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Image of the Day: Super Smart Car, a Breath of Fresh Air

Taking the Smart car a step further, India’s Tata Motors is fine tuning the Airpods, a vehicle producing zero pollution and zip around at 40 mph through the magic of compressed air. The engines come from MDI (Motor Development International) a Luxemburg firm that has been tooling around with the concept for 20 years. Tata Motors bought the rights to sell MDI’s design and have had troubles getting the car on the road. But now they are in phase 2 after successfully testing two engines and are getting ready for a commercial launch. The car holds three people, although the back seat passenger has to sit backwards, harkening back to those rear station wagon seats of some baby boomer’s childhood. 


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By Dave (Basking Ridge, NJ 07920)
on August 19th, 2012

The MDI air car has been talked about for years.  An air car sure sounds like a planet saver and it looks cute in the picture.  However,  the energy stored in a reasonably sized tank of compressed air is quite small compared with what you need to push an average car around, even at very, very high pressures.  The same volume of electric batteries (lead or lithium) or gasoline has much much more energy.  This means that a normal size car propelled solely by compressed air either won’t have much umph or will have a diminutive range.  I suspect that if some version of an air car like this eventually successfully gets into the consumer marketplace, then it might actually be powered by a hybrid compressed air / gasoline system.  Sure, the net emissions should still be low but then so are the emissions from a moped. This ‘car’ is tiny and very light.  So, OK, they say it has been tested, and there are videos to prove it, but somehow I have my doubts about it.  I want to read a road test in MT.

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By Mike Public (Seattle WA 98105)
on August 21st, 2012

Zero pollution?
Does the air magically compress itself?
Even the most efficient engine produces some pollution.
Have you heard of the Laws of Thermodynamics?

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