Design Concept of the Day: MDI AirPod

May 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

Tata Motors has completed the second phase of its work on compressed-air cars using technology licensed from Motor Development International (MDI) of Luxembourg. The project has involved building specific vehicles and stationary applications, including two demonstrator vehicles, and the plan is to sell cars with the technology in India. Full statement from Tata here, more on the tech (including video) at the MDI website.

MDI appears to be closer to the launch of its first product, the AirPod (pictured), which has developed into a four-wheeler with 430cc, 2-cylinder engine. This is despite an undignified falling-out with Catecar, which was to build AirPods under licence in Switzerland (more details on that, plus extensive picture gallery and update on the AirPod programme, on this page). Fascinating stuff, for all sorts of reasons, but the involvement/investment from Tata does make this project look like much more of a go-er than it once seemed…

  • Further to the news of the MUTE project (see below), BMW Forschung und Technik is also teaming up with TUM (Technical University Munich) on a research project studying next-gen networked vehicle technology. This will be the next phase of an ongoing programme looking at car-to-X wireless, developing suitable communications architecture. More at Green Car Congress.
  • More news from the recent SAE Congress: BorgWarner has developed a system called Valve-Event Modulated Boost (VEMB), for use in already-downsized and turbocharged engines. This separates the exhaust phase into an early ‘blow-down’ towards the turbo and a later ‘scavenge’ phase towards the exhaust gas recirculation system, and is said to offer fuel efficiency improvements of up to 17%. More at Green Car Congress.
  • A train story: Ricardo is teaming up with Bombardier Transportation and Artemis Intelligent Power to implement its Kinergy flywheel energy storage tech in diesel commuter locomotives. Along with regenerative braking, this can be retro-fitted to existing trains, and there’s potential for fuel savings of 10-20%. Press release here.
  • On yer bike: Audi is to launch its ‘Wörthersee’ e-bike at an event at the conveniently-named Wörthersee lake in Carinthia, Austria, this weekend. This lightweight pedelec with 2.3kW motor is made from carbonfibre-reinforced polymers, and has operational modes selectable by touch-screen – ‘pure’ (pedal power only), ‘pedelec’ (leg-power supplemented by the motor), ‘eGrip’ (e-power only, giving up to 31mph), plus ‘power wheelie’ and ‘balanced wheelie’ for the stunt artists and ‘training’ for the MAMILs. No word yet on price; nice gallery of pics at Inhabitat. Oh, and smart has confirmed the launch of its escooter for 2014.
  • And whilst we’re not on the subject of cars, a company from Portland, Oregon called Volta Volare has developed a concept for a range-extended electric plane. 300 miles in all-electric mode, 700 miles-worth of range in all, apparently. More at Inhabitat.

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