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The birth of world's first air drive FRP cars

News International-French

19 Sep 2012

Last month, the India automaker Tata displayed its AirPod aerodynamic prototype vehicle.

This vehicle is based on Luxemburg's MDI technology. The new engine uses compressed air as power output, with a maximum speed of 45 to 70kmh.


In order to reduce vehicle weight, the body of this air drive car adopts FRP materials. While the engine is powered by compressed air so the car is very environment-friendly: it won't produce any waste gas pollution to the environment.


Tata has been hoping to produce a vehicle which is powered by compressed air for a long time. This idea has been proposed a few years ago but has been unable to realize the commercialization.


With the AirPod available for formal sales at the end of the year, the cooperation between Tata and MDI has entered into a new stage.


MDI is a project initiated and directed by Guy NEGRE the CEO of the company, this mechanical engineer started his career with researches on engines’ efficiency.


Among his numerous creations, we particularly remember a rotary distribution device for a R8 GORDINI which produced 152 HP at 11 000 rpm, his light aircraft engines (SACMA) and also the development of a 3.5 liters W 12 engine, for Formula 1 races in the 80s. Throughout his career Guy NEGRE, has designed nearly one hundred engines.


In January 2004, CNN said the MDI team "hoped" the Air Car would be "rolled out by the end of 2004".


In January 2007, Tata Motors and Motor Development International (Luxembourg) signed a license agreement that enables Tata Motors to produce and sell compressed air cars using MDI technology in India.


The agreement covered two phases of activity encompassing the technology transfer and proof of the technical concept in the first phase, and in the second phase completing detailed development of the compressed air engine into specific vehicle and stationary applications.


The first phase of this programme - proof of the technical concept in Tata Motors vehicles - has now been successfully completed with the compressed air engine concept having been demonstrated in two Tata Motors vehicles.


In the second phase of the development, the two companies are working together to complete detailed development of the technology and required technical processes to industrialize a market ready product application over the coming years.


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