Feeds

Yes! It's the air-powered car!

Just a load of the proverbial?

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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. ®

Security for virtualized datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Boffins who stare at goats: I do believe they’re SHRINKING
Alpine chamois being squashed by global warming
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
LONG ARM of the SAUR: Brachially gifted dino bone conundrum solved
Deinocheirus mirificus was a bit of a knuckle dragger
MARS NEEDS WOMEN, claims NASA pseudo 'naut: They eat less
'Some might find this idea offensive' boffin admits
No sail: NASA spikes Sunjammer
'Solar sail' demonstrator project binned
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.