Stirring the pot about air-powered cars

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A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about Motor Development International (MDI), Luxembourg, and its development of a car that runs on compressed air. As editor Alan Hitchcox says, proponents of compressed-air powered vehicles are full of hot air, but this company is still forging ahead with the idea, it seems.

When they first put forward the idea, they touted that the concept was already proven and was about to be installed in thousands of cars. Not surprisingly, this didn't take off but they stated in May that the testing phase has been completed and demonstrated on two cars. Now, MDI and Tata Motors are working together to complete detailed development of the technology.

I wonder what others think about this idea? In addition to the cons that Alan mentioned, the cars seem a bit flimsy to me. I'm still a proponent of a hydraulic-hybrid car, or van (as hydraulic accumulators are just too big to fit on a small car). But an air car? I don't know. It just doesn't sound plausible to me. But I give them a nod for trying a new concept and for their unique designs of these very futuristic looking cars.

Discuss this Blog Entry 1

on Oct 10, 2012

I agree with Alan; it sounds like a lot of hot air. Compressed air just doesn't have the power density or storage capacity required for the long operation cycles of vehicles.
On top of that, the act of compressing the air (I imagine they require thousands of pounds per square inch for this to be useful at all) is highly wasteful and inefficient.

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Michael Ference

As Publisher of Hydraulics & Pneumatics, my interest and expertise lie in two main areas-advertising and marketing and fluid power. In this blog, I focus on both areas with information about the...

Alan Hitchcox

Alan joined Hydraulics & Pneumatics in 1987 with experience as a technical magazine editor and in industrial sales. He graduated with a BS in engineering technology from Franklin University and...
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