Tata Motors, the company responsible for the world's cheapest car (and the owner of Jaguar Land Rover, as an aside), is developing a car that runs on compressed air. Imagine that.
Tata owns the licence to develop a compressed air engine created by Motor Development International (MDI), a company formed in 1991 in Luxembourg.
The MDI engine has been in development for years, and had originally been scheduled for public release in a Tata air car in 2010 - Tata bought the licence for the engine five years ago.
Back in 2007, 2010's air car was a dream come true - here was some seriously green psersonal transport that could hit 35mph using nothing but the air we breathe, could reach 90mph, and could go 1,000 miles before needing a refuel. (A small amount of fuel is needed to heat and compress the air.)
The car never transpired.
However, Tata has just released a statement. Here it is:
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.
So, while we're still some time away, we at least now know that the car is a distinct possibility. It's in good hands, too - Tata is a financial giant and with multiple business interests, but not least its very successful (for now, at least) proprietorship of a burgeoning Jaguar Land Rover.