MiniCat - air powered car

Can you hear the café chatter? "Your fuel cell car runs on hydrogen and emits only water? Oh, Darling, that's so 2004! See my MiniCat over the road there? Air, sweetie. Thats all it needs. And all it emits." What she probably wouldn't tell her fellow latté sipper is that it costs a paltry 0.75 € per 100km (or $1 USD per 62 miles) to run. Due out this year, the Minicat is powered by a revoluntary compressed air technology (CAT) engine. How it works is largely a well kept secret. But the results are a vehicle with a range of about 300km or 10 hours driving. At a purpose built air-refill station it takes 3 minutes to fill the 91 litre tank. Home filling would require ... ... around 3 hours. And the only emissions are a little cool air, which they are thinking of harnessing to run a form of air conditioning. And if the engine is not funky enough for you, what about the car itself?

Guy Negre, the engine's French designer, is figuring on the cars's shell being composed of fibreglass or hemp fibre, over a tubular chassis fixed with aerospace adhesives. Three seats across the front! The dashboard is really an on-board computer with abilities like a phone, GPS and traffic information, etc. Electrical wiring has been reduced by 20 kg (44 lb) and the key is a card that works by proximity - walking up to the car with the card in your pocket will automatically open the lock. And the weirdest thing is that the suggested price for such a wonder is only $10,000 USD. This is partly due to the fact they have designed their own mini factories to produce the MiniCat, with 23 countries already wanting a piece of the action. Hope they can pull it all off. Might ramp up the speed of development elsewhere in the auto industry. ::MDI Air Car [by WM]

Or for our Spanish/Español readers.

NB: We originally mentioned this car in early Oct 04 but with nearly 700 entries since, you may have missed it so we've dusted it off and refreshed it for your enjoyment once more.