MDI Air Car – The Solution to Pollution!

200px MDI OneFlow


MDI (Motor Development International) has been producing “air” engines since 1996. These engines are powered by compressed air which is stored at high pressure. This technology isn’t exactly new, there have been prototype cars attempting to utilize this technology since the 1920’s but have never been successful. MDI has been able to make this technological dream a reality.

MDI has manufactured the CityCAT 1. This compressed air engine vehicle uses less that two liters per hundred kilometers and gives off zero pollution. The air is stored in a carbon-fiber tank which reduces the weight but maintains the necessary strength. The CityCAT 1 weighs only 800 pounds and is a four passenger vehicle with trunk space. It is the vehicle of the future. It has the capability of being refueled at home with a simple air compressor. Also the maintenance on these vehicles are decreased due to the lack of major operating parts such as transmissions.

MDI has signed a patent agreement with India to produce and distribute the newly refurbished CityCat 1 now called the One Flow, in the next five years. The estimated cost of running this vehicle is approximately $1.50 per tank that will allow for a travel range of up to 120 miles. This car is definitely one of the vehicles of the future. Electric cars are being produced and experimented with also but cost twice as much and take much more time to recharge rather than a simple refuel of air. The cost of an air compressed vehicle at 5k to 10k is much less than the electrical counterpart at 15k to 25k.

After MDI’s OneFlow hits the Indian streets all the pros and cons will become obvious and if this is truly the answer to cheaper fuel and less pollution it will be worldwide in no time. A U.S. company called Zero Pollution Motors have signed an agreement with MDI to produce the “Air Car” using the MDI technology if their experience in India is favorable. This is by far the largest stride in solving our vehicle emissions pollution problem.


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  1. Contrary to your blog post, MDI has NEVER EVER delivered any vehicles. They have a couple of prototypes that only managed to run 7.22km/4.5 miles before running out of air.

    What they do have is a very good PR machine and are good and getting investors to buy licenses and franchises for the car that will go into production “next year or the one after”. That has been the mass production target date since 2000. Every year MDI announces that production will be next year, but they never start production. Meanwhile, the good press coverage gets a few more investors to send in money.

    • Thank you for your opinion, I attempt to report all new technology in the most positive light even though a lot of it doesn’t live up to its hype. If you would like to share any websites regarding this product please feel free.

  2. The wayback machine archived page from MDI’s website showing how they turn 7.22km into 150+:

    NY Times NOv 24, 2000 article about the “end of year” production of in France by MDI of a car with top speed of 60mph and a range of 120 miles. (Of course, it never went into t production).

    “The CATS air cars are at the final approval stage and advance orders are being taken with a release date towards the end of 2004/early 2005.”:

    This is just a sampling of why one should be very sceptical of MDI.

    The basic problem with compressed air cars is that the energy storage density of air is very low — even less than that of standard lead acid batteries. In practical terms, this means that it is difficult to achieve a reasonable operating range.

    Compressed air will indeed power vehicles and HK Porter sold quite a few compressed air locomotives for use in mines, where they have the advantage of not having any flames or sparks that might set off explosions. But those applications allow very large, heavy tanks for the air and have relatively short (and fixed) travel distances.

    I hesitate to call MDI a scam, but a prudent investor would stay far, far away from them.

    • Thank you for these informative websites, this will indeed help people make a better decision about compressed air engines. Thanks again for sharing,


  3. Your article also references Zero Pollution Motors. A search on “Zero Pollution Motors” will show that, just like MDI, this related company has a history of making promises it can’t keep.

    Here’s an October 2000 article by BBC about Zero Pollution Motors announcement of production of the MDI e.VOlution car in South Africa: “year, with the first cars off the production line and onto the salesroom floor by early 2002. ” “It is being predicted that the e.Volution will be able to travel up to 200km (120 miles) for only 30 US cents.” “This means that the vehicle can theoretically be driven for up to 10 hours in an urban environment at an average speed of 80km/h.” “It is expected to sell in South Africa for about R74,000 ($10,000)” “There are currently two factories in France, with the first models expected on the streets later this year.” (In other words, by the end of 2000)

    Obviously, if they were ever able to come anywhere close to these specifications, then we’d be seeing the MDI cars everywhere. Note that, just like today, the articles are phrased as if the prototypes are working, that production is just a couple of months away in France, and less than two years to build a factory and start mass production in South Africa.

    Referece: British Broadcasting Corporation Oct 24th, 2000 article:

    • Yeah it does seem like a far fetched idea and as you put it if they were that great then they would be everywhere. I think the idea is awesome and if they can fine tune the problems then this invention would be the answer to a lot of the worlds problems. Thank you for showing the other side of the coin, we all need to look at all aspects of a product, especially anything new.

      R, Heaver

  4. Can`t wait for MDI`s to come out in North America. Given the relatively low price of it : its worth a try. And of course its arrival on the market is delayed… it would mean no more oil dependence!

    I`m definitely giving this baby a try.

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