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Detroit’s EcoMotors Signs $200 Mil Deal to Build OPOC Engine Plant

Chinese deal to lead to generator, off-road and possibly passenger vehicle applications.

by on Apr.09, 2013

The Chinese venture could be the breakthrough test for the promising opoc engine.

Detroit-based powertrain company EcoMotors has landed a $200 million deal to produce its new opoc motor in China, a deal that initially will see the “breakthrough” engine design used for stationary generator applications – though the U.S. company’s chairman says off-road and commercial use, as well as automotive applications could follow.

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Short for opposed piston-opposed cylinder, the opoc has generated significant interest in recent years because of compact size, low emissions and high efficiency. EcoMotors claims it can be as much as 50% more efficient than an advanced turbo-diesel, though the strategic agreement with Zhongding Power, based in Zuancheng, China, may be the real test to prove that advantage in the real world rather than a laboratory test bench.

Zhongding plans to begin producing its version of the opoc in 2014 and hopes to have capacity in place for up to 150,000 of the engines annually – projecting potential revenues of “over US $1 billion.”


EcoMotors Teams Up With Navistar

Partners exploring potentially revolutionary engine technology.

by on Feb.23, 2011

A deal with Navistar could help developers of the OPOC engine bring the super-efficient technology to market.

EcoMotors International, the Michigan-based start-up company backed by Bill Gates and  Silicon Valley venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, has signed a new development agreement with major truck and engine builder, Navistar International of Warrenville, Ill.

Like other traditional vehicle builders, Navistar is under intense pressure to improve fuel-economy and reduce emissions and Dan Ustian, the truck firm’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said EcoMotors’ technology shows promise of helping to deliver the kind of improvements needed for the future.

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“We continue to be on the cutting edge of technology and our development agreement with EcoMotors once again demonstrates our commitment to develop new, innovative approaches to the commercial vehicle industry,” said Ustian “Our company has a long history of pushing the envelope to deliver state-of-the-art, customer-focused solutions and we see great promise in EcoMotors’ breakthrough engine design,” Ustian said.


Bill Gates Betting $23.5 million on Detroit Start-Up

Microsoft founder one of two key investors in new EcoMotors project.

by on Jul.13, 2010

Microsoft founder Bill Gates is betting $23.5 million on a promising new engine technology, the opoc.

He’s better known as a tech guru – and, since his retirement from Microsoft, as a mega-philanthropist.  But Seattle billionaire Bill Gates is now betting on what some have described as a revolutionary new automotive engine technology.

Gates is one of two new principal investors in EcoMotors, a suburban Detroit start-up that is developing a technology called the opoc motor.  Short for opposed piston-opposed cylinder, its developers claim it can run on either regular unleaded gasoline or diesel and not only boosts fuel economy but also reduces the number of parts needed compared to a conventional gas or diesel powertrain.

The Microsoft founder is putting up $23.5 million in two-year-old EcoMotors.  He is joined as a new investor by Khosla Ventures, a major investment firm from Menlo Park, California.  The Silicon Valley venture capital firm’s founder, Vinod Khosla, was one of the co-founders of Sun Microsystems.

The new engine “can be an important step in providing affordable, low-emissions transportation for the developing world,” said Gates, explaining his involvement in the EcoMotors project.  He has steered a significant share of his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation cash to third-world projects, such as the elimination of malaria.  But his personal involvement in the auto industry – beyond Microsoft’s push into auto technology – is new.


EcoMotors’ appeal is twofold.  There’s the new technology, and a set of old names.  The venture is run by one-time General Motors wunderkind Don Runkle, who left the maker to work at its parts spin-off, Delphi Corp., before venturing out on his own.  He serves as CEO, while John Coletti, best known for his work on Ford Motor Co.’s performance vehicles, is president and chief operating officer.  The basic design of the opoc engine, meanwhile, was developed by Peter Hofbauer, former head of powertrain development at Volkswagen AG.  Hofbauer is EcoMotors chairman.


OPOC Could Revolutionize Engine Design

by on Jun.22, 2010

Could the OPOC engine replace conventional internal combustion technology?

There’s so much talk all across the automotive industry about battery electric vehicles, it would seem that the death of the internal combustion engine is imminent.

But even the top proponents of battery power caution that the proven petroleum-powered internal combustion engine, or ICE, will continue to power cars for years to come. So, we might as well work on building a better one.

Long-time Detroit automotive executive Don Runkle presented such a solution at this month’s Green Car Conference. Runkle’s company, EcoMotors International is developing the OPOC – opposed piston opposed cylinder – engine.

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The engine is a horizontally opposed design with two pistons running in each cylinder. The two-stroke engine has a power burst for every revolution of the crank in each cylinder instead of every other revolution, as is the case with today’s conventional ICE.

Click Here for a video of Inventor Peter Hofbauer explaining how the engine works.

“It’s a better mousetrap,” Runkle said.