The Air Car


MDI has developed an engine that will greatly throw us into the next advancements of technology, a vehicle that runs off compressed air. The man behind this idea is Guy Negre an ex-Formula One engineer, who has made it a goal to put 6000 Air Cars on Indian streets by next year.

To get the car to work, Mr. Negre uses a piston-type engine to extract the stored energy within compressed air to push the car, opposed to the gas-and-oxygen explosions of internal-combustion models.

One of the models, the CityCAT costs around $12,700 which has a range of around 125 miles and a top speed of 68 mph. It’ll only take a few minutes to refuel the the car and possibly only a couple buck to fill the tanks with 340 liters of air.

It may take a while for the cars to hit America (it’s made of all-glue construction) but they have already signed deals with more than 12 countries including Germany, South Africa and Israel.

57 Responses to “The Air Car”

  1. That is very cool. I would love to see this mass produced, but the real key is to keep the big car manufacturers from killing it like they did the electric car.

    Come share and chat with us on this environmental community

  2. nice car ! wud love to have one in my drive-in space!

  3. I’d get one. Of course, a car that ran on nitrous oxide might be neater. No more road rage because everyone would be *happy*.

  4. Could afford one of these! The world in no need of oil…just think of it! This is as good as hearing about the guy in Ohio discovering salt water fuel. go to Cleveland, OH News channels to find it. John Kanzius is his name. While he’s at it, he’s possibly found a viable way to cure cancer, which was his original reason for experimenting with the salt water.

  5. Looking to the future, maybe I might one day be driving an air-powered car! But I sure won’t if it’s anything like that horrendiously gay car pictured above. I mean seriously… air-powered cars = the new age of shit designs? No wonder the big car companies trash these new ideas. I mean wtf is that?

  6. Who’d of thought… in the future, I might be driving an air-powered car…

    But I sure won’t if it looks anything like that car pictured above. I mean seriously, no wonder these big car companies throw these new ‘eco-friendly’ designs. The people promoting them advertise it with cars that look like THAT. They totally suck. New air-power ‘Bringing you the worst model designs since the eco thing became a problem’ anyone?

  7. Maybe it’s just me, but umm…tell me, ahh, how would you say you get compressed air into the, um, tank? Cause the only way I know is by USING A DAMNED GAS-POWERED AIR COMPRESSOR! Jesus, people, you’re all acting like you never learned the basic law of conservation of energy: energy cannot be created nor destroyed. Unless this thing produces energy, it’s just the same thing, only the gas-burning is being done at an earlier stage in the process. Come on! Just like electric or hybrid cars– tell me, how does one go about charging a battery-powered car? Hm? Anyone? How about: plug it into a damned outlet, powered by coal, the dirtiest form of energy there is! Seriously, how are people falling for this?! We need to stop driving, not figure out a way to make ourselves feel better about it. Redesign communities. Mass transit. Bicycles. Please.

  8. _Might_ be a good idea; Of course, the compressed air has to come from somewhere - like A compressor that uses fossil-fuel energy). An evaluation of the energy budget of the thing (for operation, not considering manufacture) is needed to say whether it is a good idea or bone-headed. The ‘340 liters of air’ is somewhat confused, as well (unless it is 340 L at STP, I guess).

    Most internal combustion engines are 20 - 35% efficient, so automobile performance must take that into account. Compressors can be 10 - 90% efficient (Call it 100%…)

    340 L of air would have to be compressed to something like 10 (150 psi) atmospheres to go 1 mile to equal a car that gets 30 mpg. (11.5 kcal enthalpy/mol Gasoline = approx. 12500 L-Atm/mol Gasoline; 12,500L-Atm per mol /340 L = 38 Atm beginning pressure. Adjusting for internal combustion engine efficiency [use 25%], make that 10 Atm).

    If the compressor used were gasoline-powered, the compressed-air engine would be a losing proposition, since the inefficiencies of both would be combined.

    Sure beats Hydrogen for safe storage… Perhaps compressed air would be a good storage approach - unfortunately, the compression would use energy and add inefficieny

  9. Henry, your comment looks interesting but way too technical for me. But it sounds like we need to look into how efficient the act of compressing the air is more or less efficient than a gas-powered engine. I totally agree with that. But, I think that this just adds another alternative to our current car systems and if it proves viable, we can begin investigating how to improve the efficiecy of air compression.

    Which brings me to Cory’s comment that the ‘ideal’ soulution is mass-transit and bicycles, etc. I agree with that but I am also REALISTIC and realize that you can’t just sit there and say that that is the ONLY solution. You have to realize we live in a world with millions of other people and that for many, working to save the environment is something they will only do if it helps them personally and immediately. I don’t think you can get many of them to bike to work or take mass transit. Given that, are you going to just give up and say that those are the two options and if people don’t take advantage tough luck? No. You go and find other options. And I think if air-powered cars that are cheaper to purchase, cheaper to run, and HOPEFULLY designed to be somewhat attractive, become a viable option, it’s at least a step in the right direction. Baby steps man….

  10. 1.I saw a program where they were using windmills to compress air so they could have consistent power, seems like a perfect match. It would be nice if I could buy one of these motors in the u.s.that I could play with.

  11. man, that car is ug. It’ll be a hit in india though. I mean, they drive rickshaws and stuff already. In the US we wont be seeing anything like this for many years… someone build a damn hydrogen powered car that’s more powerful than our current V6 gas powered cars. We need muscle in the US. It’s in our mental conditioning. Has anyone heard of the pre-ignition catalytic converter? Seems pretty sweet, because you don’t have to buy a new car… it vaporizes your fuel before ignition to make your car more efficient AND powerful with fewer emissions… Or the hydro-assist fuel cell, splits water into hydrogen and oxygen and then that goes into your existing fuel line, increasing both octane and combustibility. cool stuff, since both of these technologies can be used to modify your existing car to achieve fuel economies of over 100 miles to the gallon…

  12. Popular vote has it, it’s ugly. :/ But with time and before it ever comes to the states, I’m sure it will be revamped to be more stylish. Have you checked out the ZAP car? Now, that is a particular ‘unique’ car.


  13. MDI has developed an engine that will greatly throw us into the next advancements of technology i see here nice for future……….

  14. there was a program several months ago called Future Car which showed this car. the reason it looks like that is because it dosen’t have any “bells and whistles” it has to be simple and very light. they are currently trying to add an air compressor into the car which ironically runs on compressed air very efficiently. of course there are several bugs they have to work out before they can make it so your car constantly refuels itself while driving it. solar powered air compressors would also work great at fueling stations before the have the air powered air compressor working right. as for the design again, i do hope they make a cooler looking car too.

  15. I just landed on your site from StumbleUpon and will be sure to visit it again. Makes sense for innovation to come from ex-race car engineers.

  16. Having read through these comments, I think that most of the negative comments (other than those on the aesthetics of the design!)seem to be about the overall energy requirements. Of course you can’t get more energy from using the compressed air than you put into it by compressing it in the first place. But why assume that the compressor has to be petrol-driven or electric? Why not drive your compressor with wind or water power? If we’re going to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we have to consider the whole equation, not just the isolated expression within it.

  17. Actually the vehicle uses a tank of air, which releases air when the driver steps on the “gas” pedal, just like a regular vehicle. An additional onboard compressor could be run by the alternator, just like in a regular car, providing additional (but not infinite) range. Getting these cars up to N. American safety standards (and yes, improving the cosmetics) would allow pollution levels to plummet to new lows while at the same time saving industry and governments the kind of money they keep talking about needing in order to solve the kinds of problems presented by burning coal and gasoline. Meantime: know that generating large amounts of electricity (ie. enough to power entire cities/states) with coal, like Henry says, is 90% efficient, compared to the inefficiency of burning smaller amounts of gasoline on an individual (ie. per car) basis. These aircars are a win-win scenario for everybody.

  18. Wouldn’t the efficiency of the car reduce as the pressure in the tank dropped? Not sure how that would be overcome. Would there be safety issues due to the required storage pressure of the air…anyone ever seen video of an oxygen tank falling over and having the nozzle knocked off? Think torpedo. They’ll pass thru a cinderblock wall.

  19. These aren’t new by any stretch. We had a company in Joplin Missouri back in the 70’s that converted Pinto’s to air. The trouble was they only went about 20 blocks.

    This thing looks viable and I happen to like the design.

    And really it won’t take much fuel at all to run an air compreser. No where near as much as it would to propel the car.

    At that price I’d by one just to see how it worked.

  20. haha that car would be awsome if you lived in a small town. you could just cruise around anywhere and come home to re-fuel and keep on going.

  21. sounds like a bunch of compressed air to me AHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  22. about fueling the air compressor, they could use solar power or other stuff to compress it. and adam it is for real

  23. Henry is right on the money. People seem to easily forget that the energy has to come from somewhere. Right now electric cars, hybrids (takes energy to create the hydrogen), air cars, etc. simply move the problem to a power plant instead of under the hood of your car.

    Also, what happens when you want to pull a boat? A truck full of tools and equipment because you’re a contractor? These kind of vehicles won’t work.

    Also, who is our first volunteer to get rearended by a typical mid-size sedan while sitting in this air car?

  24. “about fueling the air compressor, they could use solar power or other stuff to compress it. ”

    Those technologies aren’t mature enough yet.

  25. The technology isn’t mature enough only if you are considering using solar or wind power to generate electricity, which will then be used to power a compressor.This is putting in an unnecessary step. A windmill or watermill can be used to power a compressor directly from the driveshaft, thereby reducing losses. This compressor would feed a reservoir tank, from which you could “fuel” your car at any time, thereby avoiding problems of intermittent wind, etc.

  26. Paul, you also asked “what happens when you want to pull a boat? A truck full of tools and equipment because you’re a contractor?” Obviously these vehicles won’t be suitable in these circumstances, but for personal use, small delivery vehicles and a thousand other uses, they would, thereby taking fossil fuel-powered vehicles off the road.

    Remember that this particular car is designed for Indian cities, where driving conditions are completely different to the USA. Using carbon fibre and aluminium construction, a vehicle could be both light and strong, but the main consideration here was to keep the price down as far as possible.

  27. “A windmill or watermill can be used to power a compressor directly from the driveshaft, thereby reducing losses. ”

    A windmill would create less energy than it takes the car to push it through the air, the amount of energy lost to the bearing, etc. First Law of Thermodynamics - the amount of energy lost in a steady state process cannot be greater than the amount of energy gained.

  28. Absolutely. If we were driving the windmill from the car’s motion, we would eventually grind to a halt. There is no perpetual motion machine! But we are talking about using the energy inherent in the wind, which is plentiful, so we can afford the losses in the system. Taken to a higher level, we are removing energy from the wind and storing it in the compressed air to use it in the car, but we won’t reduce the wind to any appreciable degree - which is why we talk about free energy.
    Incidentally, there are lots more innovations in this car - follow the link to MDI in the story to learn more.

  29. Sorry, Paul; I’ve just seen where the confusion slipped in. When I spoke about driving the compressor from the driveshaft, I meant the windmill’s driveshaft, not the car’s.

  30. “we are removing energy from the wind and storing it in the compressed air to use it in the car, but we won’t reduce the wind to any appreciable degree”

    I’m not talking about reducing the wind. I’m saying I think it will take more energy to push the windmill through the air than the windmill will produce. Wind generators are not very efficient. Plus there’s the issue of the added weight of the system.

    “When I spoke about driving the compressor from the driveshaft, I meant the windmill’s driveshaft, not the car’s.”

    I didn’t misunderstand you.

  31. Sounds great, but I’m suspicious. The wikipedia article makes it sound like a scam.

  32. everyone should have windmill to power the air compressor that will fill their air car…

  33. it seems that paul and other skeptics dont quite understand what is happening here. first of all, this is NOT a car to replace ALL other cars, the future will most likeley have cars different cars that run on different fuels. wind power plants produce a lot of energy, more than enough to compress ampil amount of air inside a car, this air is storred in the car inside three large tanks, that operate one at a time to move the car. second, windmills are not the only way to power a compressor, there is solor, geothermic, hydrogenic i think is the right word, and many others. true the tecnology is not quite at its optimum level but are you saying that we will never advance our tecknology past this point? of corse not. acorrding to this law, whose name escapes me, tecknology dubbles every two years. a 5 dollar singing card has more prossing power than all the allied forces of world war 2 combined. the future will have ideas that we havent thought of. the air car is one of the cleanist forms of transportation that there may ever be. i cant say that for sure but it seems likely. and if they manage to make it work, it will never need to be fulled becouse it has the potential to constantly refuel itsef. weather you believe me or not. it may very well happen.

  34. and i dont care if there are a lot of gramitacal errors in that parragraph

  35. Most air compressors I’ve used run on electricity instead of gas. I buy only wind power and would be using a 220 volt compressor for increased efficiency, so, yes, I’d be happy to try one of these. The specs say it has the range I need and the speed I need. Now to take on the US regressive-industry-led rulemakers about being allowed to have it…

  36. Hi guys

    at my university, we ‘re supposed to build a air propelled car(horizontal motion). what we have to do is simply mount wheels on a 2L cooldrink bottel and fill it up with air at a certain pressure, now that sounds easy enough but the problem comes in when we have to derrive equations for pressure(inside the bottle) against time velocity against pressure or time and to top up all the problems the drag force as function of velocity, pressure and time, it would be much easier if it was a vertical motion since the drag force involves gravity as well. I was hoping you could suggest to me a few equations of relationship between everything I mention above.

  37. Hopefully someone can help you out with this equation. I wouldn’t know where to start!

  38. This would be easy to charge with solar power.

    Take 10meters x 10meters of surface area and concentrate sunlight down onto 1 sq meter.

    Thats 100meters down to 1.

    put a big pot of water there and boil it.

    Make sure you have enough water to last for about 10 hours and a release valve to stop the system from exploding.

    Use the steam pressure to drive some pistons.

    Connect the pistons to a pendulum or flywheel so you can amplify and regulate the energy to provide compression at up to say 6000psi and maybe up to 20000 psi.

    Fill air tanks that you can use on demand.

    meanwhile you also have heating and cooling (from compression) for your air and water.

    and you also have kinetic motion so you can connect that to a power generator system like a 24V DC fixed magnet motor running in reverse.

    You should be able to collect about 50kwatts per day (10% efficiency), and if you need more power then add more reflectors.

    You have your choice of charging batteries, storing compressed air or running a zero friction flywheel in a vacuum.

    I would bet that storing compressed air is faster and a lot more cost effective than trying to store 50kwatts of power in batteries.

  39. oh and as for steam /solar technologies not being mature enough..

    the sterling engine is almost 200 years old.

    the pendulum dates back to about 200BC

    the steam engine dates back to about 100AD

    In 1866 engineer Auguste Mouchout successfully powered a steam engine with sunlight.

    The technology is ancient.. and the only thing stopping us from using it is our addiction to oil.

  40. After reading the postings I am under the impression that most of the negitive comments are comming from those that drive cars/suv’s that are getting around 15mpg. If you are happy with your oil guslers thats ok, but you should keep in mind that you are letting the oil company control what you pay for a pound of beans.

    Personally, I would like to see them all go broke. The technology is here and has been for years. It is what we decide to do with it that counts.
    I am willing to bet that if we spent as much time working toward going Green as we spend explaining why that won’t work, we would already be tell Big Oil to go to H###.

    If you are worried about pulling your Yat to the waters edge then you probably are not interested in going Green anyway. Your Grandchildren will be sure to thank you for your efforts. As they are choking on the poluted air.

    If the Air Car can make it past Big Oil then I will buy one. I don’t care what it looks like. I have many ways that I can recharge the air and none has to do with OIL.

    The wind and steam is the oldest and best idea I have seen so far. Now that is the way we should be thinking.
    Look at the ideas of the 1700’s some of those are just now being realized.
    It took 200 years to get the Helicopter off the ground, now look at it. It didn’t lift off with negitivity. It was inovative thinkers.

  41. I think this car rocks becouse it is so cool tha a car can run off air

  42. im going to get one of these cars becouse it runs off air nd thats the best thing about it. i mean we do need to save our world and this is a good way to start and im only 14 so in the future i will have one

  43. Having looked into this a bit, I think people here have missed a few items. The tanks are made of carbon fiber and rip, not explode. More than one engine can easily be added with these cars, so towing would be quite possible.

    The cost of filling a tank of air is far lower in money and energy usage than burning gasoline. This saves energy in the long run. Almost any power source could be used to compress air. I read that a car like this with a gasoline powered compressor could travel all the way across the US on the equivalent of one tank, and while this may be an exageration I think the savings would be dramatic.

    The engines run cool to cold due to expansion of air making it cooler. Air conditioning with these would be very cost effective. Keeping the engine warm in cold climates might be a challenge.

    Don’t count this car out, it has a lot going for it.

  44. When is this car comming to American Shores. If this article is true I will buy TWO

  45. I want one too. Please hurry

  46. I don’t like the earshot of all those lists he’s making - it’s like intriguing too innumerable notes at philosophy; you sensible of you’ve achieved something when you haven’t.

  47. [...] at Got2BeGreen I discovered a great article on The Air [...]

  48. [...] Re: “Spread the Green Message” Contest is Here! Oops sorry for the double post - the forum is doing some odd things - doesn’t show that the post is up until I leave the thread and come back. Here’s another blog post: The Air Car | Got2BeGreen [...]

  49. [...] of Formula 1, ex-Formula 1 engineer Guy Negre has supposedly designed a car which runs on compressed air. To get the car to work, Mr. Negre uses a piston-type engine to extract the stored energy within [...]

  50. [...] happy when the engineering offers us new opportunities to save our planet. Now, I present you the compressed-air car. [...]

  51. [...] Recent Comments tina oiticica harris on Nissan Pivo Electric Car Demonstrationsjsuarez on What’s GM Thinking?Jim on What’s GM Thinking?maureen on Tag - Time To Share The Link LovePaul on The Air Car [...]

  52. [...] car that runs off of compressed air is in the make by an Ex-Formula One engineer. interesting?   spread dump 8:28 pm by [...]

  53. [...] out this post on the Got2BeGreen website about a car that runs on compressed air. This sure intrigues me. I’ll be searching [...]

  54. [...] inventor has worked to create a device known as the Max Water which can easily extract water from air - by cooling that air down. Think of the water that condenses on a cold water bottle or drips from [...]

  55. rami ayach…

    Man i love reading your blog, interesting posts !…

  56. [...] The Air Car Is Coming to the U.S. By: Susan Suarez - Share This  Print This Post - Get Random Post [...]

  57. [...] A video on using compressed air to power the much talked about Air Car. [...]

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