Thanks to and MID-NIGHT-SUN Trading Post for sending this:

Totally Non-Polluting Cars!

Rosa Zubizarreta posted the following message January 30th 2000 to the CivicPrep list:

"Some time ago I came across the information that Mexico City is currently contracting to have 40,000 compressed-air automobiles built in order to replace their taxi fleet. The compressed air engine was designed by a French inventor named Guy Negre. It uses about $2 worth of electricity to fill the tank with compressed air, and can power a car at speeds of up to 60 mph -- not real fast, but fast enough!!

"The car has takes in air as it brakes, and has a carbon block filtration system, so the air that it exhausts is actually cleaner than the air that comes in; ergo, a car that cleans the air! While it sounds too good to be true, this is fact, not fiction; the real question is why we aren't hearing more about it....

"Anyways, apparently the major auto industries have all invested tons of money in fuel cell development, and are not able to turn on a dime in order to pursue
this much more elegant solution."

The company website can be found at this address:

It includes pictures of the cars and the following description:


After more than thirty years with the combustion engines, the French engineer Guy Negre has developed a concept of a totally non-polluting engine for use in urban areas. The different versions of MDI engines provide the most comprehensive answer to the urban pollution problem: simple, economic and clean.

This invention, which uses high pressure (300 bar) compressed air to store the energy needed for running the engine, is protected world-wide by more than 20 patents owned by MDI.

In urban areas, the engine powers a five-seat vehicle with a range of approximately 200 km using 300 litters of compressed air  (300 bar) stored in either carbon or glass fiber tanks.

A compressor driven by an electric motor connected to a standard electric outlet does the recharge of the compressed air tanks. A rapid recharge, using a high-pressure air pump, is also possible.

To demonstrate the viability of the concept, three prototype vehicles equipped
with air, mono-energy, and engines were developed.

A taxi called "TOP" (Taxi ZerO Pollution) and pickups truck, were built. In May
1998, the first road tests of these prototypes were done in Brignoles, France.

A great interest in the zero pollution concept has been expressed by the news
media. Since May 1998, the taxi "TOP" has been the subject of more than 40
television programs and several newspaper and magazine articles around the

The potential market for the "clean engine" concept is immense: e.g., vehicles
such as taxis, buses, vans, delivery trucks, industrial warehouse tractors, golf
buggies, lake or canal boats and many other applications in which fixed engines
are primarily used in urban or restricted areas.

A version of MDI engine can, in addition to air, also function with the use of
traditional fuel; petrol, diesel, natural or town gas, at very low consumption
levels. The change of source of energy is handled electronically based
on the speed of the vehicle; e.g. below 60 km/h it runs on air and higher
speeds it runs on fuel.

To manage the development process successfully, MDI has contracted its product
research and development activities to CQFD Air Solution, a company based in
Brignoles, France. Here, under the direction of Guy Negre, some 30 engineers and
technicians have at their disposal the most modern equipment for engine
and vehicle development, testing and production, supported by the latest in
information technology.

As soon as the MDI engines and vehicles are commercially viable (within 1-3
years, depending on the version) they will have a market, with very limited
competition, if any, for an estimated period of 10-15 years.

The commercial strategy is currently concentrated on the urban markets, with
products including taxis, delivery vans and pickup trucks.

Based on a new concept of local vehicle production and sales, MDI promote
regional manufacturing license rights in the form of franchised turnkey factory
systems. Such a turnkey factory will have a normal production capacity of
2000-4000 vehicles per year and will employ some 130 people. A model factory is
being constructed in Brignoles, France.

It is estimated that the first zero pollution vehicles will be on the market in
year 2000.