Motor Development International

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Motor Development International
Private S.A.
IndustryAutomobile industry
GenreCar manufacturer
FounderGuy Nègre
Key people
Guy Nègre, Cyril Nègre
ProductsCompressed air car

Motor Development International SA (MDI) is a French company (incorporated in Luxembourg) designing compressed air car prototypes marketed under the title "the Air car".

The OneCAT Air Car (later renamed OneFlowAIR[1]) was shown at the 2008 New York Car Show from March 21–30, 2008. It was displayed under the Exhibitor: "Automotive X-Prize" in location: Crystal Palace CP12.[2][3]


MDI AIRPod at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show
MDI OneFlowAir at the 2009 Geneva Motor Show

MDI proposes a range of vehicles developed on an identical concept.[4]

Development history[edit]

Established by Guy Nègre, the Luxembourg company MDI, with its administrative and production departments based in Carros in southeastern France, has developed an environmentally friendly car engine that uses compressed air to push the pistons of the engine and move the car.[citation needed] The Air Car has been in development for twenty years. The design, particularly the engine, has undergone several radical changes.

In the original Nègre air engine, one piston compresses air from the atmosphere to mix with the stored compressed air (which will cool drastically as it expands). This mixture drives the second piston, providing the actual engine power.

In Regusci's version, the engine is connected directly to the wheel, and delivers variable torque from zero to the maximum, enhancing efficiency. When the vehicle is stopped, Guy Nègre's engine must continue to run, losing energy, while the Regusci's version need not. In 2001-2004 MDI switched to a design similar to that described in Regusci's patents, which date back to 1990.[citation needed]

Company history[edit]

2000-2018: Production in France was claimed to be starting in late 2000,[5] and at frequent intervals, in several countries, thereafter.

2003: The Eolo Car is a version of the Air Car that was to be manufactured in Italy in 2003, but failed to get into production.

2009-2011: According to MDI, were some fabrication and distribution licenses signed with companies in various countries including France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy,[6] New Zealand, Israel and South Africa.[citation needed] Zero Pollution Motors would like to make MDI vehicles in the United States.[7] MDI Andina S.A wanted to sell the car in Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Panama.[citation needed] The last one was CATECAR S.A in Switzerland which was about to start the first assembly line in the Bernese Jura, but the project is on hold (as so many others before) due to legal problems with MDI.[8] Catecar purchased rights to produce and market MDI vehicles in Swizerland but MDI failed to produce the required technology.[9] Catecar has now abandoned compressed air and has built prototype EVs.

MDI had also reached an agreement with Tata Motors, which were to produce and sell OneCAT cars in India. Tata Motors announced in May 2012 they had assessed the design passing phase 1, the "proof of the technical concept" towards full production for the Indian market. Tata has moved onto phase 2, "completing detailed development of the compressed air engine into specific vehicle and stationary applications".[10][11][12]

2012: After five years of testing and validation of the concept, MDI-designed engines were said to have been successfully integrated into Tata vehicles, and the air-powered "MiniCat" was promised to be on sale in India before the end of 2012.[13] This was disputed in 2016 by MDI's CEO, Cyril Nègre, who said, "We never said that there will be any MiniCats in India. The deal we have is that Tata Motors has bought the exclusive licence of our Indian technology. But they’re going to produce their own car, not MDI cars — their own cars using our engines.”[14]

2015: Tata and MDI claim they will sell AirPods in Hawaii before the end of 2015.[15]

2016: Guy Nègre passes away on June 24, 2016.[16] MDI was one of eight finalists in the competition for a grant from the United Nations' Powering The Future We Want program, but ultimately lost to SINTEF.[17]

2017: In February 2017 Dr. Tim Leverton, president and head at Advanced and Product Engineering at Tata revealed that it had completed the first phase of its project and the second stage was started a few years earlier. Tata was at a point of "starting industrialisation" with the first vehicles to be available by 2020.[18] Other reports indicate Tata is also looking at reviving plans for a compressed air version of the Tata Nano,[19] which had previously been under consideration as part of their collaboration with MDI.[20]

2018: In May MDI announces that it will have a production plant in Luxembourg by 2019 [21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ At Caterpillar's demand, all MDI products containing "CATs" in their name were renamed by the end of 2008: "CATs" was replaced with "FlowAIR" which is a wordplay on flower. "A new Brand Name for MDI Products". MDI. 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2009-03-08.
  2. ^ "MDI Enterprises S.A". 2008-02-03. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "". Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  5. ^ "AFRICA | The car that runs on air". BBC News. 2000-10-24. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  6. ^ "Ci siamo, arriva l'auto ad aria 7000 euro e 100 km con 1 euro". 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-06-07.
  7. ^ "Zero Pollution Motors - Air Car". Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  8. ^ Catecar SA AIRPod announcement. Retrieved 2010-10-28
  9. ^ Spectrum, IEEE. "Compressed-Air Car Proponents Losing Faith". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Tata Motors enters second phase of air-car development". Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2013-04-22.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "Media Centre "The agreement between Tata Motors and MDI envisages Tata's supporting further development and refinement of the technology, and its application and licensing for India."". Tata Motors. Archived from the original on 2011-09-29. Retrieved 2011-07-27.
  13. ^ Stevens, Mike (28 February 2012). "Tata Mini CAT Air-powered Car On Sale From Mid-2012". The Motor Report. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  14. ^ "Driving On Air: How The Airpod Will Change Transportation And Carry A Father's Legacy". Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  15. ^ Edelstein, Stephen. "Tata AirPod Compressed-Air Car To Launch In Hawaii This Year: Report". Green Car Reports. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  16. ^ "MDI SA - Ecologie, économie : l'air vous transporte". MDI SA - Ecologie, économie : l'air vous transporte. Retrieved 2016-07-15.
  17. ^ "Powering The Future We Want 2016 Recipients". United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
  18. ^ "Tata Motors' air-powered car project still on, to be launch ready in 3 years". Auto Car Professional. Retrieved 24 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Tata Nano could spawn electric, hybrid & air-powered variants – Report". Indian Autos Blog. Jan 25, 2017. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  20. ^ "Nano was to run on air, battery but Ratan Tata couldn't implement plans". Hindustan Times. Oct 28, 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  21. ^ "Automotive: Hot Air or Breath of Fresh Air for Manufacturing". Delano. May 31, 2018. Retrieved November 8, 2018.

External links[edit]