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Tata Motors to introduce Air Car – Is it the next big thing?

Tata Motors is taking giant strides and making history for itself. First the Landrover-Jaguar deal, then the world’s cheapest car and now it is also set to introduce the car that runs on air, compressed air to be specific.

aircar thumb | Tata Motors to introduce Air Car   Is it the next big thing?

With fuel prices touching nearly $150 per barrel, it is about time we heard some breakthrough !

India’s largest automaker Tata Motors is set to start producing the world’s first commercial air-powered vehicle. The Air Car, developed by ex-Formula One engineer Guy Nègre for Luxembourg-based MDI, uses compressed air, as opposed to the gas-and-oxygen explosions of internal-combustion models, to push its engine’s pistons. Some 6000 zero-emissions Air Cars are scheduled to hit Indian streets in August of 2008.   

The Air Car, called the MiniCAT could cost around Rs. 3,50,000 ($ 8177) in India and would have a range of around 300 km between refuels.

The cost of a refill would be about Rs. 85 ($ 2). Tata motors also plans to launch the world’s cheapest car, Tata Nano priced famously at One lakh rupees by October.

The MiniCAT which is a simple, light urban car, with a tubular chassis that is glued not welded and a body of fiberglass powered by compressed air. Microcontrollers are used in every device in the car, so one tiny radio transmitter sends instructions to the lights, indicators etc.

There are no keys – just an access card which can be read by the car from your pocket. According to the designers, it costs less than 50 rupees per 100Km (about a tenth that of a petrol car). Its mileage is about double that of the most advanced electric car (200 to 300 km or 10 hours of driving), a factor which makes a perfect choice in cities where the 80% of motorists drive at less than 60Km. The car has a top speed of 105 kmph. Refilling the car will, once the market develops, take place at adapted petrol stations to administer compressed air. In two or three minutes, and at a cost of approximately 100 rupees, the car will be ready to go another 200-300 kilometers.

As a viable alternative, the car carries a small compressor which can be connected to the mains (220V or 380V) and refill the tank in 3-4 hours. Due to the absence of combustion and, consequently, of residues, changing the oil (1 litre of vegetable oil) is necessary only every 50,000Km.] The temperature of the clean air expelled by the exhaust pipe is between 0-15 degrees below zero, which makes it suitable for use by the internal air conditioning system with no need for gases or loss of power.

[Source 1, 2, 3]

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About Arun Prabhudesai

Arun Prabhudesai is founder / chief editor at trak.in. He jumped the Entrepreneurship bandwagon in early 2008 after a long 13 year stint in I.T Industry. You can follow him on twitter @trakin and Facebook. Arun’s Google+ Profile


  1. Really unbelievable, but TATA can do it!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. very good, its needed! but ill belive , when ill see it on indian road. all the best tata motor.

  3. Dear Freinds This concept is not an invention of TATA Motors India. The Air Cars are already on streets in Spain, and will be started soon in South Africa and also other parts of the world. You can watch the preliminary details (not yet updated) in their official website. The Company name itself Air Car Factories S. A., Barcelona. http://www.theaircar.com/ & One other company also there (Motor Development International) the actual parent company… but the Air Car Factories SA have no connection with MDI now. Best Regards Hamara Bharath Mahan See our Blog too

  4.  This news has been going around for months. Tata at present has a agreement to license the technology required to design and make the car. Tata has never announced they’ll actually produce it. Put it down as R&D for potential technologies for future transportation.  MDI has a bad name in the industry and media and they have often announced production of cars based on their technology, without anything actually happening, Sort of like crying wold too often.

  5. Its TATA ‘s new range after the France company’s tie up…

  6. Its one of the most Expectations of many youth’s, Beleive in Dreams one day it will come True.  if Indian Govt don’t give permissions to drive this Beauty atleast it should be used by Hospitals instead of current Ambulance Trend!!!!

  7. Sanjay Yalagatti

    I am just waiting to be rolled on to the roads. Less emission, environment friendly and pocket friendly. Why cant the NANO be AIR CAR? It is a revolution in Indian Auto Market. And I am surely go for ONE.

  8. I’m waiting for TATA’s next evolution…!

  9. Dielly needs such cars…

  10. I think its a spam. I havent seen any news about it except on this site. I wish to see this in reality

  11. for pankaj singh's question

    Pankaj i think your keeping your eyes and ears shut in life, nano is in production in fact i happen to be one of the vendor’s for some of its auto components. curiosity kills a man but never a TATA motors car … i hope this miniCAT is launched as claimed so that at least the urban drivers can garbage there high fuel consuming vehicles… this is just brilliant!!!

  12. This guy from TaTa better watch his back. He might want to hire some body guards too. I am sure there are some oil profiteers i.e.  G. Bush and other powerfully evil people would like to see this guy disappear.     I would love to this car become an affordable reality in the next 2 yrs.   GO TATA GO Show me your tatas…please?

  13. Khudos to TATA. I am not sure about the Genunity of this news. If this is corret (I wish it is correct) and the Product is successfull, this would be one of the greatest moment of our era. The news itself creating waves in the mind.

    • Its true my friend this car run by air means obviously it is Hydrogen. in india there are some people already run their vehicle by Hydrogen it is zero % emission

  14. Tata is again making people fool. Till now there is no manufacturing plant of nano in india yet they are saying they will produce this MiniCat. I don’t believe this. They are just making airy promises. Actions speak louder than words. So my msg to TATA’s is be practical.

  15. Well done Tata motors !.. Oip prices are really killing the fun of motors…. Looking forward to see these cars ON ROAD..

  16. This seems to be really an great invention and seems to be an boon in the prevailing  conditions of increase in oil price. If the idea of manufacturing AIR CAR will be implemented successfully and is made available for the public, then there is one more addition of success milestone to TATA motors and INDIA. Longlive TATA !!!!!!! Good Luck !!!!!

  17. i hope this noble cause should be accepted and supported by the govt of india.  understanding the present condition of the environment this is definitely a blessing. i wud definitely like to be a proud owner of this tech.

  18. Another good post. Lets hope miniCAT can show the way on how to reduce dependency on ‘oil’. By the way, how is the idea….to buy TAT script at present bear market. TATA’s are really patriots, they dare to take risks to fulfill the dreams of Indians. The companies which find or rely on alternate sources of energy can emerge as winners in the near future…..

  19. Hoping the air car is ready by August 2008, The whole world is waiting impatiently. I suppose gas is going up because the petroleum companies are going to loose 100 percent as soon as the air car is manufactured, so the petroleum companies want to make as much as they can. This kind of greediness will not make them happy. I dont think the media is portraying the reason for the rise of gas prices, in an honest way.  But the truth will come out eventually.

  20. Great Job . Tata motors .. !!!

  21. Lets hope the plans doesnt just remain as plans and they actually come out with both the Nano and MiniCAT

  22. No Philip, It is MiniCAT, actually I too was surprised hearing the launch date, but thats what is out to public right now…

  23. Dont you think that Aug 2008 is too early?  Is it air car or Nano that they are mentioning?

  24. suresh panicker

    every effort to be used to promote this venture.in times of high oil prices and global warming, by proper pricing strategy and support from govt. it should be made a success.

  25. hope its not a lot of hot air…… meanwhile, can we get beta testing invites for this? ;)

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