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Comments on MiniC.A.T Urban Air Car
This remarkable car is on the verge of mass production in India; it runs entirely on air. (Read the complete story)

"I'm a little bit curious about the wireless network that runs on this car. Wireless is clever, because the complex 'harnesses' (bundles of electrical cables) that run through your car are expensive to manufacture. What I'm wondering is - what kind of firewall does the network use? I'd hate to think that the car next to me was hacking into my car..."
(Bill Christensen 3/20/2007 8:34:27 AM)
""at high pressure"? Compressed air is safer than compressed hydrogen (for fuel cell cars), but could still cause a lot of damage in an accident!"
(dug 3/20/2007 12:05:27 PM)
"I was thinking about that, too. The amount of energy stored in the pressurized air is sufficient to push the car at sixty miles per hour for about 150 miles. A gas-powered car would need about six gallons of gasoline. Of course, gas-powered cars convert about 75% of the energy in gas into waste heat, so if the MiniC.A.T is more efficient, there might only be the energy equivalent to 1-2 gallons of gas stored in the car."
(Bill Christensen 3/20/2007 1:07:35 PM)
"Hello. I've been visiting this site for a long time now, but this is my first post. This sounds like an idea that could really take off. The big oil companies can't last forever; alternative power sources like this will eventually be necessary. Any links yet with a Sci-Fi novel? Thanks for the great site!"
(Chelymorpha 3/20/2007 7:04:25 PM)
"Chelymorpha, I can't think of any. In sf, 'air car' refers invariably to a flying car (like the High Kavalaan Aircar) as opposed to a groundcar."
(Bill Christensen 3/20/2007 8:37:10 PM)
"You should also check out the Rotary Air Engine developed several years ago by Former Mercedes Benz experimental engineer Angelo di Pietro (he worked with the Wankel rotoary engine in the 1960's).

(Angelo di Pietro's Rotary Air Engine)

(Bill Christensen 3/20/2007 8:49:17 PM)
"My concerns on this echo dug's - How big a bang would you get from one or more tanks rupturing? If nothing else, this does get us closer to the action movie convention of blowing up cars by shooting their gas tanks."
(Joe 3/21/2007 5:44:35 AM)
"hello i want to know that what will the cost of car? Was this car test ridden? and what the result by using this carbon fibre tank, its cost will increase to great extent so can we use any other material or not.if we are using this carbon fibre tank what the advantage and how can we increase the efficiency of this car."
(yuvakiran 3/26/2007 12:21:10 AM)
"Mr. Pietro's rotary air engine seems to be the better choice. Light weight, compact and could be used as two-wheel or 4-wheel drive. No transmission,no drive shaft,no rear differencial. Carbon fibre tank would weigh 1/3 less and,I could be wrong, if you get a punture in the tank it would just vent off, no explosion. I think Mythbusters did an episode on this. The part in Jaws where they blow-up the shark by shooting the compressed air tank was BUSTED!"
(twotall610 4/7/2007 8:53:54 AM)
"I believe the compressed air tanks are made from carbon fiber that are designed to crack, not explode. Also, I understand this engine gets so cold that optimal operation might be limited to warmer climates."
(choda 4/29/2007 1:53:07 PM)
"The carbon fiber would not explode they can handle over 4000 PSI and it would only crack. I have been trying to get the company to contact me as I have many ideas for this engine. Does anyone know how I can get a hold of one"
( 5/15/2007 9:30:40 AM)
"Continued from the message I just left the Angelo di Pietro engine is the one I am trying to get"
( 5/15/2007 10:07:58 AM)
"I can't imagine this tech. ever happening in the USA, I'd sure like an air rotary car to drive to work."
(Dennis Talbott 5/19/2007 9:02:21 AM)
"I am amazed by this concept of a compressed air driven car. What about a regenerative braking system to pump air back into the tank? What about a hybrid system? Rotary air & fuel cell! Plug into an outlet when/ where you can to compress the air tanks (inexpensive), fill the H2 tanks only as necessary (more costly)."
(Russell Philips 5/20/2007 6:57:28 AM)
"Storing energy as compressed air is hideously inefficient. That's why people go to all the trouble to build batteries and generators to store energy as electricity. Their claims of a $2 fill-up and 150 mile range are bogus."
(I know better 5/21/2007 11:14:50 AM)
"This technology seems to be undergoing tests in a variety of locations; we'll soon find out whether or not the inexpensive fill-up claim is bogus or not."
(Bill Christensen 5/21/2007 12:43:30 PM)
"People (typically those with a poor grasp of thermodynamics) have been fiddling with compressed air as an energy storage medium for decades to no avail, so unless there is some Nobel prize worthy breakthrough in thermodynamics involved, this is nothing more than hot air. MiniC.A.T is a scam."
(I know better 5/21/2007 2:23:48 PM)
"Maybe someone who knows more can correct me - my last physics class was a long time ago.
The claim is that the MiniC.A.T can travel at least 125 miles with air tanks full (90 cubic meters of air compressed to 300 bars).
The pressurized air tanks are just a way to store energy; so, let's think in terms of energy equivalence.
Consider an average small car that gets about 31 miles to the gallon; that car needs four gallons of gas to go the 125 miles.
However, because internal combustion engines are so wasteful of energy, only about one-quarter of the energy in the gas is actually used to move the car forward. So, the MiniC.A.T. needs to store the equivalent of one gallon of gas worth of energy to travel 125 miles.
One gallon of gas contains about 120,000 BTUs of energy. That is equivalent to 35 kilowatt hours of power.
At present, 35 kilowatts of electricity costs about $3.50 in the continental US.
So, just in terms of the stored energy required to push the car, the MiniC.A.T. is at least close, isn't it?
Also, remember that the MiniC.A.T. is a very small, very lightweight car, which has very narrow "green" tires, all compared to a standard American small car. Obviously, the above argument skips lots of things, like the heat loss from the air-powered engine and drive-train (there must be some), and being able to get all of the energy out of the air tank.
Also, see the note on compressed air storage below."
(Bill Christensen 5/21/2007 8:08:11 PM)
"Contrary to what "I know better" states, there have been successful projects to use compressed air chambers as a way to store energy.
Consider the Alabama Electric Cooperative Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) plant in operation for more than five years in McIntosh, Alabama.
"The Alabama Electric Cooperative CAES plant works like this: On nights and weekends air is pumped underground and compressed using low-cost electricity at pressures up to 1,078 pounds per square inch. Average air pressure level at sea level is only 14.7 pounds per square inch. During the day at peak times, air is released and heated using a small amount of natural gas. The heated air flows through a turbine generator to produce electricity."
American Institute for Physics.
See also this article on CAES
And this US Dept. of Energy article
Compressed air energy storage.
"I know better's" concerns probably have to do with the comparing compression and expansion of an ideal gas compared with using a real world system with real air. I note that the air car manufacturer seems to say nothing about trying to run the car in (let's say) Northern Michigan when it's ten degrees F below zero all day..."
(Bill Christensen 5/21/2007 8:35:11 PM)
"It has nothing to do with non-ideal gasses, it's the difference between an isothermal and adiabatic system. The compressed air is an energy storage medium like a battery, not an energy producer (or converter if you like) like an ic engine. You have to compress the air to get it into the cylinder. The process of compressing and expanding air is very inefficient because the energy that goes into compressing the air is converted into HEAT. The heat dissipates as the air sits in the tank. When the air is released from the tank it draws heat out of the environment as it expands. The efficiency of the system depends upon the amount of heat that can be absorbed before the air leaves the motor. Consider this: all the energy that is consumed to drive the car has to be sucked out of the ambient air flowing around the engine compartment. The bottom line is that batteries are a much more efficient way to energy."
(I know better 5/22/2007 1:37:20 AM)
"Take look at this page on the MDI air car site - it appears to address some of the issues you've raised:
Air car thermodynamics
See also
Air car tank technology
Air car engine technology
Anyway, as I've said, I'm not an engineer, so I can't settle any questions about it - I appreciate your comments, IKB."
(Bill Christensen 5/22/2007 6:35:43 AM)
"As I understand it, the largest concern with this technology is the degree of warming available by the ambient air temperature. For example, this engine would not work well (or at all) in Erie, PA in winter. However, those cars would use the small IC engine to provide heat. This is a similar arrangement for the gas electric hybrids where a small and finely tuned IC engine runs at a constant (and presumably, most efficient) rpm while the batteries actually supply the power. In either case, the result is far more efficient than having the IC engine run through various power curves to accelerate the car itself."
(Matt Graham 5/24/2007 5:20:38 AM)
"There are many things one can do to conserve power (or if you perfer make your dollar go further)..
We must begin to re-look at the ways we use the various energy's at our disposal..
One need not be super smart to understand at some point oil based energy will not last forever and using oil the way we do currantly causes great harm to our society and earth in general..
yet it seems so much of our life involves countless ways of using oil in highly poor and inefficient ways (that costs us a lot to buy to begin with let alone how much of the oil is lost because we perhaps get as good as 25% efficiency..
To this end we need look at and develop alternate ways of producing the energy we use in a society that requires far more power then we did a simple and short ten years ago
It seems to me that this can be a viable way of running our cars (especially in urban areas)
The downside to this type of air driven car is how light weight it is currently made and as such will not be able to be utilised for anything other then passenger cars used for around town and or commutes..
However increased experiments are needed with this technology.. not only does it offer us the posible gains to be used in cars and trucks bit also to develop the electricity we use from the huge power companies I believe such air engine needs to be developed further and used with other technologies such as hydrogen perhaps we can utilise the air engine to be its own electric generator (even though it would not creat a huge amount of power electriclly on its own,but combined with another process discovered but then amazenly surpressed....that being one can take say one horsepower input and output it to 20 to 30 HP continuously for those who do not know of it,this process was demestrated on the tonight show when jonny carson was still with us (was a episode in either his last yr or next to last yr he was doing the show) most of the technologies used currantly have been with us many years and serve to work because everyone knows it works and they have come to accept that this is what is and what will be and so..the public ridicules thise who try to talk of better ways to do something just because it involves too muc thinking outside the box electic-battery cars have been a doable thing for more then a few yrs and within the last couple of yrs quite doable and now with the newer type of batteries and capasiters we have avalable it is extremly doable but still quite costly what america and the entire world needs is a convergence of these technologies take this air engine take electic battery type power take the method showed and proved on te carson show take and use regenitive breaking take and utilise regenitive braking take hydrogen power and for home use above technologies while adding usage of solar,wind,hydro and geothermic power it is posible (for a fact not just in therory) to reduce the use of poor effecency oil to reduce each consumers spending while offering us even more power such as we need in our growing power needs and greatly reduce all those harmful pollutants to the air and rest of the earth."
(Mr Bob 5/27/2007 7:21:16 AM)
"Disclaimer: I am a psychologist, not a mechanical engineer. On the other hand, nobody else here seems to know squat about mechanical engineering either. _Some_ of the work done to compress a gas is lost as heat, most is stored in the forces acting between molecules of the gas. This is the energy that is recovered when the gas is expanded. From what I have read, the efficiency of energy storage is fairly comparable for compressed air, batteries, flywheels, and for that matter rubber bands. The engineering choices come down to storage density (Mj/kg and Mj/m^3), reliability, lifetime, safety, manufacturability, etc. and cost, cost, cost. BTW, I've lived in Minnesota, and the cars there ride on pneumatic tires - even in winter. Think about it."
(Ken Schulz 6/1/2007 11:21:21 AM)
"I think anyone who uses the name 'I know better'. Starts out from an arrogant preconcieved perspective. The idea that something as far developed as this is a 'scam' is ludicrous. Any investor with half a brain would insist on a test drive."
(David Darry 7/7/2007 3:41:02 PM)
"I think that, we, the americans, think we know it all and we are the smartest country in the world and theres no brain out there who an beat this country. First, so far the biggest inventor on car technology are non americans, second, none of you have drive this car for you to give a final comment about how this or how that, because is already happening. I never finish high school, but im smart guy, smart enought to know that there's a french guy who invented a the MDI car and the air powered motor and the americans have not develope similar a engine similar to his, or like mr Di Pietro motor, and italian guy, thats why none of you, who think are smart, can understand that people like them are smart and clever to invent technology like this. We have many people who have created an engine that runs on water, and you know whats the answer, either they sold out their technology to the big oil company, even in colombia, panama and other 3rd world countries, humble people with a college degree have invent a water base engine. All of you who are think this is a scam or a lie, wake up because is here is real and you will see in the future to come"
(hector, NC 11/14/2007 10:47:09 PM)
"Sorry for my grammar I'm not fluent in english "
(hector, NC 11/14/2007 11:15:42 PM)
"What they are not mentioning is the fact that the cylinders are at 3000 psi. Has anyone ever seen a 3000 psi compressor station that has a decent scfm rate? Remember the HP rating? I didn't think so. Remember this will be related to the cost and time to refill. Compressing air is very expensive. Maybe not at 80 psi which most people think of under their porch or at the service station. This is why at of end of 2007 they STILL haven't caught on. "
(DCL - Mech Eng. 12/8/2007 4:33:00 PM)
"no matter what it be!!! if the oil are out of world . the air engine or any source will be come .or you need to ride the pig again!!!!"
(willy 12/18/2007 7:35:17 AM)
"I wonder what the guy who invented the wheel had to put up with from his neighbors and wife. You can be a "naysayer" all you want, but truth be told, there are a heck of a lot more complicated technologies that have been invented and applied in my 59 years of life. For example, the computer (I remember punch cards), atomic energy(I remember hiding under the desk) , wind generation (not the kind you get from eating beans), nano technology ( not the kind experienced in cold swimming pools) ect ect. So don't "poop" on someone else parade because you or I don't have the smarts to do it ourselves. I suggest, we all sit back and appreciate and enjoy a sunset for its beauty and just accept it. It really isn't that important how it works, but that it works. PS I rather ride my bicycle. More important than that, A bicycle seat for males that does not cause harm to the family jewels would be a blessing and to me one of the greatest achievements in my lifetime. (next year I'm getting a recumbent, I hope) I wonder if the Di Pietro engine could be adapted to run a bike. I hope so. Does anyone know anything about the solar bike? Thanks, "
(an optimist 12/26/2007 10:31:09 PM)
"I think the air car will arrive in the us about 5 years from now. Now that really an optimist."
(an optimist 12/26/2007 11:08:28 PM)
"well based on the cost of compressed air, it seems that it will 4 times cheaper than gasoline for generating the same power. (i.e. as if the fuel cost is $0.9 per Gallons) I used following site's formula for calculation. And assuming you drive the car with 200hp."
(Nitin 1/11/2008 4:38:49 PM)
"Let's not forget that Angelo Di Pietro DID in fact work for Mercedes Benz 1969-70 on the Wankel Rotary Engine. One could then suppose he has a clue at what he's doing now. Why not contact his company for more information and specs, rather than just try to act smart by saying it can't be done?"
( 2/11/2008 8:27:40 AM)
"I'm very curious about the horsepower and how long can you pull with this car? I saw you pulling a car with type of engine,but my question is how long of a distance and how long in miles? Would this be available in a motorcycle also?????"
(Sharon 2/12/2008 2/12/2008 4:32:41 PM)
"I am ready to believe in this technology. Think of all a person born in say, 1960 didn't have. A baked potato took an hour to bake in the oven; phones were rotary; computers took up entire rooms. Today is the day to look forward to what we don't have now and a car that can run on compressed air is a great one to look forward to. Cheers to you inventors who never give up, never listen to the nay sayers and keep the dream alive to make our world a better place than how you found it. "
(Janine 3/6/2008 8:34:38 PM)
"These cars are real and they are going to come. I created fan websites for the air car at I wish I has the $$ to buy a factory license, but I'll be happy to see these cars on the road and not have to breath all the traffic fumes every morning at the bus stop."
(Paul 3/8/2008 6:16:51 PM)
"has anyone gotten specs on Di Pietro's motor yet? Consumption? HP/Torque at what CFM/PSI"
(psmithrt 3/14/2008 12:03:07 PM)
"air driven pistons give plenty of loss rings and seals but a simple turbine engine gives far more economic use of the air as for the drive direct with a simple foot speed control rids the need for a gear box as turbine engines driving a clutched fly wheel would be flexible enough for all drive concerns.passing the air through a heated matrix would cure the colder climate problems but would add to cost a battery to heat the matrix.there are lots of answers to every question here lets hope this idea comes soon I for one have had enough of suing fosil fuels lets all help to breath clean air 07 apr 08 "
(wightraven 4/7/2008 11:43:39 AM)
"Take a look at this more recent article - MDI OneCat AirCar Breezes Toward Consumers. The fact that the Tatas are determined to sell air cars should convince skeptics about the technology."
(Bill Christensen 4/7/2008 5:37:18 PM)
"My question is: Will it ever happen? It seems to me that the oil companies have a vested interest in preventing anything like this from ever happening. And oil companies have a lot of clout, otherwise governments like the US etc would be throwing their weight behind developing this technology. But they stand to lose a lot of revenue and get some very important and influential people offside. The question is not: Does this technology work efficiently and safely? We can leave that up to the Indians to mass produce the cars and figure that out for us. The real question is: Even if it does work, will it ever be available?"
(Tony L 4/8/2008 9:15:37 PM)
"This is a very simple idea 4351 psi in tank's 1-7 psi used to power cylander's /used to move car no/low emissions cheap to run. Don't forget they will have to meet canadian safty standards if the tanks are not safe they will have to enclose them. or restructure the chassie the take a good hit."
( 4/9/2008 8:13:58 PM)
"Yes I think that the car will make it to the US market. Production of plants are underway and the first cars are expected in late 2009 early 2010. However the US version dos not entirely kick off gas. Instead gas is used to heat the air thus increasing the range by an expected 10X. Besides, A very large portion of gas is used in other places such as Semi's . As great as this Engine is it can not yet produce the type of pulling power that would be needed in heavy equipment. "
(Khris 4/23/2008 12:31:43 PM)
"Little bit out of scope - has anyone have some news about use of supercapacitors in electric cars - this could be a very good replacement of battery. It can be recharged in seconds thousands of times, its light, cheap to produce etc. Why it does not find application in electric/hybrid engines ?"
(Marek 5/29/2008 1:10:22 AM)
"I think the main point of this car is missed by most people. The car uses no gasoline just compressed air. It also doesn't pollute our planet. Yes this car might not be for everyone, but it could be great for a lot of people. Yes you may still need a regular car or truck in the northern US in the winter, but in the warmer months this car would be ideal for travel around town and commuting. The lack of "gas" stations to fill up is not alarming because of the on board air compressor. Even if this car does not live up to all of it's stats the next generation of cars will. So you have to ask your self will this technology really help us or hurt us? I believe it will help all of us."
(Tim 6/4/2008 6:10:51 AM)
"It all sounds good, but you would think one of those air cars, even a test model would have been built.. i keep looking for an air car test, but best that i can find is one that got 4 miles on a tank of air.. at 12 mph.. what i have been reading is mostly talk.. which is cheap. i could do better on a bicycle.. "
(Carl Pinkston 7/9/2008 10:06:59 PM)
"Hi Marek, as you seem to know, capacitors charge quickly (minutes) and are cleaner than batteries and last longer than anything they would power. (Hey kids, tear apart that disposable camera and find the capacitor that powers the flash, charge it on an AA or 9volt and then touch metal with it, dead grasshoppers are kewl too). Anyway, see and for what ultracaps can do. Personally I am into Angelo's motor, but ultra-capacitors might be a clean and efficient way to capture regenerative braking energy, and energy from a car rooftop solar panel. The caps could power car electronics, heat the air going into the motor, separate water into small amounts of hydrogen for on-demand use, hey let's think outside of the tank! I'm just a creative person, not an engineer; it's Angelo that has got the best idea going, and we who need to support him. See , and ask him if you can visit him. You will need to sign nondisclosure papers of course. Flights to Melbourne are $1100-1800US. He is a generous man, and wonít charge you anything to visit. Go and encourage him, and get started on your own personal journey. (Please donít ask me how I know all this)."
(Moose 8/29/2008 10:46:58 AM)
"Go for it. I want one."
(Bruce Ficken 2/22/2009 2:33:45 PM)
"Still waiting. MDI has delayed intro of the MiniCat and CityCat and has made the grand announcement of the AirPod. A much smaller car. They keep announcing production "next year", just as they have almost every year since 2000. Maybe one of these years they will actually deliver a car. I'm not holding my breath though."
(Charlie 4/9/2009 5:48:09 PM)
"I love this, and i think its going to catch on . .does anybody know how to invest in this??? i would love to find a stock or something thanks"
( 2/4/2010 2:09:11 AM)
"Do not invest in this SCAM !"
(Tom 2/12/2010 4:09:05 AM)
"Other power companies put out power curves for their motors, where is the curve for this motor? Gotta see it to take this system seriously."
(Jim Ritter 3/20/2010 7:37:44 PM)
"Still going as far as I can tell, unless they've disappeared in the last six weeks. A working model was featured on UK's TV show The Gadget Show, including a visit to the factory, in the summer. Website seems active, last updated mid December. Smart Car Care "
(SmartBrains 6/30/2010 11:24:03 PM)
"Here is another -newer- video and discussion on the Di Pietro air motor:"
( 7/1/2010 9:52:24 AM)
"When it sounds too good to be true, it's a fraud. Here it is Dec, 2010 4 years later and $3.00 Gal. gas in USA, $7.00 in Europe, and we see nothing. Entire blog and all videos and articles are fraud. Notice you never saw a video of the engine actually working. Tata story is also fake. Anybody can call Tata on the phone and ask them. This would have been on the market in 2007. Stories about big oil etc.. totally made up. 1st story (seemingly true) on an air car engine was from an AMERICAN in 1967 car was a Plymouth and documented in Consumers reports 1967. and that never materialized? Sorry guys,but it's pipe dreams."
(ComputerProgrammer 12/6/2010 6:31:19 PM)
"GEARTURBINE PROJECT Atypical InFlow Thermodynamic Technology Submission Innovative New ROTARY Turbine Fueled Engine Type *The Gearturbine comes from the contemporary ecological essential global needs of a efficient power plant fueled motor engine. -Power thrust by bar (tube); air, sea, land, power generation, work application. -Have the same simple basic system of the "Aelopilie" Heronīs Steam Turbine device from Alexandria, (10-70 AD) one thousand nine hundred years ago. Because; the circular dynamic motion, with 2/Two Opposites power (polar position) lever, and is feeds from his axis center. YouTube Video/10.30 min.; Atypical New * GEARTURBINE / Retrodynamic = DextroRPM VS LevoInFlow + Ying Yang Thrust Way Type - Non Waste Looses *8-X/Y Thermodynamic CYCLE - Way Steps: 1)1-Compression / bigger 2)2-Turbo 1 cold 3)2-Turbo 2 cold 4)2-Combustion - circular motion flames / opposites 5)2-Thrust - single turbo & planetary gears / ying yang 6)2-Turbo 2 hot 7)2-Turbo1 hot 8)1-Turbine / bigger Gearturbine; atypical fueled turbine engine, state of the art. New thermodynamic technology. Turbo-Rotary / Top system. -With Retrodynamic dextrogiro vs levogiro phenomenon effect. / Rotor-RPM VS InFlow / front to front "Collision-interaction Type" - inflow vs blades surface/(gear). Technical unique dynamic motion mode. -Form-function (flat) wide cilindrical shape / continue kinetic inertia, positive tendence dynamic mass motion. The rotary motor weight is going with the the circular motion power thrust. -Non-waste parasitic looses system for: cooling, lubrication & combustion. -Combustion 2Two (Inside dynamic) continue circular flames (like 2two opposite rockets, (at the same axis)). -2 Two (very) long captive compression inflow propulsion conduits. start at were ends, in perfect shape balance. -4 Turbos (rotary & translation motion) inside active. -Mechanical direct 2two planetary gears thurst, inside in a bigger shell, total lever, polar position. (Big torque) (like the Ying Yang simbol concept). -3 stages of inflow turbo compression before combustion; 1)1-Turbine, 2)2-Turbos 3)2-Turbos. *The most innovative power plant motor engine project today. Higher efficient % percentage. Next trend wave toward global technological coming change. Patent; Dic 1991 IMPI Mexico #197187 - Carlos Barrera. - Individual Designer - Inventor and project owner. / All Rights Reserved. - Monterrey, NL, Mexico. "
(Carlos Barrera 5/24/2011 5:53:44 PM)
"Around the globe could possibly someone, yet somehow to woman could possibly the entire world. nike schuhe"
(nike schuhe 1/13/2013 10:11:28 AM)

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