EcoMotors snares $18 million in funding for advanced car engine

EcoMotors will receive $18 million in funding from two Chinese companies for its "opoc" engine technology.

Michigan-based EcoMotors announced on Tuesday that it would receive $18 million in funding from Zhongding Holding Group and Global Optima LLC for its OPOC engine technology.

The money will be used to refine the company's existing EM100D diesel engine, as well as develop a smaller gasoline version, the EM65FF.

The idea: make existing automotive technology more efficient.

EcoMotors says the engine's architecture allows it to achieve true modular displacement for up to 60 percent greater fuel efficiency. (Another firm, Transonic Combustion, achieved similar efficiency with specialized fuel injection.)

Moreover, the EcoMotors engine is half the weight and size of a conventional one, the company says, using 50 percent fewer parts and requiring less cost to manufacture.

"We are tremendously excited to partner with Zhongding on this important technology-development program," CEO Don Runkle said in a statement. "Over the coming years, this initiative will create a range of high-skill R&D jobs here in Southeast Michigan, further underscoring the region's critical role as the incubator of tomorrow’s high-efficiency powertrain solutions."

Established in 2008, EcoMotors has been developing high-efficiency engines for use in light vehicles, marine applications, agricultural vehicles and stationary generators.

The company previously received $2.75 million from venture capital firm Khosla Ventures.

GreenBeat's Camille Ricketts explains why the investors bit:

According to EcoMotors, both companies have been trying to develop similar technology on their own, but have finally decided to throw in the towel and invest.

In exchange for the money, Zhongding, will receive two prototype engines (one for gas and one for diesel) that they can use to demonstrate the technology to their customers, and stir up interest. Global Optima will leverage its foothold in Shanghai to help both EcoMotors and Zhongding refine the technology for the Chinese market.

Zhongding Holding Group, a large supplier based in Ningguo, China, owns a subsidiary based in nearby Monroe, Mich.

Global Optima, an engineering services company based in Allen Park, Mich., also expressed the possibility of direct equity investment in EcoMotors.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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