MDI Inventor Develops Compressed Air Car

October 28, 2002 by Jeff Shepard

Inventor Guy Negre of Motor Development International (MDI, France) presented a new environmentally friendly vehicle powered by compressed air intended for town use. The CityCAT air car will cost 6,800 euros ($6,700) and features one row of seats wide enough for three and a curved, pod-like front end. The CityCAT, with a top speed of around 110km an hour, runs for a maximum of around 10 hours at low speed before it needs refueling.

Inside the car, cold air compressed in tanks to 300 times atmospheric pressure is heated and fed into the cylinders of a piston engine. No combustion takes place, so there is no pollution. The air from the exhaust pipe is cleaner than the air that goes in due to an internal filter. The car can be refilled with air at home using an electric compressor and drivers may be able to recharge the cars in filling stations in three minutes for as little as three dollars.

MDI aims to have the first CityCAT on the road by mid-2003, with the first cars on sale toward the end of 2004. Rather than selling the cars directly, MDI offers investors a factory package containing the machinery needed to build the cars. MDI had already sold 32 of the factories and is hoping to increase the total to 300 in the next few years. Each factory would produce 4,000 cars a year.