Energy Efficiency Products in the Transportation Sector – historical overview

Numerous products are being developed to improve energy efficiency in the transportation sector. On top of micro-hybrid and other electric vehicles, there is also a market for more energy efficient engines and drive trains.
Products: Engine (main) and other powertrain products
Use: Transportation (all modes) and back-up power generation
Established in the US in 2008 Ecomotors is developing engines and powertrain packages that are reportedly 15-50% more efficient, smaller, lighter and less expensive to manufacture than conventional engines.
The company has patented an opposed-piston/opposed-cylinder engine (opoc®) with two opposing cylinders per module. With a crankshaft between them, each cylinder has two pistons moving in opposite directions. This engine can run on gasoline, diesel and ethanol. It does not have a cylinder-head or valve-train component and thus is lighter and more efficient, has fewer parts and is economical with lower emissions. Two opoc® models are under development: the EM65 and EM100.
The two biggest investors in this technology are Khosla Ventures and Bill Gates, who invested an undisclosed amount through Series B funding for the opoc® design in July 2010. Zhongding Holding of China and Global Optima have committed up to USD 18 million of funding to the company to develop the technology. This was followed by a contract to commercialise the technology in April 2011, with EM100 demonstration engines expected in early 2012.
In June 2011, Generac Power Systems and EcoMotors announced an agreement between both companies to jointly develop the opoc® engine for Generac’s backup power generation products. This includes products for the residential, light commercial and industrial markets.
Another technology being developed by the company is an electrically controlled turbocharger (ECT). This is a supercharger, driven by the electric motor, that acts as an adjunct to the exhaust-driven turbocharger and creates boost pressure by the electric motor, the turbocharger or both. The advantage of this supercharger is that it produces enhanced vehicle drivability due to improved low-end torque, improved fuel efficiency and lower emissions and also eliminates turbo lag and generates electricity. An electrically controlled clutch is also under development to operate a multi-module opoc™ engine, which should improve fuel economy.