tata motors: AIRPOD air powered urban commuter vehicle tata motors: AIRPOD air powered urban commuter vehicle
aug 15, 2012

tata motors: AIRPOD air powered urban commuter vehicle

tata motor ‘AIRPOD’ air-powered urban vehicle

indian auto manufacturer tata motors has planned to release the ‘AIRPOD’ air-powered urban vehicle. the three passenger transportation module uses compressed air instead of traditional alternative fuels like compressed hydrogen or natural gas  for a carbon-neutral, zero-emissions ride. developed by MDI, its special engine works by extracting air pressure from its 175 liter storage tank on board, which refills itself either through an external pump or while driving with the help of a complimentary electric motor. the vehicle reaches a top speed of 43 mp/h ( 70 km/h ), making it ideal for urban inner city travel in congested metropolis areas. with a range of over two hundred kilometers, it only takes around two minutes for a full tank, costing approximately one euro to fill.

the vehicle is currently is in its second phase of testing, and is expected to be commerically available in the near future. you can see the designboom’s original coverage of the ‘AIRPOD’ when it first began testing in 2009 here.

filling the storage tank with compressed air

left: opening the ‘AIRPOD’ front hatch for driver access right: ‘AIRPOD’ in lime green from 2009

seating configuration

via gearburn

  • this is awesome… wonder when it is getting to South Africa…

    Pitsoe says:
  • LOL LOL This sure as heck would not work in my part of Vermont
    :))))))))))

    Paedra says:
  • Would need its own lane or communities devoid of trucks and SUVs, but a lovely idea. Possibly some stability issues — think of the Reliant Robin — especially solo. And the third world, probably the first big market, is pocked with potholes. In mass production under automated, just-in-time manufacturing, the price would drop by half or more. Exciting — if not exactly a thrilling driving experience. But the future has to be more utilitarian, doesn’t it.

    Tom P says:
  • Génial !

    thevzitor says:
  • Drop the portholes – it’s not for underwater.

    Jim C. says:
  • Looks like a lady bug,great concept!

    TATTOO-LY says:
  • Excellent . We can use the existing boot space in cars for storing compressed air . Atleast in the existing cars compressed air can be used to provide air conditioning .

    sidharth says:
  • But why do the windows have to have a round shape?

    I´ve heard about this concept about 8 years ago, and seeing it again is very nice!

    Himbeere says:
  • @Tom P

    The design resembles the common auto-rickshaw. Trucks, potholes and handling issues don’t appear to deter the market for those. This vehicle would probably be used by taxi-walas more than regular commuters.

    The use of compressed air offers the benefit of zero emissions, which is good for the urban air pollution problem. However, many current rickshaws use LNG, which also has little emissions; since about 50% of India’s power plants are coal, using compressed air might increase air pollution (though away from urban centers and easier to capture).

    rpenm says:
  • Great, lindo y ecológico

    damoguerrero says:
  • Have a great design. Thank you for sharing.

    [url=http://www.designcoholic.com] Designcoholic [/url]

    www.designcoholic.com says:
  • been waiting a few years for this to appear… great concept and great price. There was also a Spanish company doing research and development but that may have died a death
    Can\’t see negotiating our rocky country tracks with the \’supermarket trolley\’ front wheels but great for going shopping and a night out to the local town
    Agree the styling is a bit \’Stingray\’ – shouldn\’t need to try that hard

    the big black & white zebra says:
  • I really like the design and like TATTOO-LY commented, it does look like a Lady Bug. The front seems a little low, you could add an option for hydraulics to lift the pod for rougher roads. Also, was wondering what the front tires are made of? I mean should a tire on the front blow, what if any directional pull would be or effect have on controlling the pod? It\’d be nice if had a roof rack for some storage or perhaps a capsule of some sort. Very nice!

    V_dubs_Vue says:
  • potholes are the problem – a big wheel option please

    rob says:
  • When I looked into this a few years back, a practically sized tank of compressed air for a small car would only go about 10 miles before needing recharging. I doubt that the technology would have changed by an order of magnitude.

    I would like to see someone fill the car and test drive it. I’ve yet to see a report where that actually happened.

    Jon H says:
  • I want one!!!! It would be perfect here in Adelaide, Australia.

    RedAndSparkly says:
  • maybe a hybrid option in the beggining ? what will happen when there is no air souece aroud?

    Gabriela says:
  • Very impressive. At least the world has a new line of thought in the Automotive Indusry to think about and perfect for future alternative transport powering.

    Lawrence Sc Egwali says:
  • Airpod is an bespoke MDI development, not Tata’s.
    Tata will however use the MDI compressed air technology to re-power its Nano and Ace models, within the licence agreement with MDI for the sole Indian market.

    Luc Adriaenssen says:

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