The idea of introducing a compressed air car to the market is not new, as you may already know, but it has never been so close to becoming a reality. In fact, Motor Development International (MDI) is about to launch its first car model that uses compressed air technology. The first model, called the AirPod, will cost less than £ 6,000 and will be available for the European market in 2013.
The first units will be sold in France and, obviously, priority will be given to those who have reserved the vehicle. The manufacture and distribution of these cars will also be innovative: there will be no car dealer or reseller as customers will be able to buy their cars directly from factories. This means that according to MDI’s plans, factories will begin to spread across the continent, with the aim of making the entire manufacturing and sales process much more direct and immediate. Therefore, there are no middlemen or middlemen involved and this will lead to considerable cost reduction throughout the supply chain. According to MDI, it would cost much more to transport cars from one side of the world to the other, which is currently a common practice among automakers. In this way, each factory will guarantee a drastic reduction in costs derived from logistics while maintaining production efficiency, with 7,000 units produced each year.
In 2007, MDI had struck a deal with the industry giant TATA Motors, and the latter was willing to invest heavily in the compressed air motor. A technology that was first introduced by the French in 1870 but has never managed to break through and commercialize. This was due to the myriad of technical difficulties and security threats to such technology, as well as the introduction of the internal combustion engine in the past.
The cars to be launched on the European market are expected to have a range of around 62 miles for £ 0.80 – absolutely impressive! Also, the compressed air car can be easily charged at specific service stations in just 2 minutes or from home by simply plugging the car into the power outlet, which takes about 3 hours for a full charge.
One of the main criticisms against compressed air technology is that it takes a lot of energy to compress air, because air has little energy, so the level of compression is expected to be extremely high. However, according to MDI, these new car concepts, due to their very light weight, consume less energy to move, which makes them cheaper than electric cars.
The next model to be launched after the AirPod will be called AirOne and will be equipped with a 15 kW motor for a top speed of 60 miles per hour (against the AirPod’s top speed of 7 kW and 50 mph). Another model to be launched will be the AirCity, much larger than the others, looking much more like a normal car and the ability to reach a top speed of 80 mph with 25 kW of power.