- Written by webmin
Oh look, it’s EcoMotors International, some new greenie-car startup company with a “revolutionary” engine design. I bet it’ll save all the polar bears while running on a blend of hemp oil, wildflowers and moonbeams.
Ha! Just what flavor of hippie vegetarian baloney is this? And what automotive genius is running this company? Let me guess: Al Gore? Ed Begley Jr? Henry David Thoreau?
Uh, well as it turns out the President and COO of EcoMotors is John Coletti, former director of Ford’s skunkworks performance division, SVT. Coletti is the guy who pushed for the Mustang to stay a rear-drive V-8 performance machine instead of becoming the forgettable front-drive that Ford sold as the unfortunately named Probe. Coletti was also on board during the 1999 SVT Cobra intake manifold debacle and the car’s subsequent comeback that culminated in the incredible 2003-’04 supercharged “Terminator” Cobra. SVT’s crowning achievement under Coletti’s watch was the Ford GT supercar – unbelievable as it seems today that Ford actually built it. Of course, there were also bread-and-butter rigs like the the SVT Contour, F-150 Lightning and SVT Focus, all excellent performance machines.
But if you think it’s nuts that a guy like Coletti has signed on with an outfit called EcoMotors, you’re really not going to believe the engine they hope to bring to market. It’s called OPOC (Opposed Piston Opposed Cylinder), and it’s a turbocharged two-stroke, two-cylinder, with four pistons, two in each cylinder, that will run on gasoline, diesel or ethanol. The two pistons, inside a single cylinder, pump toward and away from each other, thus allowing a cycle to be completed twice as quickly as a conventional engine.
The heavy lifting for this unconventional concept was performed not by Coletti, but by EcoMotors CEO, Prof. Peter Hofbauer. During his 20 years at VW, Hofbauer headed up, among other things, development of VW’s first diesel engine and the VR6.
Hofbauer said he had the idea for the OPOC while working at VW, and was inspired by the original Beetle’s flat engine design as well as the opposed-piston, two-stroke, diesel Junkers “Jumo” aircraft engines.
The OPOC has been in development for several years, and the company claims it’s 30 percent lighter, one quarter the size and achieves 50 percent better fuel economy than a conventional turbo diesel engine.
Earlier this year, the company received an injection of $23.5 million from Khosla Ventures and Bill Gates, and says it will have a vehicle engine ready for production by 2013.
They’re predicting 100 MPG in a conventional car.