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French Hot Air – AirPod

Posted: January 25th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Alternative Energy, Auto News | Tags: , , | Comments Off on French Hot Air – AirPod

Driven by Hot Air: Can the French really produce a commercially viable air-powered motor vehicle?

MDI founder Guy Nègre, says “production of the AirPod should begin midway through 2009” The Company signed a partnership agreement (2007) with major car maker Tata (India) This partnership should allow MDI to complete the development and optimization of its technology for the Indian market. Tata Motors is the company that acquired Jaguar and Land Rover from Ford in 2008, and is the maker of the $2,500 car.

MDI has managed to get around the limitations of ordinary air motors with an exclusive technology; this system limits the compressed air supplied from the vehicle’s tank with each cycle for increased vehicle range. Two major features differentiate MDI’s engine from any other air-powered engine.

First, the piston engine draws ambient air to fill its cylinders and injects a tiny amount of compressed air at the end of the compression cycle to increase total pressure within the engine’s cylinder. After “inhalation,” the air is warmed up. This further increases the pressure within the cylinder, boosting power and performance.

Second, MDI’s air engine features a unique connecting rod system which improves the engine’s efficiency. Unlike the pistons of a regular gasoline-powered engine, which are linked to the crankshaft by rigid connecting rods, the compressed-air engine’s pistons are connected by a hinged mechanical link that MDI calls a “crank rod”. This patented system stops the piston for a few milliseconds at the top dead center position – the limit of its travel – without interrupting the crankshaft’s rotation. This pause allows more time for pressure to increase in the cylinder, even when the car is accelerating. The result is a very stable torque curve at any speed. Although air-powered engines are typically small and weak, MDI’s engine offers decent performance as its peak torque is generated at low engine speeds.

MDI claims that its prototypes can travel 200 km on a tank of compressed air, which rivals that of a typical electric car.
The current compressed air engine is about as noisy as one of the early diesels
Up to 90 km/h with a fuel consumption of about 1.7 L/100km.
Cost $10,000 (us)

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