So, a couple of months ago I filled out the online form requesting information about how I could license the technology and start my own factory manufacturing cars for MDI, here in Arizona. Based on the information available online, I estimated that the startup costs of such an undertaking would likely be in the $8 million to $12 million range… which, although it is not money I currently have in my coffers, is not a particularly large sum of money. (See: George W. Bush wants to spend over $150 billion in the next two years on another country, in addition to whatever it costs to run this one.) For that up-front capital, a factory, showroom, and offices (for management) would be built, and the factory operated for at least two years. The factory would be able to produce “2000 cars per annum on an 8 hour shift, with the possibility of doubling or tripling shifts,” or up to about six thousand vehicles a year. Each vehicle is expected to cost around $8k-$10k, and there will be no competition within the licensed ‘zone’ (which, in America, appears to be a single State, thus: I would be the only supplier of MDI vehicles in Arizona), so it is very likely to be a ‘sell out’ situation, where every vehicle we could manufacture would be pre-ordered. Because of the way they have set everything up, the initial investment would be earned back in only a couple of years, and you can figure out returns from there.
Oh, and did I mention that MDI’s cars run on air? That is, their ‘fuel’ is compressed air? Yeah. The car runs on super-compressed air, which when combined with ambient air creates power and drives the vehicle. After spending the last seven years on research, MDI is rolling out their technology to the world in a very real way. You’ll want to check out the MDI website for all the details, but on a single tank of compressed air, the car can go about 200km – 300km with a top speed of 110km/h, and while it can be re-filled with super-compressed air in under 3 minutes, it can fill its own tank via its built-in compressor (when plugged into a standard electrical outlet) in about four hours. It is primarily intended for urban driving, at which it excells. Did I mention that the air coming into the car, and into any compressor are filtered, meaning that the ‘exhaust’ from the car is cleaner than the surrounding air? (Yes, I know that that just moves the pollution from the air into filters, which must be cleaned or replaced, but at least you’re not breathing it… and imagine going to get emmissions testing done!)
So, yeah. Whether I build them or not, I want to see these cars on the road. Heck, I’ll buy one, if I can get on the list. But as I said, I applied for information on licensing, and after a couple of months, they got back to me (they’ve been focused on European licensing first – I understand) asking me to fill out and sign some paperwork … basically a NDA. No problem. I faxed it to them in Barcelona, and then mailed the originals… two or three weeks ago. Now, I know my mail typically takes up to three weeks to arrive in Madrid, so it’s no wonder if they haven’t received it yet in Barcelona, but that’s another piece of mail I’m waiting for … either physical mail or email … with more information about licensing the MDI vehicles for production in the US.
Of course, once I get this information, I won’t be able to share any of it with you. Everything I’ve said here has been public on their website. Anything I get from them from now on, I’m not allowed to talk about or share at all. So… I won’t keep you updated on this, except maybe to say “The MDI information showed up!” … someday.
And regardless, I look forward to seeing MDI vehicles on the roads. I hope you do, too.