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Air Powered Car + It's Cheap!

January 21st, 2005 | Filed under: Fabrication Tech, Products | 146 Comments »

MiniCat

MDI, after 10 years of R + D on pollution free vehicles, they have come up with the Mini Cat. The Mini Cat runs on compressed air and emits air. It is also in every way less expensive than your average car. Let’s hope the oil tycoons don’t find a way to wipe out this great invention.

via treehugger


146 Comments on “Air Powered Car + It's Cheap!”

  1. 1 Kevin Jackson said at 11:02 am on March 8th, 2007:

    Hi Bert,

    I think we are all with you; we wouldn’t be on this site if we didn’t care about our planet’s future.

    Let me try to explain the “negativity”.
    I have a magnet you can put on your fuel line that will allow your car to run without fuel and therefore produce zero emissions, problem solved. I can send you a photograph of my car running without fuel and I can send you a video of my car running without fuel. I can also sell you a license to manufacture my magnet invention, which will ready for volume manufacturing in two years.
    I thing you have to believe in my product now (or at least believe in it when you see the pictures and video) because my product has everything going for it that MDI’s has except you don’t need air compressors. You must now invest your money and get on websites and generally talk-up my product that will save the world.
    Now some “dumb” scientists and engineers may say that my product won’t work and that cars can’t run without fuel, don’t listen to them they are just NEGATIVE! You and I together can change the way people think of cars and save the world from global warming.
    Those same people, like this dundich guy, will tell you we should concentrate our energies and money on solutions that will actually work rather than on things that negative thinking people tell you won’t work.

    But I say: let the ozone burn and the ice caps melt while I further develop my product, sell licenses to manufacture my product and sell stock in my company. How many shares should I put you down for?

  2. 2 Kevin Jackson said at 11:14 am on March 8th, 2007:

    Hi dundich,
    I saw the MDI guys on a “future car” television show. I think the old man must be losing his wits to age because he said: The car fills-up it’s tanks while driving and can provide electric power your home (from the compressed air) when you’re not driving. What an amazing car!

  3. 3 dundich said at 1:44 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    @ kevin
    You better watch out. Are you sure that all people in this forum will understand the ironical meaning of your “magnetic fuel saving” gimmick? Did you get offers for shares already? Who knows – after all you have not only drawings but also fotos…
    It just makes me mad to see how many TV-Stations and Print medias are still praising the “zero-emission car”.
    Anyway, I liked your satirical approach to the subject.

  4. 4 MrT said at 5:06 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    Seriously wake UP!

    The MDI car is real and already compresses its own compressed air when driving – yes thats right look at the design before making fools of yourselves Dundich et al – its a dual energy block – runs on any fuel & compressed air, it drives and compresses at the same time – I have explained this before – are you listening or are your heads back in the sand?

    There is no scam – if you think there is please telephone Mr Tata and advise him that he and his esteemed engineers are wrong and shouldnt have invested many $euro$ – quick save them before they lose their enormous fortune (hahahaha) – what makes you people sitting in your little houses think that you know more than the Tata? I think you are making complete fools of yourselves and sound more and more like the grumpy old men it seems that you may be.

    By keeping an open mind and contacting the actual informed entities – eg the people who are building factories etc around the world – I have learnt much and would encourage you to do the same – as there is much that you clearly dont know and could learn.

    I am not going to waste my time with mad skeptics such as yourselves but will simply point you towards the truth whenever you are being TOO STUPID and I feel embarrassed for humanity.

    One thing you all seem to miss is the MDI engine can use petroleum or biofuel – in fact whatever fuel you can get – can be burned in the engine and this produces – energy (for high speed and high distance travel) and compressed air (for later low speed and low distance travel) – IS THAT SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND? No compressor required – no filling station required – just a fuel of some type and an MDI vehicle. Read it slowly Dundich etc – this is how it works and no matter how skeptical and critical you are – THIS IS HOW IT WORKS. Lets please stop wasting time and energy on such waffle and idiocy – it is sad and embarrassing that you cant see the reality of MDI due to your own paranoia and programming.

    Please put your minds to greater works than pointless and false criticism of others who are doing their best while you lie in your puddle of crude oil and irrattionally criticise the sound and proven technology from MDI.

    PS: I have told you before that this engine will power your house – so why are you suprised to see it on an internet interview of Mr Guy Negre? Get ready – here it comes!

    Pity the Fools
    MrT

  5. 5 Lauren D. said at 7:25 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    @Mr T.

    I was one of the FEW here who argued, repeatedly, for greater patience and support for MDI — I realize it is a developing technology and the details aren’t perfect yet, and believe it may be a promising starting point for further refinement.

    HOWEVER, THIS LAST POST BY MrT is entirely INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST. And I, for one, don’t like being lied to.

    MrT. calls people “stupid” and “fools” for not seeing the fact that this is (of course) a duel-energy engine, with
    “No compressor required – no filling station required”.

    Hmmm, let’s compare that with information CURRENTLY DISPLAYED ON THE MDI WEBSITE:
    “Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at
    adapted PETROL STATIONS to administer compressed air.
    In 2 or 3 minutes, and at a cost of approximately 1.5 Euros,
    the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometres.
    As an viable alternative, the CAR CARRIES A SMALL COMPRESSOR
    which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and
    refill the tank in 3-4 hours.”

    So, MrT, are people STUPID for believing their website? Or FOOLS for expecting intellectual HONESTY from people like you?

    Why not try the honest approach, it might work: for example, you might explain that MDI ran into technical challenges which they decided to meet by modifying the design to make it a hybrid motor (if that’s the story), or …..? BUT TELL US THE TRUTH, AND YOU MIGHT FIND AN ARMY OF BLOGGING ADVOCATES/ACTIVISTS, rather than skeptics.
    (and as for your grumpy old men comment, I’m a woman and rarely grumpy, so stop replacing argument with ad hominem epithets, they’re nonsense.)

    Sincerely, un-grumpilly,
    Lauren D.

  6. 6 MrT said at 8:07 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    um that is a total misrepresentation of what was said:

    “yes thats right look at the design before making fools of yourselves Dundich et al ”

    is clearly an attempt to assist Mr Dundich (who has stated that he is an older man) to not make a fool of himself – as has been discussed previously – it doent call anyone a fool – however if you were to watch a bit more of the 80’s tv show – The ATeam – what country are you from?Perhaps you never received the Ateam programming? If you were familiar with the show you would know that the term “fool” is applied very generously by MrT to all and sundry and is not at all used in an offensive way but more like “dude” or “man” – as MrT (B.A Baracus) is quite a forthright and up front character.

    and as for the word stupid – this is applied only in the following context:

    “whenever you are being TOO STUPID” – which clearly is referring to the act of being stupid temporarily – not stating that a person is generically stupid.

    This is all semantics – the point – if you re-read this entire post as I have – is that Mr Dundich (retired design engineer for high pressure compressors and gas plants) is clearly an intelligent man with a lot of experience in this industry/field and yet even he who shares the MDI dream of an “air car” cant be supportive of their efforts but continues to pull apart at the details.
    The currency of posted MDI information has also been discussed on this post and I for one accept the explanation I have been given. Looking over it I also see that there is new information available on links within this post (one in particular from a major tv network) which suggest the technology may have progressed beyond the filling station concept of many years ago. Thus no in answer to your question:

    “So, MrT, are people STUPID for believing their website? Or FOOLS for expecting intellectual HONESTY from people like you?”

    People once armed with the facts are stupid only if they want to be and generally this is a short term affliction – a type of irrational brain fever – perhaps brought on by the paranoid and predatory nature of existance in these complex and difficult times . They, like the entire world will always be referred to as “fools” in the A-Team context as this is a generic usage and not a serious critique.

    Of course being a woman you couldnt possibly take offence at a comment made specifically towards a man – this is clearly not directed at you – its great that you are rarely grumpy – clearly grumpy old man is not a phrase which you will ever think is referring to you.

    The below is really odd:
    “HOWEVER, THIS LAST POST BY MrT is entirely INTELLECTUALLY DISHONEST. And I, for one, don’t like being lied to.”

    My intention is to unearth the truth – there are a lot of lies that I have seen posted here – as far as I know NOTHING i have written even verges onto being a lie. Please point out the proven discrepancy in what I have said – as I have depended on reliable third parties for all information and as far as I can tell it is all true. But if its not true – I REALLY WANT TO KNOW!!! Therefore PLEASE if you know something that I dont please tell… If we are being lied to I will be the first person to blow the scam wide open! However I am certain that MDI are very real and that their engine will be available to the public very soon. I am also certain that there is a lot of misinformation out there – and also some old information ….. please help me to sift through the garbage to find the gemstones!

    Pity the “non-gender specific persons who dispute what seem to be facts”
    MrT

  7. 7 Bert said at 8:35 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    OK I see all of your points but production of the car is not what is causing the majority of the enviro problems It is all the combustion motors (and lack of enough trees to consume the CO2) The rail ways the ships, airlines and the gas hogs on the road These are about 80% of the cause. What I am trying to say is that Factories and Production Plants are only a small majority of the problem.

    Now remove the cars, trucks, buses, and maybe petrol powered personal boats, and who knows maybe even small Airplanes. It would lower world wide emissions by at the least 45% maybe more. There is an Environmental friendly and ozone safe ploy-urethane ( Which they make the bodies with). I know. I am having my house insulated with it.

  8. 8 Lauren D. said at 8:55 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    @MrT
    You continue to avoid my central point. Why?

    INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY can take more than one form:

    (A) I might promise to deliver X, never deliver it, then lie about having delivered it.

    (B) I might promise to deliver X, try to deliver Y instead (hybrid engine?), and then pretend I always/only promised to deliver Y.

    I take it you’re speaking out for MDI in a way that amounts to (B).
    THEIR WEBSITE still claims they are delivering a car that will charge from a petrol station or an onboard compressor, while you’re taking a dismissive attitude towards any who don’t get the “fact” that they’ve (only? always been?) offering a hybrid that charges up by burning fossil fuels in an internal combustion engine.
    You sould like someone offering us (B) above. Tell me how I’m wrong about this, please, OR admit that the target has shifted and MDI is no longer even attempting to offer the car they once advertised (and sold to dealerships).

    – Lauren D.

  9. 9 Bert said at 9:15 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    I saw the “Future Cars” show the other night and What they said is that they are DEVELOPING a compressor that will run off of air and will re compress the tanks while driving.

    Dundich. If the car has an alternator(or maybe add one), Well then the compressor can be ran by using an AC/DC converter. and a pressure release switch.

  10. 10 MrT said at 9:34 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    wow thats quite intense – I didnt say grumpy – please dont bite me!

    When I re-read this post and researched a bit to each side of the issues / debates / threads / links ; the story that emerged for me is not “either / or”.

    For example: I would like to drive across America in an alternative fuel vehicle – would I use a compressed air only vehicle to do this? No it seems that I will need to acquire a dual energy MDI vehicle for that application. From what I have read this type of vehicle will be available soon and wont require filling stations as it can apparently efficiently use any fuel available – or so I am led to believe by reliable sources.

    My cousin Jed on the other hand is a full time child carer or “house husband”. He lives in a small town/village where everything is pretty centralised. There is a good fast and regular rail service to the town and an airport only 20kms away. Jed is looking foward to the release of an “air only” MDI vehicle – he is guessing that the “air only” option will be a little cheaper to buy – as it seems less complex. For Jed’s use air only would seem perfect as he doesnt have to travel far and doesnt need to travel at high speed – his current large SUV is entirely wasted – it has only left his local area once in its 2year expensive life. As Jed’s wife used to work at the local gas station he is pretty sure they would be happy to install a MDI filling station if lots of locals got MDI cars. Otherwise he will just charge it at home using a small compressor which apparently does its work overnight.

    As far as I can tell both Jed and I will BOTH be able to get the slightly different vehicles we desire through MDI eventually. Therefore in answer to your re-insinuation : No & No. As far as I can tell it can be both and doesnt have to be either /or as in dual energy OR air only. It seems that there will be “horses for courses” that is: different vehicles for different applications.

    IF I am wrong please let me know – however there be no lies from here (as far as I know) & from here there be no lies (from what I can tell)!

    As far as your concepts on Intellectual Dishonesty – interesting but in no way applicable in this instance as far as I can tell. I am always open to hints and snippets of the truth be it “the truth” of an individual or that accepted as reality so as to have balanced opinions with which to build my own truth.

    Here’s to: no Wasted Time or Energy &Truth4All
    MrT

  11. 11 MrT said at 10:01 pm on March 8th, 2007:

    Just to clear up one tiny confusion:

    “a hybrid that charges up by burning fossil fuels in an internal combustion engine.”

    Doesnt the MDI info say that it can burn any fuel eg BioFuels like Ethanol?

    It seems that the MDI engine can use fossil fuels but can switch to alternatives like ethanol or biodiesel etc

    This is I think the sort of flexibility we need to help the world shift off fossil fuels and onto alternatives. The compressed air is a great bonus for city driving isnt it? Of course it seems that if you never leave the city compressed air alone would be enough in this car. So maybe all that is required as they get cars out to us is that someone gets the biofuels out to us too?

    BioFuelsRgood
    MrT

  12. 12 dundich said at 1:29 pm on March 9th, 2007:

    @ MrT
    1) The name of this thread is „an air powered car + it’s cheap“. All my comments referred to the so called “air car� of MDI only.

    2) A hybrid car with a combustion engine driving a compressor which produces high pressure air with 300 bars and using this air to drive an air motor is such an absurd idea, that I am not discussing it. I do not need to know any technical details of the machinery to achieve this, because the facts of gas dynamics make such a system a waste of energy, because one will loose energy during compression. No invention can avoid this.

    3) I find it rather ridiculous that you assume that everybody followed the change of Negre’s concept of drive from air to hybrid. Enter “air car� in the Google search line and look at the findings. Where is the “Only official website of MDI� http://www.mdi.lu? And who made the site http://www.theaircar.com?

    I am sorry, but your long explanations did not change my opinion about the whole project. To me it just looks phoney. And the “hybrid� turn did not help to make it look better.

  13. 13 ClevStar said at 3:55 pm on March 9th, 2007:

    I just saw a nice news brief discribing the benefits of the production of an air car. I am not a scientist. But I am in the military. I deal with developmental ideas all of the time. And I do have a lot of money. So if any one is interested in mass ordering these cars, feel free to contact me.

  14. 14 Kevin Jackson said at 5:41 pm on March 9th, 2007:

    ClevStar,
    I’m very excited to hear that someone is ready to move on this opportunity. I expect to see all the people on this site place orders.
    Are you looking to buy the hybrid or the air car?
    Will you require any information before you buy?
    For instance, will you want to know how many miles per gallon the hybrid gets? If it gets 30 mpg will you still want one?
    Will you want to know how far the air powered one goes? If it goes three miles on a fill-up will you still want one?
    And, PLEASE, let us know the price you are quoted and the delivery date you are promised.
    Thank You,
    Kevin

  15. 15 MrT said at 6:43 pm on March 9th, 2007:

    Kevin come now.

    I myself have tried to order a decent amount of MDI vehicles but have been told they wont accept my final order untill delivery date is confirmed – I am happy with this as it makes sense and is very ethical. I also tried to order a vehicle to tow our caravan and was told this would come later, I guess most military applications would be bundled into this category too.

    Of course MilSpec testing of components and consumables would assumedly need to be completed prior to military adoption. I bet the outcomes of this type of testing regime would be of interest to you Kevin & Dundich.

    I hope to have my cars by 2008 /2009 which will be just in time for us to make a difference to the global energy crisis. One of the best things about the MDI engine and vehicle being that much less energy is used in their manufacture than with any other type of vehicles so input energy for manufacture is very low, which is great.

    It seems that for city driving these MDI cars will do over 50kms using their (self compressed) reserves of compressed air. Too cool.

    It seems that for highway and non city driving these MDI cars will use about 2litres of fuel (any fuel available eg ethanol or gasoline) for every 100kms travelled. Thats really exciting for us.

    BioFuels4Peace
    MrT

  16. 16 dundich said at 4:42 am on March 10th, 2007:

    @ Mr T
    quote
    It seems that for highway and non city driving these MDI cars will use about 2litres of fuel (any fuel available eg ethanol or gasoline) for every 100kms travelled. Thats really exciting for us.
    unquote

    What do mean by the term “It seems”. To me it seems that you belong to the type of persons who believe anything which is printed. Well, I tell you that a car as described in the MDI infos will never be able to run with a consumption of 2 l/100 km. So you better don’t get too exited.

    You find it “ethical” that they don’t except you order before they know a delivery date? I think that’s the least one can expect of a company who promises since years that the production will start soon.

    What I do not find ethical is that they are issuing wrong performance data and raise false hopes in people who do not have the knowledge to estmate the correctness of this data. Like the 2 liters/100 km you mentioned.

  17. 17 dundich said at 1:21 pm on March 20th, 2007:

    @ Mr T
    I guess you know as a prospective buyer of the aircar. There are TWO homepages now which both refer to MDI but contain quite different infos
    http://www.theaircar.com and http://www.mdi.at
    I find this rather confusing. Could you explain?

  18. 18 dundich said at 1:24 pm on March 20th, 2007:

    @ Mr T
    Sorry, its not http://www.mdi.at but http://www.mdi.lu (for Luxemburg)

  19. 19 bobshush said at 2:45 am on March 21st, 2007:

    Hello dundich, I’m trying to figure out the calculations but don’t know a lot of the required physics. 90 liters of air at ~296 atm and 70 degrees F seems like it would contain a fair amount of energy, but I’m not sure how to calculate it. Could you send me a link to a page where I can learn? I’m still trying to be skeptical…

  20. 20 dundich said at 10:31 am on March 21st, 2007:

    @ bobshush

    First I must apologize for a mistake in an earlier posting. The performance data of MDI refer to a tank volume of 300 liters, not 90. The free air volume (at ambient conditions) is 90 cubic meters. That’s how the mistake happened.

    I give you a few links concerning the air car.

    1) A detailed report on calculation of power and efficiency.
    http://www.efcf.com/e/reports/E14.pdf

    2) A report of a french institute
    http://www.theaircar.com/Mines_reports.html

    3) A “Fan homepageâ€? of MDI – disciples
    http://cyber-media.com/aircar/

    What gets me is the half-true and purposely wrong infos about performance.

    Typical examples:

    They mention max. speed AND max. range in one sentence, insinuating that the car can drive 200 km with 110 km/hr.

    They ignore important things like space heating in winter, electric appliances etc.

    Their performance is based on 300 liters of compressed air. The gif-picture of the MiniCat shows two air containers with about 30 cm dia and 1,4 m length, which means about 180 liters of air.

    A compressor to charge the 300 liter tank in 3 minutes would need around 500 kW driver power.

    All this (and many other things) give to me the impression of a phoney business, which is run in a very clever way since years.

    The propaganda is well done and for somebody who does not have the possibility to check the data, the whole project looks just great. Even TV-Stations and renowned Newspapers got impressed and published what they had been told, without checking.

    One more thing makes me wonder about the people who are longing to get an air car. Are there no doubts at all about servicing this thing? A multistage compressor/expander with intercooling/interheating is much more complex than a standard gasoline or diesel engine.

  21. 21 bobshush said at 7:09 am on March 22nd, 2007:

    Several things:
    @dundich
    1) Surely max. speed and max distance are different things? I can run very fast when I need to but I get tired easily, and if I pace myself I can walk for miles. as a new engine design, surely both of these measurements warrant mentioning? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    2) If I have an engine supplying energy to the car, it seems like a fairly trivial design question to come up with some method of harnessing some of that energy to run heating and the electrical subsystems of the car. The cheap air conditioning seemed more like a pleasant side effect of the engine when I was reading, similar to how we use some of the heat emitted by modern engines for heating in the winter.

    3) I’m not certain which photos you are using for reference, could you please send a link? In the absence of photos, it seems more plausible that (perhaps) there are three tanks are used, each containing ~98.9 liters using your measurements. At .3 meters wide, three of them would be a little under a meter side by side, well under the width of most cars I see on the road today. Also this would allow for the 300 liters claimed in the articles.

    4) 500kW * 3 minutes = 90 MegaJoules, which seems like quite a lot of power available, especially if the engine is highly efficient. Have I missed something fundamentally important?

    5) The website states that the three minute refill would require special pumping stations scattered across the nation, rather than being the norm for home refill, which the site says could take ~4 hours, using an onboard pump connected to a home power supply. Therefore, I do not understand the objection that a 500kW pump would be required, as the would be inside specialized service stations, and upkeep would not be the responsibility of the average driver. Could you please explain?

    6) You seem to claim (and again, correct me if I am wrong) that the concept and execution of this engine is fundamentally flawed due to the laws of physics. (“300 liters of air with 300 bars contain the energy of 1 to 1,5 Liters of gas. And thats not enough.”, “Anybody who knows about thermodynamics can proove [sic] in minutes that the ‘aircar’ is a fake”, etc.) However, the first article you sent me explaining the physics of the device concludes “All in all, the compressed air car seems to be a viable option for clean and
    efficient short range transportation”, the second reports “The global concept permits a significant autonomy of the MDI compressed air car”, and the third states “…what MDI is trying to achieve, which, in our personal view, is ecologically and socially very positive, exciting, and in our view, has an excellent chance of success.” Given that these are the very articles you sent me to trying to (I assume, based on your previous posts) disprove to me the validity of this engine directly contradict your own analysis, could you please explain this discrepancy?

    @everyone
    7) A note on language: Phrases such as “a phoney business”, “The propaganda is well done” (dundich) and “whenever you are being TOO STUPID” (MrT) are not conductive to a reasonable and open exchange of ideas, as they tend to put people in an emotional and defensive state, rather than encouraging research to back up claims made and constructive debate.

    Last, sorry if I seem to be coming down a bit hard on you dundich, but you seem to have analyzed a lot of information about this, and as I do try to verify what I read as best I can, as my only source of skeptical information I am predisposed towards questioning you a bit more intensely than normal.

    Best Regards,
    Bobshush

  22. 22 dundich said at 1:09 pm on March 22nd, 2007:

    @ bobshush

    First of all I want to tell you how glad I am to meet somebody here who understands what I am talking about. I will try to answer your questions; even it is not always easy to make things clear. How I got into that whole air car discussion? Well. I saw one of these TV-reports about Negré’s inventions on a German TV-channel. I was quite impressed, but since I had once made a study about the use of compressed air as an energy storage and remembered the poor efficiency of such a system, I opened an excel sheet and entered a few equations. Those for the driving power requirements for cars, those for compression and expansion energy of compressed air, some of the Joule Thomson cooling effects of air – and after having made a few spreadsheets with different speeds, and car parameters, I was damn sure that there must be something wrong with the data which had been mentioned during the film,
    Since then I am watching the different infos which can be googled out of the internet and I must say it again: the more I read and the more of the little films I watched the more I got suspicious about the seriousity of the whole thing. Mind you, I have no personal interest in the whole thing, besides maybe the one: to warn people who get too enthusiastic about the thing and might even spend money as investors or good-hearted supporters.
    Of course one can drive a car with compressed air. I need no proof of that. But the little movies showing MDI’s air cars driving around on the factory ground are not showing anything else than this undebatable fact.
    Let’s just pick out a few items (there are too many to put in one posting).
    I want to start with the 8 minute film which is mentioned on the “fan page�:
    Before you open it, you read on top of it the following:

    Here’s a video report about the MDI Air Car. Yes, a car that runs on air. Compressed air. The pressure inside the petrol tank is a staggering 300 bar. One tank of compressed air will enable you to drive for 4500 kilometers. That’s about 2800 miles. Watch the video.

    Well, we both know that this statement did not come from MDI, but it shows, how people understand the infos which they get. In the film, a guy brags about a cold aluminium motor without internal combustion needed. Later he explains how one can drive with the hybrid version from LA to New York – with one tank filling. Gasoline of course, but what people understand – see above.
    You are right that the reports I sent you the links for mention that the system can work. But you should also read between the lines. The French report mentions 93 km range with 300 W electric consumption at 50 km speed. When the heating power is taken from the stored power, it would bring the range down to 35 km. All this based on 3 x 114 liters. With 300 liters this would still be reduced by another 14 percent.
    Another thing which really gets me is the mix-up of the air car with the hybrid version. What do I need an air drive to go from LA to New York? And how does that system work? Is there a compressor which fills the pressure bottles and the air drives the air motor? That would be an energetical madness. And all this with fuel consumptions of 1.8 or 2 liters per 100 km? I’m sorry, but after having worked for 45 years as a designer of gas turbines, compressors and aircraft jet engines it is just too hard for me to believe that. I might not be such a renowned genius like Mr. Negré, but there are certain limits in engineering…
    Or take the air conditioning matter. The average power at 50 km/hr is about 3 kW. A fraction of this will be available as cooling medium. Is that really sufficient to keep a car cool inside? I doubt it. How will the stage inter-heaters work? In summer they will freeze up on the outside because of air humidity and in winter they will not work with the low ambient temperatures.
    Talking about the “home filling� of the cars pressure tank from the electric plug in the garage. To fill the tank in 5 hours, I need an electric compressor driver of approx 6.5 kW. Where is that situated in the car? It is quite a sizable thing of equipment. Did you see the poor infos about “engine� in the new “official� homepage of MDI? I am sorry, but I can not change my mind. It all reminds me too much of the alchemist who promised the king that he will soon be able to produce gold and such lived a good live for years. In case of the air car it is quite long time already.
    Now to the questions of your posting:

    1) Surely max. speed and max distance are different things? I can run very fast when I need to but I get tired easily, and if I pace myself I can walk for miles. as a new engine design, surely both of these measurements warrant mentioning? Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    You are right, but the way these infos are published give too often the impression that both the max. speed and max range can be reached simultanously. For example in the film mentioned above.

    2) If I have an engine supplying energy to the car, it seems like a fairly trivial design question to come up with some method of harnessing some of that energy to run heating and the electrical subsystems of the car. The cheap air conditioning seemed more like a pleasant side effect of the engine when I was reading, similar to how we use some of the heat emitted by modern engines for heating in the winter.

    It is not a trivial design if the complete energy which you produce is something like 3 kW. About the pleasant side effect of cooling please read above

    3) I’m not certain which photos you are using for reference, could you please send a link?

    There is an animated gif picture of the MiniCat on http://www.mdi.lu. If you split that file in its single frames and scale the printout, you get approx. the two containers with the mentioned dimensions. I do not agree that the size of these bottles is not a problem. They must be placed under the seats and must be well protected underneath to avoid rupture when going over an obstacle on the road…After all; these are high pressure tanks with 300 bars!!!

    4) 500kW * 3 minutes = 90 Mega Joules, which seems like quite a lot of power available, especially if the engine is highly efficient. Have I missed something fundamentally important?

    You are right. But it is not the power available in the bottles. This is 51 MJ. The driver power is of course only needed for the max pressure range (300/1). It could be reduced during loading to lower pressures during filling. But in any way, this is not just a gadget which one ads to a normal gasoline station. And it is quite expensive in purchase and service. I find it a bit amusing how some people talk about 300 bar compressors.

    5) The website states that the three minute refill would require special pumping stations scattered across the nation, rather than being the norm for home refill, which the site says could take ~4 hours, using an onboard pump connected to a home power supply. Therefore, I do not understand the objection that a 500kW pump would be required, as the would be inside specialized service stations, and upkeep would not be the responsibility of the average driver. Could you please explain?

    I just wanted to point to the fact that it will be almost impossible to install a useful net of filling stations – for cost AND energy reasons.

    6) You seem to claim (and again, correct me if I am wrong) that the concept and execution of this engine is fundamentally flawed due to the laws of physics. (“300 liters of air with 300 bars contain the energy of 1 to 1,5 Liters of gas. And that’s not enough.”, “Anybody who knows about thermodynamics can proof [sic] in minutes that the ‘air car’ is a fake”, etc.) However, the first article you sent me explaining the physics of the device concludes “All in all, the compressed air car seems to be a viable option for clean and efficient short range transportation”, the second reports “The global concept permits a significant autonomy of the MDI compressed air car”, and the third states “…what MDI is trying to achieve, which, in our personal view, is ecologically and socially very positive, exciting, and in our view, has an excellent chance of success.” Given that these are the very articles you sent me to trying to (I assume, based on your previous posts) disprove to me the validity of this engine directly contradict your own analysis, could you please explain this discrepancy?

    I can explain it like this:
    a) The French report was obviously ordered by MDI. Some of the data had been provided by MDI. Even so, the results differ very much from the published data of MDI. Mind you: A 300 liter tank will drive an air car with 300 Watts electric consumption 81,5 km. That is about the published 80 km “non urban range� of the MiniCat.
    b) The remarks on the “Fan page� have no significance for me.

    Last, sorry if I seem to be coming down a bit hard on you dundich.

    That’s OK with me. I’m not touchy.

    I am looking forward to your reply.

  23. 23 Bert said at 3:08 pm on March 22nd, 2007:

    Well the way I understood it from the MDI Website that you would be able to travel around 300 Miles on a full load of air. I have a couple of questions for the MDI staff, if they read this.

    1). I suppose you have an alternator on this vehicle, so can youinstall a AC/DC converter and run the on-board air pump while driving ?

    2).Will your motor power an out-drive on an average size Boat ?

    3). Will this vehicle be able to pull a load(a trailer ) ?

  24. 24 Kevin Jackson said at 4:38 pm on March 22nd, 2007:

    In a very round-about way I found this page on the MDI website.

    http://www.theaircar.com/tests.html

    It seems to show the range of the current model (as it stands today) to be around eight miles on a 300 L tank. This range still sounds optimistic but makes more sense to me than most of the numbers I’ve seen elsewhere. The chart on the MDI webpage also indicates ways they might be able to improve the range in the future. But for now, the range looks like 8 miles to me.

    If I worked three or four miles from home I might want one of these cars but I still suspect an electric car would use a lot less electricity to charge-up than the air-car would use to fill-up

  25. 25 dundich said at 6:40 pm on March 22nd, 2007:

    @ kevin

    The link you mention is quite old. I have a printout of January 2006 and even then it was not new. Besides, the only official homepage of MDI is http://www.mdi.lu. This was confirmed to me by MDI. After I had asked them them:

    There exists a very detailed homepage: http://www.theaircar.com, which also refers to MDI, but has different infos (outdated?). This is quite confusing. Could you explain which infos are correct?

    I received the following reply:

    Monsieur,

    Le site officiel de MDI est http://www.mdi.lu.
    Les informations qui y sont données viennent directement de notre bureau d’étude.
    Meilleures salutations

    Annic NEGRE

    I wonder how they will run their „big business“ with the Indian Company Tata, when they use nothing but French. But anyway, the report about the Tata deal disappeared from both homepages (theaircar and mdi), after it had first been propagated as a big issue. I wonder why (But I am not surprised)

    @ Bert
    Where did you read about a range of 300 miles with one tank filling? According the report of the “l’Ecole des Mines of Paris� about the expected performance of MDI’s air car the ranges for a car with an electrical facilities consumption of 300 Watts and a tank volume of 450 liters are:
    20 km/hr speed: 91 miles
    50 km/hr speed: 73 miles

    For the 300 miles you mentioned the tank volume would need to be:
    20 km/hr speed: 1480 liters
    50 km/hr speed: 1851 liters
    That is quite a lot of volume, don’t you think?

    @ air car enthusiasts:
    Did you read this sentence in the “official homepage�?

    Based on this new Technology, MDI is now in the process of developing a “thermodynamic concept� that will enhance these results even further, over the next ten years, thus initiating a genuine energy revolution.

    Over the next ten years…

    Get it?

  26. 26 MrT said at 7:56 pm on March 22nd, 2007:

    Wow sounds like some serious tech analysis is going on out there somewhere in internet land. Thats great.

    If more independant someones can confirm they have driven one of these cars and know more about what is going on right now with the MDI technology that would be really good. I for one am happy with my understanding and being only as technically minded as the average nut I am just going to wait and see what happens in 2008. If I manage to get a car I will let you all know and Dundich I reckon you would have to come for a drive before we head off across america.

    This is only the internet and I encourage you all to exercise your constitutional rights to free speech – political correctness is eroding some of the beautiful irregularities of human nature. If someone says something stupid please tell them and if someone tells you that something you have said is stupid please look at what you have said and see whether it is stupid. If what you said is not stupid then the other person is. Through this sometimes a little volatile process we find the real truth. I rekon we all have different backgrounds and levels of personal expression. I aint a scientist but I reckon I can tell reality from fantasy and can get my message across. PLEASE tell me if I ever say anything stupid and pull no punchs : this is important stuff and we all need to work together to filter out the garbage and reveal the gems. My ego can take some correction from anonymous bloggers when its a matter of global importance.

    Now I’m off to fight for truth justice and the american way and will come back and check on your serious scientific discussions one day. I can tell you guys will work through the science stuff and this is all far beyond me so I cant comment intelligently on any of it so will just wait for my car and do cool stuff with it when I get it and maybe post some links. I can see it now: “Gone in 300psi!” & “Fear & Loathing in an air car!” & the JackAss movie “100 things not to do with an aircar!” & etc etc

    Have fun and grow biofuels please!

    LoveALLtheFOOLS (translation: love everyone)
    MrT

  27. 27 dundich said at 5:44 am on March 23rd, 2007:

    @ those who are interested in a serious discussion

    If one googels for „air car“, there are over a hundred thousand entries, which shows the big interest in that matter. It is quite understandable if one takes the promises of MDI for granted. And I understand if people wonder about my attempts to raise doubts about this marvellous and ingenious invention and ask what sense it would make to spend 10 years on something which could not succeed and knowing that. Well, I asked that myself and if I don’t want to be too hard on the French crew, I give them the credit that in the beginning they believed in it themselves. But what does one do if one finds out that the project one had put so much effort and hope turns into a flop? Stop it? After one has used so much money – and mainly money of people who one had convinced and who are waiting for a result? Or go on and build up a kind of aircar Disneyland with prototypes which are shown to the press, a test bed, a workshop and lots of PR.

    The main reason for that “theory� is an article which had been published in September 2002 (!) on a German homepage which is bit similar to this one. You can look for it yourself and the google website-translator produces a reasonable English version (for those who do not understand German). The site is

    http://www.brandeins.net/home/inhalt_detail.asp?id=342&MenuID=130&MagID=11&sid=su62218159624719017&umenuid=1

    And here a translation of the part which could maybe explain the present “dilemma� of MDI:

    — In an interview with the French car magazine “Le Quotidien Auto” the 60-years old design engineer Guy Nègre remembers: „My attempts in the formula 1 were a flop. With 52 I was ruined. Since my childhood I was occupied with engines. The only possibility of freeing me from my dilemma at that time was to face a still larger challenge.“

    He decided to build a hundred percent pollutant-free car. One beyond smog, waste of fossil sources or greenhouse effect. Guy Nègre creates the enterprise MDI (Moteur Développment international), financed with private investors.

    The rest of the article is like many others. Technically wrong explanations of the engine, the announcement that one can buy a turnkey production plant from MDI for 9,2 Million Euro and the promise that serial production of the car will start at the end of this year (2002 !). A max speed of 110 km and a driving range of 240 km are also mentioned.

    I leave it to you to draw your own conclusions from the above.

  28. 28 dundich said at 6:00 pm on March 23rd, 2007:

    correction
    In my before last posting I had said that the Tata deal is not mentioned anymore on MDI’s homepage. I was mistaken. It still is.

  29. 29 Bert said at 11:05 am on March 24th, 2007:

    @dundich

    Saw it On Future Cars On the discovery chanel

  30. 30 CM said at 10:29 pm on March 24th, 2007:

    The “future car” episode on Discovery Channel was incredibly inept, they said the air compressor was powered by air, implying a perpetual energy source. MDI never claimed to have an “air powered air compressor”, the reporter mis-understood how the engine works – it takes in outside air and mixes it with the compressed air to improve thermodynamics and keep the engine from freezing. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work well when the air is very cold.

    Some posters seem to have confused metric and english measures – 200 to 300 Km is only 124 to 186 miles.

    The “air car” has a reported price, range and performance similar to “neighborhood electric vehicles”. While it can go over 40 mph and exceed 120 miles per tank, it can’t do both at once. Maximum range is obtained at a leisurely 18 mph. Efficiency is much less than NEVs, as compressing the air creates waste heat, and at those pressures a lot of electricity is wasted as heat. According to another post, it takes 90 MJ of energy to compress a full tank of air but the tanks only store 51 MJ, meaning 39 MJ of waste heat!

    It takes a lot of energy (and petroleum!) to make the carbon fiber tanks – it takes high temperature low oxygen ovens to carbonize plastic fibers to make carbon fiber, then the fibers must be bonded with plastic resins. At 4,500 psi, even a small crack in that tank would have an air jet roaring out at high velocities, presenting a serious hazard.

    There are only 2 advantages over NEVs: the carbon fiber tanks will likely last longer than lead acid batteries, and the expanded air exhaust drops to near freezing temperatures, making air conditioning a cinch. The air car may find a modest market in sunny retirement communities.

    To increase range and performance, a hybrid version powered by compressed air and burning fuel was introduced, but it isn’t quite as clean and is much more expensive. It might not burn as much fuel per mile as a standard IC engine car, as part of the energy could come from electrically compressed air, but it is less efficient than a “plug-in electric” hybrid and far less efficient than a battery electric – those compression heat losses are substantial. The energy density of compressed air is fairly low, making the tanks much bigger – and heavier – than the NiMH or LiIon battery packs used in electrics and electric hybrids. This will find a market mainly for people who fall for hype and don’t grasp the serious drawbacks inherent in the design.

    To answer Berts questions:
    1). “I suppose you have an alternator on this vehicle, so can youinstall a AC/DC converter and run the on-board air pump while driving ?”

    Bad idea. Since the alternator presumably is driven by compressed air, the air motor and alternator loose some energy and the air compressor wastes approx. 1/3 of the remaining energy, doing so would dramatically cut your range.

    2).”Will your motor power an out-drive on an average size Boat ?”

    The motor could drive a variety of vehicles, but you need a big space for the tanks, and be willing to settle for “trolling motor” performance.

    3). “Will this vehicle be able to pull a load(a trailer ) ?”

    Are you kidding? It would be like pulling a trailer with a golf cart.

  31. 31 dundich said at 9:16 am on March 25th, 2007:

    In one of the (too) many MDI video clips
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gFbKINlXzRk
    I found the following data for the MiniCat (converted to metric):

    storage volume: 200 liters
    pressure 300 bars
    urban range 150 km

    and the following statement of Mr. Négre himself:

    “The costs for outdoor filling we don’t know exactly, because we have yet to design the filling station�.

    After so many years they did not design a high pressure filling station for that car? Do you believe that? Or in other words – if you would be in Négres’s position, would you wait for years with designing such a vital part of the project or at least asking specialized firms for a detailed quotation? I’m convinced you would. But what would you do, if it turns out that the exorbitant costs of an air compressor station with a power requirement in the range of about 650 kW jeopardize your project? You would keep that to yourself? Well, that’s what Négre is obviously doing.

  32. 32 dundich said at 5:48 pm on March 25th, 2007:

    From MDI’s homepage (w/o comment):

    Compressed Air Storage System is simple and MDI is planning to install a network of such “Filling Stations� where vehicles can be refilled, in three minutes, by connecting the Car Tanks to the outlet from the Storage System.

  33. 33 Martin Tlusty said at 4:54 am on March 26th, 2007:

    No extreme is good: Why not start using clear advantages of compressed air for energy staorage – and recuperation?
    At least for improving standard car energy budget, where its advantage in saving breaking energy is ONLY positive with NO negatives?

  34. 34 dundich said at 5:31 am on March 26th, 2007:

    @ Martin
    Correct. This, in my opinion, could be the only advantage in compressed air energy storage. But I am still waiting for this feature to be mentioned in MDI’s publications. Or did I misss something there?
    I could even imagine to add such a recuperating braking system to a conventional car, with an air motor-compressor system which feeds the baking energy back to the wheels. I this case, the bad efficiency would not matter so much, because I am getting at least something back from energy which is normally lost.

  35. 35 Bert said at 7:56 pm on March 26th, 2007:

    @cm
    As for the load. Well I didn’t think so you could but ……Well you don’t know till ya ask do ya?

    As to the AC/DC converter. My brother is a Very Up to date and good mechanic, anythings possible. Look at Plasma Drives 15 years ago they were Scifi today they have pro-to types. The laws of thermodynamics(as we know them) may apply today, but what will tomorrow bring. 30 years ago did anyone really think you would have a computer on your desk ? Just wait till more Technology comes out of area 51 LOL.

  36. 36 dundich said at 7:31 am on March 30th, 2007:

    @ Mashiur Rahman Khan
    Interesting point of view. Maybe you go a bit more in detail?

    @ vwi3yxo5y0
    6opis99no xx3y5 lk uioper!!!

  37. 37 Kevin Jackson said at 12:57 pm on April 16th, 2007:

    Hi Martin and dundich,

    I wouldn’t be so sure about “ONLY positive with NO negatives” when considering compressed air energy recovery systems.

    I speculate, with the really poor efficency of “air”, the weight of the air compressor/motor, storage tank(s) and control system may cause the car to consume more energy than can be recovered by the braking energy recovery air system.

    Your mileage may be worse with braking energy recovery than without it!

  38. 38 Kevin Jackson said at 1:10 pm on April 16th, 2007:

    Hi Bert,

    It can be amazing to see what the future brings, however, neither plasma drives or desktop computers violate the laws of thermodynamics.

    While we don’t know what the future will bring, we do know some of the things the future will not bring. Efficencies over unity, free energy (unless you harvest it yourself) and air powered cars.

  39. 39 Mac said at 6:10 am on October 31st, 2007:

    Hi All

    Have a look on the web for the fastest bicycle in the world 70 mph on 400 watts of human power.

    Even if compressing air is only 50 % efficient you can build a wind turbine at home, if the compressed air is free who cares if its inefficient.

    If you have a wind turbine at home the wind turbine will have the potential to provide a 24 hour cycle storing compressed air in a tank for you to move to a high pressure tank on your vehicle.

    You only need one hour of driving time on average to get to work. If the required pressure was not achieved in the tanks by 3 am then electricity could be used to top it up so you can fill up before you go to work. Its simple and easy to achieve and we can all make our own harware as it is not high tech.

    Any thing is possible its just funding, motivation and time that we all lack.

  40. 40 Jo said at 2:03 pm on November 16th, 2007:

    I still don’t see why you’d want to waste energy compressing air with an electric engine instead of just using the electric engine directly as the car’s motor. Battery technology has come a long way since the late 90s when this project began. Is there some great advantage to compressing the air and using that as energy storage instead of using batteries as energy storage? It’s not as though those filled compressed air tanks are exceptionally lighter or safer than today’s best batteries at 200Wh/Kg energy density.

  41. 41 Nedlud said at 1:25 am on December 30th, 2007:

    I have just come across this website, following an article published in one of the local (Melbourne) dailies. The claims in this article may be of interest. They are similar to the original claims technically as published on your site, which I need not repeat here. However, this time round the “air-car” will not be made in India, but in Australia. As usual, the roll-out will take 5 years and cost $A5 billion, presumably of local investor’s money. Mr. Negre, who has just toured selling the project, claimed in all modesty that the vehicle, with an air heater, will travel many thousands of kilometres on one tankful of fuel (could it be unobtainium?).
    To Australians such proposals are not new. In the 1970s an “inventor” named Sarich flogged the idea of a new rotary engine, which was revolutionary in having fewer moving parts. We never discovered why having fewer moving parts was so beneficial, but that was a minor problem, because Sarich never demonstrated a working prototype, not even a drawing. He would sketch, on request, something resembling a engine, but it had no valves or fuel system. He managed to interest the huge steel company BHP in the project. We used to say jokingly that early on Sarich had the experience and BHP the money, while later on Sarich had the money and BHP was left with the experience.
    Today, this prediction has come true. Sarich now is an investment company, never having produced a working automotive engine.. It is, however, a public company with some $A 40 million share capital. As an engineer myself, I have good advice for anyone wanting to invest money in yet another scheme like the air car. If you look up perpetual motion on your search engine, you will find numerous attractive solutions. None of these were meant for fitting to a motor car, because motor cars didn’t exist at the time these “solutions” were put forward. The advantage of listing them is because it allowed an explanation in every case as to why they couldn’t and didn’t work.
    Here is another suggestion that won’t work, but is very like those proposed by ITMIDI. When you travel by car next time, stick one of the toy windmills out of the window, and attach a small generator to it. If you believe that the energy produced by this generator comes to you free of charge, enrol in a first year physics course at the nearest technical school.
    As for me, yes, you are right. It is all sour grapes; I had the idea of patenting a car that runs entirely on bullshit, but I now see it has already been done. DRAT!

  42. 42 ethan said at 1:55 pm on January 3rd, 2008:

    i have better idea put mini wind mills on top of car that run to a rechargable battery engine

  43. 43 michael said at 7:16 pm on July 29th, 2008:

    This is great. It is about time for a new source of entergy. Oil is just to high. What about refill exchange compressed air tanks?
    How much gasoline will be used on a 600 mile trip?
    When will these cars be avilable in th United States?

  44. 44 Kevin Jackson said at 11:06 am on July 30th, 2008:

    Hi: Informed, Uniformed, wellfromed, formica, MrT, LaurenD, Ashish Gupta, Bert

    Well it’s been a long time now (close to two years) are all of you still buying this weapons grade bull sh_t?

  45. 45 CM said at 4:57 pm on July 30th, 2008:

    The latest news on the French Air car is that Tata motors thinks it needs several more years of development, they still aren’t for sale, and there still isn’t any independent confirmation of performance or range.

    Guy Negre and team have entered the Automotive X Prize contest, planning two entries – one powered solely by compressed air, the other a compressed air/liquid fueled hybrid. Problem is, they’ve got some really stiff competition from the likes of Loremo, Tesla Motors, Aptera, Velozzi, Cornell University, and more – about 70 entries at last count! Quite frankly, considering the performance and marketablility requirements and the much better designs entered by others, they don’t stand a chance of winning. In fact, I’d be suprised if they made it past the qualifying round.

  46. 46 Kevin Jackson said at 8:26 am on August 1st, 2008:

    Sorry Michael, there’s no new source of energy here. Just a talented marketeer and a dream. I wouldn’t expect them to be in the US for 30 years or so.

    Hi CM,

    Thanks for the Automotive X Prize contest information, please keep us updated.
    I suspect Guy will have some last minute snag and not be able to make it to the contest.


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