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Worlds First and Only ‘Air Car’

The 2010 MDI AirPod arrives

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.

We had a chance to test drive one of their prototypes in March and were greatly impressed.The newer generations of drivers will have no problems using a joy stick to drive them and the sounds was akin to an old Vespa at startup but surprisingly silent and smooth when cruising.These guys have some revolutionary manufacturing ideas.The team.

Like many articles about MDI and their air cars, this one has various bits of bogus info.Ask any scuba shop about the price for a high power compressor and it will be somewhere around 4000, not 400. And that's for one that would fill the AirPod 175 liter tank to 350 bar in several hours, not just one minute. A typical scuba tank is 15 liter size and 232 to 300 bar. As for being available December 2009, we are still waiting for the car MDI announced in 1999 as going on sale in 2000. Or the one they announce in 2000 as going on sale in 2002, or .....

Hi,Have a look at for information, pictures, models, videos, links and the latest news on compressed air cars!

Charlie A - Yes but dive compressors cost more as the air has to be clean - filtering costs! However 350Bar 175L is a lot of air and energy - a virtual bomb (my scuba presures at 220Bar scary enough!)- pushing 400 seems tight but possible - but a min to charge?

just wondering how the "zero pollution" statement is justified when you are going to need bucket loads of electricity (mainly from coal powered stations) to fill the thing up.

I suppose its preferrable to the nasty Hybrids that are becoming more prevalent. Their drivers feeling smug, thinking they're saving the world. Alas, they don't realise that by buying a hybrid such as the Prius, they will never redress the damage/pollution to the planet in building them.Electric cars are dangerous as well as they're so NOT Green!It takes a pratt to design a so-called Green car, and an ignorant pratt to buy one.

With a bit of simple A level physics we can show that the 175 litre tank at 350 Bar stores about 10kWh of energy . This compare with 1 litre of petrol at 8.8 kWh. Even if the engine is twice as efficient as a petrol engine (unlikely), the range is likely to be low. To compress the volume of air without generating a lot of waste heat (thereby wasting electricity in the pumping) will take a long time. Anyone who has pumped up a bicycle tyre (about 2 bar not 350) quickly will know how hot the pump gets. Finaly the engine will get cold as it runs (the gas expands like in a fridge)therfore any heating system cannot use waste engine heat and will require an separate power source. No problem with air-conditioning though.

Yes but what's it like at power sliding? ...... OK, I'll get my coat.

Great idea. We have to think of something to reduce the rate we are consuming and polluting. Virtually free, truly green personal transport may be a long way off but these ideas are the first steps. Most good ideas begin life sounding absurd but we build on them! I may be a "pratt" (to quote Freddie Anon not that I own a hybrid) but I'm not sure what sort of pratt it takes to make these early steps out to be some sort of personal threat; oh wait... a pitiable, paranoid pratt! Dont knock something down if you cannot replace it with better!

Response to Freddie - it's easy to make a dig about the efforts of others ie the pratts. To quote a higher power "judge not least ye be judged".What are you contributing Freddie?

I have just about become bored with this whole "Air Car" project. I have been waiting for years to see when the first car will roll of the assembly line. I even placed my name on the list to purchase the vehicle, still nothing. Is this all hype or are they just blowing smoke (no pun intended) up our pipes?

Good luck to em, brilliant idea, lighter car. Tata am sure have a contract with MDI. Will make the big players think outside the box.

I've seen much plausible concern regarding actual range and costs for equipment and filling, and the comments here maintain my doubt. so the two points I'm left with are (1) I'll believe it when I see the car produced and tested, rather than stories of people agreeing to invest money, and (2) air power SEEMS like such a winner intuitively, but few people have a feel for what magnitude of tank and compressor will do the job, so if this IS fraudulent in the details then the number of people buying the hype wouldn't be surprising

I believe the air compression is just what it takes to start the pistons working and it stores enough to self-perpetuate for approximately 130 miles. Doubters are likely linked to the current broken model of fuel-injected car manufacturing and oil industries. I would highly recommend those industries invest in the alternative that will truly make them rich and improve the economy and environment not to mention people's health as a result. No, I'm not an affiliate, I'm an animation student. My family and friends are affiliated. I just want an affordable, ethical car and so far Saab, Audio and Jaguar aren't producing those. I can get by getting to work, etc with one of these babies. I can't afford anything else! I imagine buses won't stink up my city anymore if they were AirPod buses like the ones used for the uni in South Carolina. In Leicester there is serious mass transit stench. Trains can be improved, too. What I am curious about is heating/cooling systems?