An Amazing Car Powered by Air

Photograph of a MDI car that can run with compressed air and claims a mileage of 106 mpg.
Photograph of a MDI car that runs with compressed air and claims a mileage of 106 miles per gallon. (Credit: TechnoRide)

As oil companies insist in squeezing the last cent from for our pockets by keeping the gallon of gasoline in outer space, scientists are looking for ways to replace gasoline and diesel altogether.

Lately we have been reading a lot about electric cars, hybrid cars, cars that run with alcohol, ethanol, heating oil, hydrogen and air. Yep, that’s right air. This isn’t anything new. French inventor Guy Negre recently unveiled the OneCat, an automobile that is driven by compressed air producing no emissions at all.

The OneCat is able to accommodate five passengers in a fiberglass body, weighs just 350 kilograms (772 lbs.) and has a price tag of approximately 2,500 British Pounds equivalent to $4,885. It will be driven by compressed air stored in carbon-fiber tanks built into the car’s chassis.

Another car joins the club of the compressed air vehicles. A European company under the name of MDI has developed a special technology that could theoretically power a car by compressed air. New York-based Zero Pollution Motors is licensing the technology for the first time to build and sell a car in the United States. CNN has covered the story that the MDI car will hits the U.S. streets in 2010 at a price tag of less than $18,000—and with a claimed average fuel economy of 106 mpg.

According to Shiva Vencat, vice president of MDI and CEO of Zero Pollution Motors, the car is a six seater, reaches speeds of 90 mph and has a range of more than 800 miles thanks to a dual energy engine. Let me clarify that a “dual energy” engine can run on either fuel or compressed air. I would also like to add that Mr. Vencat is a French inventor and former race car engineer.

The MDi air car has captured the interest of Tata Motors, India’s largest automaker. The company announced an agreement with MDI last year to further develop and refine the technology.

The possibility of having a car with a price tag of less than $18,000, that reaches speeds of 90 mph and a mileage of 106 mpg is absolutely irresistible. We are currently living in a science-fiction world, where fantasy is tangible. Who would have thought of driving a car that would run with air? Au revoir!


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