May 08 2012
MDI's air engine technology tested on Tata Motors vehicles
In January 2007, Tata Motors and Motor Development International (Luxembourg) signed a licence agreement that enables Tata Motors to produce and sell compressed air cars using MDI technology in India. The agreement covered two phases of activity encompassing the technology transfer and proof of the technical concept in the first phase, and in the second phase completing detailed development of the compressed air engine into specific vehicle and stationary applications.
The first phase of this programme - proof of the technical concept in Tata Motors vehicles - has now been successfully completed with the compressed air engine concept having been demonstrated in two Tata Motors vehicles.
In the second phase of the development, the two companies are working together to complete detailed development of the technology and required technical processes to industrialise a market ready product application over the coming years.
November 17 2011
AirPod – The Latest Version
“All quiet on the Seafront !” Absence of news from MDI and inactivity on our website may have been observed by many, but we have been vigorously active behind the scenes and we are still here, making the big splash by launching our Latest Model.
We are pleased to announce that the latest version of the AirPod has just been launched. This version is packed with innovative devices not encountered in conventional vehicles. The cutting-edge technologies deployed are simply beyond the bounds of normal cars of similar value.
Despite the unprecedented and unwarranted attacks (…more about this in our next newsletter.) aimed at the Company, the hard working MDI team of engineers, in their relentless pursuit of excellence, has produced yet another pollution-free, innovative and affordable vehicle.
Incorporating newer and newer technologies, MDI has succeeded in achieving the following objectives:
Significant redundance of number of components that made up the original AirPod.
Reduction of cost and production time.
Reduction of empty weight of the vehicle.
Resulting increase in Engine performance.
Increased stability and handling.
An epitome of ‘Unification of Innovations’ !
This latest version of AirPod has the benefit of a unique architecture that has never been utilised before in an urban vehicle. After conducting intense research and trials, a base consisting of a composite sandwich of fiberglass and polyurethane has been incorporated, providing the vehicle with over 30 functionalities. Cast aluminium frame fixed to this base holds the mechanical components such as the engine, the transmission, the suspension and the wheels. This type of architecture is normally only available on the high-end sports cars using carbon fibre. However, since this functionality is already built-in through integration and has also facilitated drastic reduction of mass, MDI has opted for fibreglass instead of carbon fibre; thus making such innovative technology available to all the other manufacturers of MDI vehicles.
Finesse of Design
In the process of developing such a vehicle of optimum performance, Elegance and Refinements have not been sacrificed but enhanced to such a level that the incorporated amenities can only be compared with more expensive cars.
Even in the interior, the moulding joints, sealing surfaces and matting surfaces have been smoothed out to such an extent that they have been rendered invisible. In the ‘cabin’ the choice of neutral and dark colours compliments the trim in perfect harmony.
‘Cabin’ Comfort and Convenience
The ergonomics of the cockpit have been designed to utilise the space gained by reduction of mass and has been re-distributed to give more headroom giving an overall feeling of spaciousness. The platform has been lowered to facilitate getting on and off the vehicle with total ease, and, the front seat has been inclined further to increase the comfort of the driver.
Adhering to the theme of ‘A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place’, several separate compartments have been incorporated on board for maps, magazines and other knickknacks. There is even a refrigerated compartment to keep the Champagne at the right temperature !
Re-Filling the Tanks
Two modes of filling the Compressed Air are available on the vehicle. The electrical connector is concealed behind the ‘AIR’ Logo plate on the left flank and the connection to the Air Supply (from an ‘Air Station’) is concealed behind the ‘AIR’ Logo plate on the right.
The interior headroom and spaciousness are reflected in the graceful exterior lines of the vehicle and the new look exudes power and sophistication appropriate to the design of the vehicle.
The Fourth Wheel !
By now, it should be obvious that the Latest Model of AirPod is four-wheeled. When the AirPod was originally conceptualised, the main objective was to design a vehicle that could virtually turn on its own axis. Out of sheer technical necessity, the AirPod had to be three-wheeled or both the front wheels had to be placed close together; but after extensive research the MDI Engineers have come up with yet another innovative technology. Without sacrificing the tiny turning circle, the AirPod has now been given ‘The Fourth Wheel’ ! This has not only increased the performance of the vehicle but the process has rendered the AirPod highly stable at maximum speeds. The final result is exceptional handling and stability, and, the beauty is that the new AirPod can still turn virtually on its own axis !!! These three attributes are verified by test-driving the AirPod.
The application for European approval had been submitted for the three-wheeled AirPod and full ‘L2e Certification’ had already been granted in Luxembourg, Belgium and Malta. The process of application for both the three-wheeled and four-wheeled vehicles follow the same directive (2002/2004) and therefore supplanting the application from one category to another requires only a few modifications such as braking functionality. The technical documentations have already been prepared and will soon be submitted to the European Authorities.
In constant search for more and more optimum engine efficiency with guaranteed range, MDI has now developed an engine that is capable of reaching a performance level of 68%. This has been validated independently and will go into full production next year.
Significant progress has been made on the system that controls the flow of compressed air into the engine, making it possible to do away with the pressure reducing regulator. The engine can now operate at the same pressure as the reservoir tank pressure. The performance level of 68% has been achieved by simplifying the architecture of the active chamber of MDI Engine and the intake circuit of the engine, the ‘fuel’ system. The major challenge overcome by MDI was to be able to have a consistent engine performance when the pressure in the tank decreased. The increase of engine efficiency has been a vital step that enabled MDI to use the tank that complies with ECR110 specification of the Certification. This has already been approved for the AirPod L2e. Even if this specification does not permit maximum pressure higher than 248 bars (instead of 350 bars initially programmed for the AirPod) the range will still be between 120 km and 150 km in urban cycle because of the following reasons:
Larger tank volume of 260 litres (instead of 175 litres);
The engine management that enables a cut off of intake of air during braking phase;
Recovering of kinetic energy while decelerating;
The Engine designed for AirPod is a 2-cylinder engine with a capacity of 430cc that develops 7 kW at 1,500 rpm. Torque is constant at 45nm from 200 rpm to 1,500 rpm. Maximum rpm in the urban areas is only 950 rpm. Such a low rpm is advantageous in terms of durability, efficiency and low noise output level.
The weight of the Engine is not more than 24 kg including all the accessories.
A Newsletter will be published with more information in near future. And complete technical documentation of the AirPod will also be available to those who need it.
Test-driving of AirPod will be organised for the media personnel and for the public in near future.
July 12 2011