The zero pollution and almost zero maintenance Airpod urban car is taking the world by storm and will very shortly arrive in the UK. The car is the brainchild of a firm called MDI of Luxembourg and France and has taken fourteen years to develop.
The heart of the 2010 MDI AIRPod is a piston engine that has been specially adapted by MDI to run on compressed air. The expansion of the compressed air within the cylinders moves the pistons. The engine is "fueled" by a system of high-pressure air tanks. Filling up can be done in two ways either at an “air station” or at home with a high powered air compressor; these would fill the tank in just over a minute and cost around £400.
The Pod is made of fiberglass which is lighter and stronger than steel, it has no steering wheel and no gearstick. Steering is controlled by a joystick mounted on the right armrest of the driver seat, small aluminum gas and brake pedals sprout from the floor and there is a small instrument panel with displays for speed and driving range. The Pod is perfect for driving in crowded cities, the vision is excellent and parking is a breeze. A collision in this vehicle sets off a huge airbag outside the Pod to protect the car, its occupants and pedestrians.
MDI have a £30 million deal with Indian car giant Tata to license the technology in Asia for use in the ultra cheap Nano. Fifty-six countries are ready to build them and it is reported that the US President would like one. Airline company Air France and KLM have begun to officially trial them. The Pod is priced at £3000 and will go on sale in December.