Tata Motors is all set to launch MiniCAT, a car that runs on compressed air. India’s largest automaker Tata Motors will start production of the world’s first commercial air powered vehicle very soon. After launching the ‘world’s cheapest car’ ,Tata Nano, the MiniCAT, which is scheduled for end 2012 / early 2013 launch, will be a revolutionary one and will be like stepping into next era where cars won’t require any fossil fuel and emissions that will be almost zero. Reports confirm Tata Motors will initially start production of around 6000 units of the Eco-friendly car which is developed by Formula One engineer Guy Nigre in Luxembourg for MDI. The renowned Indian company will put a sticker of Rs. 6, 50,000 on one of the first-of-its-kind car which, if successful, can change the face of the automotive industry as a whole. The long range of the MiniCAT can be compared to current Eco-friendly electric cars which has maximum traveling distance of 150 km on average showing on their dash-boards. Each refill of compressed air will cost Rs. 100 which will mean you will shell out almost nothing to travel 300km with maximum speed of 105 km/hr. The future car will be based on Mono Energy Engine developed by ‘Moteur Development International (MDI)’. In 2007, Tata Motors licensed the rights from MDI to build & sell the technology under Tata’s brand name in India. There has been no word received since, whether Tata will be using this technology to build one of the MDI prototype cars or it will install the air-compressed engine to one of its existing car. After the agreement was signed for 28 million USD, MDI has been working in close collaboration with Tata Motors for the application of MDI technology in India. Elsewhere around the globe, MDI is continuing its work to set up concept factories so that the future zero-emission technology can be made available sooner than later. Let’s talk about the revolutionary technology which aims to cut our dependence on fossil fuels and bring down air pollution levels drastically and made the name Moteur Development International(MDI) famous. The compressed air engine technology which is more popularly known as “air car” or MDI encompasses four components: the MDI Compressed Air Engine, the MDI Power Generator, the MDI Transport Applications and the MDI Manufacturing Process. Unlike traditional petrol and diesel engines, the MDI technology doesn’t use any form of internal combustion. Instead, it involves four steps: Compressed air is used as energy carrier which is clean, efficient and low cost. MDI stores the air at around 300 bar in carbon fiber composite storage cylinders which is used to push the pistons. This requires only 30 bar of pressure as compared to a traditional combustible engine. The primary input of air (which takes place outside the engine by the process of heating the compressed air) which expands the air to the factor of three to five which is then injected on top of the smaller piston. The above process achieves a pressure which is twice as effective as a traditional internal combustion engine. The MDI active chamber consisting two pistons per modular engine head then enables the energy efficiency to be more than double. “Cool Combustion” - this step involves Giant Magneto-Caloric Effect to drastically cool the air. MDI aims to achieve further substantial energy gains by this process. The sudden cooling of air means that low-grade heat generation can be used in other wide range of applications including advanced forms of thermal solar energy. The surplus energy is then stored and used to recharge the compressed air storage. This is a cost-effective future technology which is low-maintenance as claimed by MDI. The future car MiniCAT will have future technology with keyless access-card type entry. The 300-km range that this car would have can easily be refilled at adapted petrol stations which will administrate compressed air in its cylinders and will also carry a small compressor which can be used in emergency to refill the tank. Reports suggest that Tata will surely look at an Indian launch in end of 2012 with as estimated price tag between Rs 6 to Rs 7 lakh!