This week EcoMotors announced it had closed on $32.5 million in funding with Bill Gates among investors for development of its next generation Opposed-Piston-Opposed-Cylinder engine.
This news follows a similar announcement from two years ago and to date the company has raised $66 million with this latest round of funding being led by Braemar Energy Ventures and Khosla Ventures also participated.
EcoMotors’ plans, according to its COO, John Coletti, a former veteran Ford executive, are to begin manufacturing in Southeast Michigan within five years. Profit is intended to come via selling a line of engines and by selling patents of its design to other companies.
If enough local employment can be promised, it could further benefit from a $63 million tax abatement from the city of Troy, Mich., and it is the company is also waiting to hear about a possible $209 million loan from the U.S. Energy Department.
EcoMotors is moving forward with talks with original equipment manufacturers – including Navistar and Zhongding Holding Group – for its efficient, clean and simpler design.
The engine uses two horizontally opposed cylinders turning a center crankshaft and does not use valves or a cylinder head. It is said to offer 15 to 50 percent improved fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions and has 60-percent fewer parts.
It can be used in any application that a traditional diesel could be, but cannot be retrofitted.
The engine was originally designed by the former head of powertrain development at Volkswagen, Peter Hofbauer. He is now the chief technology officer of EcoMotors as the company continues to branch off of his innovative engineering capabilities.
“The new capital will also enable EcoMotors to accelerate the creation of gasoline versions of opoc® to meet increasing customer demand for cost effective fuel economy gains in cars, light trucks, hybrids, and extended range EVs,” said the company in a statement.
In addition to the development of a gasoline engine EcoMotors will also begin looking at natural gas applications.