Compressed-air car to go commercial next year?

Taking the psssssss

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'Leccy Air Tech One car manufacturer is readying the launch of a product which runs on nothing more than hot air. (The jokes just write themselves, don't they?)

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MDI's Air Pod: runs on air

Motor Development International’s Air Pod, made from a mixture of fibreglass and polyurethane foam, is powered by compressed air. Essentially, air is squeezed into a 175l tank at a storage pressure of 350 bar, before being slowly released to move pistons inside the car’s engine. Refuelling takes just a few minutes at petrol stations with air compressors - very powerful ones.

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Wacky passenger layout

Passenger layout is the Air Pod’s other unusual feature. The driver faces forwards, but the passengers face backwards so they can stare other drivers in the face.

The Air Pod’s maximum speed is about 40mph, and MDI claims it’ll keep on truckin’ for at least 130 miles. The car measures about 2m long and is 1.7m high.

The first Air Pods are set to blow off the production line in the spring of 2009, with prices starting at around €3500 (£2765/$4755).

We've reported before on MDI's other compressed-air car efforts, and the technical hurdles it'll have to leap to make this drive a practical reality are still in place. The test will come when - indeed, if - MDI gets its car out to punters next year. ®

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