Feeds

Yes! It's the air-powered car!

Just a load of the proverbial?

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Leccy Tech Luxembourg-based engineering concern MDI has unveiled a car powered by, of all things, compressed air.

Airpod_01

The air-powered Airpod car, from firm MDI

Well, when we say 'car', what we really mean is a three-wheel, sub-500kg urban run-about, working prototypes of which are currently trundling around France.

Called Airpod, the vehicle is driven by a 180cc, two-cylinder engine that pumps out 5.4bhp and 11lb/ft of torque from 261psi of air pressure. The engine - based on a design by company founder Guy Nègre - has been in development for roughly 20 years and, in simple terms, uses the expansion of compressed air to move pistons.

The compressed air’s currently stored at 2,900psi inside carbon fibre tanks fixed to the cars’ underside. But in the production models, air will be stored at 4,400psi - cue visions of air tanks rupturing and sending Airpods whizzing down the road like burst balloons.

Airpod_03

Airpod's driver sits alone in the car's front

Prototype Airpods are limited to 30mph, but the production version will be capable of 50mph, the company said.

MDI added that Airpod has a range of between 90 and 120 miles – a distance that’s dependant on factors like car speed, load and gradient. A full re-charge of Airpod’s compressed air tanks only takes two minutes, the firm claimed.

The Airpod can seat three people: a centrally placed driver in the front and two rear-facing passengers in back.

If MDI’s propulsion system proves itself, the company plans to release a whole raft of vehicles based on its compressed air technology.

Airpod_02

The production version should get up to 50mph, MDI's claimed

This could include…erm… a GT version, which would combine the air engine together with a micro-petrol engine - with the latter used to heat the air. The result? A whopping 8bhp.

MDI will launch the Airpod in France towards the end of 2009, priced at €6000 (£5100/$8400) - though local eco-subsidies could see that figure reduced by up to fifty per cent.

We should point out, though, that MDI’s compressed air cars have been due to go on-sale many times over the past nine years. This isn’t the first time the firm’s cooked up a working prototype of a planned model, either. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
LOHAN Kickstarter breaks NINETEEN THOUSAND of your EARTH POUNDS
That's right, OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
Major cyber attack hits Norwegian oil industry
Statoil, the gas giant behind the Scandie social miracle, targeted
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.