The Air Car is More Than Just Full of Hot Air!
MDI, or Motour Developpment Internacional, has been getting more and more notice lately as they tout the development of their Air Car, a piston-type engine that is powered by compressed air rather than combustion.
They don't have much technical data, but they have integrated the technology into "dual-fuel" vehicles that run on regular fuels but use compressed air to increase efficiency and decrease emissions. There are drawings of two compressed-air vehicles, the Citycat and the Minicat that are supposed to be only compressed air. There is also mention of an on-board compressor and and alternator with regenerative braking it seems to recharge batteries for longer trips. The Citycat has specs listed at 68mph and has a range of around 93 miles.
They seem to have been plugging along since 2002 or so, but in February they signed an agreement with India's largest car company, Tata Motors, so we may see some progress on this interesting technology with hopefully something brought to market within the next few years. The improvement of compressed air over electric cars with current batter technology is that you can simply fill-up with more air within minutes rather than waiting for a charge. That is, until we get some supercapcitors to market, solving the distance issues with current all-electric vehicles.
via Dr. Victor Argueta