Southern Manufacturing

Filament Winding Technology to Assist Air Car

23 February 2001

Attention has focussed on the compressed air storage tanks for the French Motor Development International (MDI) minicar and light commercial vehicle, which is powered by compressed air, since its prototype debut in October 2000.

There has been much speculation on the compressed air storage tanks as they need to be both strong and light. However, a solution may have been found -- sources close to the project have said that the tanks could now be produced cost-efficiently in South Africa using filament winding technology. Experts from the South African independent armaments industry are expected to be among a party of South African component suppliers heading for France next month to meet MDI, the patent-holders of the air engine technology. Helen Brown, CEO of Zero Pollution Motors S.A., which holds the regional franchise for the air car, said, ""We have found that there is a great deal of expertise in South Africa in fabrication using composite materials."" Production of the air car is scheduled to start in late 2002 or early 2003.

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