Motor Development International SA (MDI) is a French company (incorporated in Luxembourg) designing compressed air car prototypes marketed under the title “the Air car”. The One CAT Air Car (later renamed One Flow AIR) was shown at the 2008 New York Car Show from March 21–30, 2008. It was displayed under the Exhibitor: “Automotive X-Prize” in location: Crystal Palace CP12.
Established by Guy Negre, the Luxembourg company MDI, with its administrative and production departments based in Carros in southeastern France, has developed an environmentally friendly car engine that uses compressed air to push the pistons of the engine and move the car. The Air Car has been in development for twenty years. The design, particularly the engine, has undergone several radical changes. In Regusci’s version, the engine is connected directly to the wheel, and delivers variable torque from zero to the maximum, enhancing efficiency. When the vehicle is stopped, Guy Negre’s engine must continue to run, losing energy, while the Regusci’s version need not. In 2001-2004 MDI switched to a design similar to that described in Regusci’s patents, which date back to 1990.
According to MDI, were some fabrication and distribution licenses signed with companies in various countries including France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, New Zealand, Israel and South Africa. Zero Pollution Motors would like to make MDI vehicles in the United States. MDI Andina S.A wanted to sell the car in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama. The last one was CATECAR S.A in Switzerland which was about to start the first assembly line in the Bernese Jura. But the project is on hold (as so many others before) due to legal problems with MDI. Catecar purchased rights to produce and market MDI vehicles in Swizerland but MDI failed to produce the required technology. Catecar has now abandoned compressed air and has built prototype EVs.
After five years of testing and validation of the concept, MDI-designed engines said to have been successfully integrated into Tata vehicles, and the air-powered “MiniCat” promised to be on sale in India before the end of 2012. This disputed in 2016 by MDI’s CEO, Cyril Nègre, who said, “We never said that there will any MiniCats in India. The deal we have is that Tata Motors has bought the exclusive licence of our Indian technology. But they’re going to produce their own car, not MDI cars their own cars using our engines
In February 2017 Dr. Tim Leverton, president and head at Advanced and Product Engineering at Tata revealed that it had completed the first phase of its project and the second stage started a few years earlier. Tata was at a point of “starting industrialisation” with the first vehicles to be available by 2020. Other reports indicate Tata is also looking at reviving plans for a compressed air version of the Tata Nano. That had previously been under consideration as part of their collaboration with MDI.
The AIRPod is a compressed-air vehicle in development by Motor Development International. The AirPod is a two-seater urban vehicle with a loading capacity of 500 liters. Its compact size allows it to sneak easily into the city center and its front opening provides easy access to its interior. The AIRPod planned to produced in three different configurations that will vary the number of seats and amount of cargo storage while keeping the same basic chassis. It designed as an zero-emission urban vehicle. Prototypes have tested by KLM/AirFrance for use as emission-free vehicles in airports. In September 2013 it laimed that the vehicle would be on sale from
summer 2014 with a base model with 100 km range starting at 7000 Euros, and one with an improved engine. That uses some fuel in addition to the compressed air, giving 250 km range for 8000 Euros. The vehicles will manufactured in Bolotana, Sardinia, Italy. In August 2014 MDI posted photos of a partially completed demonstration assembly line in their Carros R&D facility, and illustrations and descriptions of the proposed finished assembly line.
An essential vehicle, flexible at will. The Air One will be available in 3 or 5 seats with a loading capacity of 1000 liters. In enhanced version or urban family, this “Mehari” of modern times is washable with water jet both outside and inside. The MDI Air Car uses compressed air to push its engine’s pistons, can hit 68 mph. A range of 125 miles, and can be refuelled in a few minutes with custom air compressors.