Friday, December 12, 2008

MDI Releases the AIRPod!

A new compressed air vehicle has been welcomed into the MDI family. On October 9, 2008 MDI unveiled its answer to the need for clean air and urban mobility - the AIRPod. With its low price, zero pollution, high range and playful and futuristic design, the AIRPod marks a turning point in the nexus of automobile and urban transportation. And it will cost less than a Euro per 200 km to operate and will leave no one stuck in traffic jams.

The vehicle will be proposed for the city of Paris’ AutoLib contract and other municipalities and private concerns - airports in particular - are interested.

Besides the compressed air engine, the AIRPod has another unusual feature: a joystick instead of a steering wheel. All controls are “by wire”, with no mechanical connection among components.

It is surprisingly roomy. While it is only 2.07 m long, 1.60 m wide and 1.74 m tall, it has room for four people (three adults and one child). Direction is provided by different speeds in each of the rear wheels. 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.

AIRPod is the result of MDI studies on pollution and urban mobility. It will be the first vehicle to come off MDI production lines in spring 2009. The AIRPod is part of the manufacturing license of MDI vehicles of less than 500kg, and will be built in the same factories as OneFlowAir, following the original production concept proposed by MDI.

It offers up to four seats (3 adults and one child) and has space for luggage. This version has a loading volume of more than one cubic meter to facilitate deliveries in town. Perfect for errands and messaging, as well as community and institutional use. Two front seats and a trunk of more than 500 liters, all for less than 1.80m long. This model was crafted for the most congested traffic. It is a versatile utility that can be used for supplies, municipal services, roads and small logistics.

See more information at


gnomædh said...

Hey Boom, you might want to share this link:
This is by far the best website for MDI tech that I have found. It also outlines the most important reasons for promoting this type of technology shift... something to do with "Peak OIL"... good stuff :)
ALSO, you will recognize this website:
(the author would prefer if we use this link instead of the other one... simpler to remember and easier to use. Thanks)
Drop me a note sometime!

Boom San Agustin said...

@gnomaedh: Hey thanks for the links. Yes. I do recognize it. I'll make the changes now and add the new link. Thanks again bro!

I'll drop by your site soon!

didier said...

Hello Boom,
Congratulations on your site, and thank you for putting a link to mine. I have done the same!
The year 2009 will be VERY INTERESTING indeed... Will MDI be able to live up to the expectations? What with their participation at the Genève Car Show (March) and New York X Prize contest (September), the testing of the AIRpods by Airfrance and KLM (6 months starting spring), and the challenges of supplying major French cities, 2009 will be ze year of ze truth!
Keep up the good work; I'll come and visit this blog regularly.

Boom San Agustin said...

Thank you Didier! But I am thinking of taking a more proactive stance than just waiting for MDI to release the Air Car. My country needs this badly! I am not only advocating the Air Car but all the other uses of the CAE.

My country needs generators run by CAEs to produce electricity. I believe that this is a lot easier to do than an Air Car. I hope that MDI can allow us to use some of their earlier and simpler designs to create CAE Generators.

Chris said...

Greetings from New Zealand. Yes I agree with Didier 2009 has so much promise, add to the list power generation which will follow the first batch of Air Engines to be produced in Melbourne, Australia, hopefully in next few months.
More details or

Anonymous said...

Before investing in MDI I have been trying to find out what happened to some of their past projects.

Even a past director of MDI was unable to tell me the reason for the repeated failures. Perhaps someone can educate me.

In partcular, I noted that MDI announced the e.Voluton car in Oct 2000, with production start in 2001 in France and 2002 in South Africa. Specifications were very similar to the OneCat. 70MPH, 120 mile range. Zero Pollution Motors was to have them in salerooms in 2002, but it didn't happen and nobody seems to know what happened to the project (other than a bunch of You Tube videos).

Anybody know??

Anonymous said...

Similarly, MDI made announcements about staring City Cat production in 2004/2005. Roughly the same specifications. To go on sale in 2004 in some articles, "mid-2005" in other articles.

The project also just vanished. Why?????

Anonymous said...

"Eolo car" was yet another prject by MDI. Prototypes shown in 2001. Production was supposed to start in Italy in 2003 (or 2002 or 2004, depending upon the article or blog post).

I could find info about a factory being built, and about workers being hired, and workers being put on the government payroll after the project failed. But I could never find out why the project failed.

Does anybody know?

Anonymous said...

In February 2007 there was a lot of publicity about an agreement with Tata Motors. But then last summer Tata Motors was saying that the MDI technology wasn't ready and not to expect production in the near future.

I have seen a Popular Mechanics article that said "6,000 cars to be produced by summer 2008", but now that article title says "Summer 2009" even though the article text says 2008. Many other articles say 2009 production by Tata. But the Tata says nothing other than "technology is not ready".

Does anybody know if Tata intends to ever produce an air car?

Boom San Agustin said...

@Anonymous: All very good questions; and all deserving of answers. I am well aware of the "stopped" projects of MDI, but I can only offer you speculations for events that happened outside the Philippines.

However, my own experience tells a very daunting tale of greed! I tried, in 2004, to get some investors in my country to deal with MDI for the distribution of the Air Car here. The investors were very excited at first; but later, we had to stop. There were threats given to one of my investors to discontinue the venture and he feared for his life and his family's life. I don't know who did it; but I'm sure someone stood to lose a lot from this technology.

Anonymous said...

Your blog says ". It will be the first vehicle to come off MDI production lines in spring 2009."

It is now December 2009. Is the AirPod in production yet?

Boom San Agustin said...

Hi Anonymous,

Good question! Sadly, full production has again been delayed to the first trimester of 2010. However, the AirPod has still slowly gained ground.

Late this year, AirPods have been officially been sold to KLM. MDI is currently accepting small orders for other airports as well.

You can read what my fellow "Airhead", Chris, wrote about the AirPod in his blog, here...

I hope that I was able to answer your question. :)

Charlie said...

It has been almost a year.

What is the latest on Airpod production ??

Can I buy one yet?