2003 - Volume #27, Issue #1, Page #34[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Air-Powered Car Ready For Market
Motor Development International (MDI), headquartered in Nice, France, has designed and built what they call a Compressed Air Technology (CAT) car.
It made headlines last fall when it made an appearance at the Paris Auto Show.
The company is currently looking for production partners around the world. They already have a U.S. subsidiary based in New York and the company hopes to begin production in 2003.
"We have had some delays," says Shiva Vencat of MDI, "but will have vehicles to demonstrate the technology and its capabilities for the U.S. market by the second half of 2003."
The CAT design relies on a lightweight body with a small rear-mounted engine and a 1,500-pound aluminum and fiberglass frame. Compressed air stored in two steel-reinforced thermoplastic air tanks attach to the undercarriage of the car. Air in the tanks is cooled to minus 100 degrees Centigrade and compressed to 4,500 lbs per square inch.
The air is injected into the engine where it expands rapidly as it is heated by ambient air in two consecutive chambers. The heat exchange process between the first smaller chamber and a second larger chamber drives the engine's four pistons. The only exhaust is pollution-free, filtered air.
The five-seat car is designed for commuters and short haul drivers such as taxies and delivery vehicles. It has a range of 120 miles at an average of 30 mph, but can go from zero to 50 mph in seven seconds, according to MDI. The vehicle has yet to be tested by an independent agency.
The air car is equipped with a compressor that can run off any outlet for partial refills. MDI is confident that commercial air service stations will develop where a CAT vehicle can be refilled quickly. They have designed such a station that they say will cost $100,000. CAT vehicles are projected to cost between $12,000 and $15,000.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Shiva Vencat. MDI Inc., 48 East 57th Street, 5th Floor, New York, N.Y. 10022 (ph 212 906-0175; fax 212 906-0176; E-mail email@example.com).
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