressors that suck up power like mad.
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Old 06-11-2007, 06:56 AM   #8
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Same air car was posted a few days ago.
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Old 06-11-2007, 04:15 PM   #9
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It would be nice if there website had a few more details.

They state it can be recharged (from empty?) in 4 hours from a standard electrical outlet, assuming a european 15A 240v outlet the maximium power supplied over the 4 hours would be 14.4KW or 19.3HP.

Sounds pretty efficient, I guess we will hear soon enough as they are going into production, it would be great if some one gets hold of one of these and does a full review.


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