DETROIT, April 9 One of China's largest auto
parts makers said it will construct a $200-million factory to
build a radical new engine developed by a suburban Detroit
Zhongding Power would be the first manufacturer to produce
EcoMotors' OPOC engine, whose features are said to include
smaller size, lower cost, higher fuel economy and fewer
The privately held Chinese firm, which plans to ramp up
production in Xuangcheng in 2014, said it will supply engines to
a range of customers for use in commercial and off road
vehicles, as well as stationary generator sets.
The plant, about 150 miles west of Shanghai in Anhui
province, will have an annual capacity of 150,000 and will also
supply engines to EcoMotors for sale to its own customers.
OPOC, which stands for "opposed piston, opposed cylinder,"
is a unique engine designed by Peter Hofbauer, a former
Volkswagen engineer who is chairman of EcoMotors in Allen Park,
The basic OPOC design features two cylinders and four
pistons. It has far fewer parts than a conventional engine and
produces more power for its size. Versions of the OPOC engine
can run on diesel fuel, gasoline or compressed natural gas.
The initial design to be produced by Zhongding is a diesel
that will be built in different versions, from 180 to 2
40 horsepower, according to EcoMotors CEO Don Runkle.
Zhongding also is discussing an option to build a second
OPOC engine plant with similar capacity, Runkle said.
If approved, the second plant might build smaller versions
of the engine, producing 80-100 horsepower, he said. The smaller
engines would be more suitable for passenger cars.
EcoMotors is backed by several investors, including
Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and Braemar Energy
Ventures. So far, the company, which was founded in 2008, has
raised more than $66 million in venture funding.
(Reporting by Paul Lienert in Detroit; editing by Sofina