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Future Air Cars

Future air cars are actually more than a lot of hot air. There is actually substance to the claim that air cars are a future possibility. In fact, several future air cars have been demonstrated as prototype vehicles now.



Air Cars
Energine PHEV top, MDI CityCAT bottom

For instance, MDI air cars are a reality. MDI has three different models, the MiniCAT (Compressed Air Technology), CityCAT and OneCAT are vehicles set to go into production sometime in 2007 and be in showrooms as early as summer 2008.

The first MDI air cars will likely be sold in India under the name Tata, produced by India's largest automaker in conjunction with MDI. The MDI engines have 4 two-stage pistons and a dual-energy system to propel the vehicles.

The MDI cars contain carbon fiber tanks, which are filled up with 4,500 psi of compressed air that turn the pistons. Since no infrastructure is yet in place to compress air to this degree at local filling stations, the MDI air cars come with their own onboard compressors.

The second company of note that is developing future air cars is the Energine Corporation. The Energine Corporation has already demonstrated a prototype parallel pneumatic-hybrid electric vehicle, which they are calling the PHEV car (Of course, the plug-in hybrid electric vehicle people are also using PHEV for their acronym as well).

Nonetheless, the Energine PHEV car uses both a 2-stroke pneumatic piston engine and an electric motor to power the vehicle. The Energine PHEV contains a 4,350 psi compressed air tank and can achieve a top speed of 72mph.

Since air cars are zero emissions vehicles and there has been a lot of public emphasis on finding solutions to global warming and greenhouse gases lately, it is likely that the development of future air cars will continue for quite some time. Look for more manufacturers to jump on the future air car wagon as the technology is relatively simple and there is high public interest in these vehicles now.

Written by Kevin Lepton