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Running on air


Why is everyone saying such mean things about this car? OK, so they say good things about the fact the AIRPod runs on compressed air. As they should – how could that be bad? But everyone's saying how ugly it is – or at best that it looks like it was designed by their four-year-old nephew. I disagree.


It is just possible that the four-year-old has great taste. Personally I'm sick of big tank-like cars and don't get a rush of pleasure at being seen in sports cars. Call me a girl (well, that would be pretty accurate), but I think the AIRPod is great. Like the Smart Car before it, and almost every other design for eco-friendly cars, it makes a virtue out of being almost microscopic.

Created by Luxembourgish company MDI, the AIRPod runs on compressed air which is stored at high pressure. Sure it's no beast in the power department, and it doesn't have tons of leg room (though it does fit four), but it's zero emission, is operated by joystick, and takes minutes to recharge. Go, little guy, go. RM

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  • Sion Richards

    March 23, 2010

    I have followed this Air car project by MDI for a couple of years now and as a different solution to city traffic I think it has merit.
    The whole project however always seems to be on the brink of collapse and I’ve never been convinced they’ll actually get to the stage of selling one. The compressor needed to produce the air in canisters at home can easily be powered by a small solar panel so should help it be not only zero emission but virtually zero energy. I’m not sure what NCAP would make of the design though.

  • Prataap

    December 10, 2008

    Zero emisssion is the only claim its making. The ‘car’ does not emit any toxic fumes like CO2. It does not say zero energy….which is what you are refering to.

    Either ways its not possible to assume we are going to jump right away to a zero carbon footprint mode of transportation for everyone, unless everyone lives within 5 miles of everything they need and can therefore get around all the time on foot or a bike…..there is no need to dismiss steps like this in the right direction :>)

  • Dan Schwartzman

    December 10, 2008

    How can anyone say that the use of this vehicle is ‘zero emission’? ‘Plug in’ suggests the use of electricity, the source of which is generally or largely coal-burning. And compressed air has to be compressed by the use of some motor or engine, running on something with a carbon footprint.
    This vehicle may be better than a gasoline powered one, but it’s no BICYCLE!!

  • Prataap

    November 24, 2008

    I don’t know what all the fuss is all about….in Japan this would be considered cutting edge in cool design. We need to loosen up a bit…cars can be fun and silly and functional.

Any comments?