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Thursday, 9 October 2008

MDI releases the concept car AirPOD

MDI, the company created by the French engineer Guy Nègre, has released today a new vehicle to be "powered by compressed air", the AirPOD, a name that tries to associate the car with one of our days icon, the iPod, from Apple. As well as the MP3 device, MDI's AirPOD is compact and has an original design. We just can't say it is exactly elegant or beautiful, especially considering it should be a car.

Besides the compressed air engine, the AirPOD has another unusual feature: a joystick instead of a steering wheel. All controls, as the ones in Venturi Volage, are "by wire", with no mechanical connection among components.

Considering it is a 2.07 m long, 1.60 m wide and 1.74 m tall covered car (it looks like a trike, but it has two hidden wheels in the front end) with room for four people (three adults and one child), it had to save space for its passengers. Direction is given by different speeds in each of the rear wheels, another similarity with Volage.

Very light (only 220 kg for the passenger version), it can have its 175 l air tank recharged in a mere 1.5 minute (at 350 bar!) and is able to run up to 220 km, with a top speed of 70 km/h for people with a driving license.

In France, there are vehicles that can be driven by children and people with no driving licenses in regular city traffic. For these people, AirPOD's top speed is limited to 45 km/h.

MDI declares AirPOD will be the first car to be series-produced, by the end of the first quarter of 2009. It will join three other vehicles: OneFlowAIR, a convertible, MiniFlowAIR, a small city car a little bigger than AirPOD and CityFlowAIR, a mid-sized vehicle able to carry six people. Prices are said to be incredibly low when compared to similar sized vehicles, especially if they are electric.

Source: MDI

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