Motor Development International

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Motor Development International
Private S.A.
Industry Automobile industry
Genre Car manufacturer
Founded Carros
Founder Guy Nègre
Headquarters Carros, France
Key people
Guy Nègre, Cyril Nègre
Products Compressed 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. Nègre's engine works with constant torque, and the only way to change the torque to the wheels is to use a continuously variable transmission, losing some efficiency. Armando Regusci's version of the air engine has several advantages over the original Nègre design.[citation needed]

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]

Zero Pollution Motors and MDI are among the teams who have committed to participation in the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize competition.[5] As of September 2009 they do not appear on the list of registered teams.[6] As of October 2009 it appears they did not qualify for the next stage in the competition.[6]

Company history[edit]

2000-2009: Production in France was claimed to be starting in late 2000,[7] 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,[8] New Zealand, Israel and South Africa.[citation needed] Zero Pollution Motors would like to make MDI vehicles in the United States.[9] 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.[10] 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".[11][12][13]

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.[14] 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.”[15]

2016 : Guy Nègre passes away on June 24, 2016.[16]

2017 Production of the AirPod claimed to begin in May 2017. [17]


IT MDI-Energy Pty Ltd in Australasia.[18]

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. ^ "Zero Pollution Motors - Air Car". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  6. ^ a b "Qualified Teams | Progressive Automotive X PRIZE". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  7. ^ "AFRICA | The car that runs on air". BBC News. 2000-10-24. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  8. ^ "Ci siamo, arriva l'auto ad aria 7000 euro e 100 km con 1 euro". 2012-06-07. Retrieved 2012-06-07. 
  9. ^ "Zero Pollution Motors - Air Car". Retrieved 2009-10-22. 
  10. ^ Catecar SA AIRPod announcement. Retrieved 2010-10-28
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ "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. Retrieved 2011-07-27. 
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Driving On Air: How The Airpod Will Change Transportation And Carry A Father’s Legacy". Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  16. ^ "MDI SA - Ecologie, économie : l'air vous transporte". MDI SA - Ecologie, économie : l'air vous transporte. Retrieved 2016-07-15. 
  17. ^ |"produce the first compressed air-powered car for sale in the United States by Q4 2017-Q1 2018 . Production in Europe is schedule for May 2017, US buyers estimate delivery, for those who paid their deposits 2nd half 2017."
  18. ^ "Towards 100% Sustainability - Company". IT MDI-Energy. Retrieved 2009-10-22. 

External links[edit]