|The new MDI economy/utility car at the New York show.|
MDI (Moteur Developpment International) Group, the French developer of compressed air vehicles, and Zero Pollution Motors (ZPM), MDI’s North American representative, is showcasing MDI’s newest compressed air vehicle—an economy/utility car—at this year’s New York International Auto Show (NYIAS). The vehicle made its debut at the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE (AXP) (earlier post) booth at the show. ZPM and MDI have entered a team to compete for the Progressive Automotive X PRIZE.
The new MDI economy/utility car is powered by the Compressed Air Engine (CAE) invented by Guy Negre, CEO and founder of MDI, and is one in a series of vehicles to be developed by MDI for production in various markets throughout the world. In 2007, MDI signed an agreement with Tata Motors for the application of CAE technology in India. (Earlier post.)
ZPM plans to introduce a 6-seat, 4-door family-size version of the compressed air vehicle to the US market in 2010. The ZPM model will achieve more than 100 MPGe and more than 90 mph, have zero to low C02 emissions and cost around $18,000.
MDI and ZPM will enter two vehicles in the Progressive Automotive X Prize competition: the US production 6-seat, 4-door family-size model will compete in the Mainstream Class; and the 2-door, 3-seat economy/utility model on display at NYIAS will compete in the Alternative Class. The economy/utility model will be produced by MDI for sale in France and elsewhere in 2009 at a price of beginning at around $5,000-$6,000 for the basic model.
The core of MDI’s work is a piston engine powered by the expansion of electronically injected compressed air. MDI has developed two versions: a single fuel engine that relies solely upon compressed air, designed for urban areas only; and a dual-fuel version that uses compressed air and a combustible fuel (petroleum-based or biofuel). When running under 35 mph, the engine runs solely on compressed air. At speeds greater than 35mph, the engine uses small amounts of fuel to heat air inside a heating chamber called the Compressed Air Multiplier (CAM) as it enters the engine.
The MDI Engines consist of an active chamber and are made up of modules of two opposing cylinders. A proprietary connection rod allows the retention of the piston at top dead center during 70° of crankshaft rotation—providing enough time to establish the required pressure in the cylinder. These modules can be coupled to make groups of 4 or 6 cylinders for a range of uses from 4 to 75 hp.
The 6-passenger car targeted for the US—formerly known as the CityCat—will use a six-cylinder version of the Compressed Air Engine that is Compressed Air Multiplier (CAM) enabled and will deliver an estimated 75 hp (56 kW). MDI projects that the vehicle will have a top speed of 96 mph, and offer fuel consumption of 106 mpg US (2.2L/100km) when driving at speeds above 35 mph. This will result in greenhouse gas emissions of approximately 40 gCO2/km. With an 8 gallon fuel tank, the car will have a range of 848 miles, according to MDI.
A tank holds 3,200 ft3 of compressed air at 4,500 psi (310 bar). An on-board plug-in compressor generates 812 ft3 per hour.