OPOC Engine Is Smaller, Lighter, and 50% More Efficient Than Turbodiesels

Among conventional combustion engines, the turbodiesel is among the most powerful and fuel efficient. But a startup company called EcoMotors has developed a design that’s smaller, lighter, more fuel efficient, and can run on a variety of fuels.

EcoMotors is headed by CEO Professor Peter Hofbauer, an engineer who spent over two decades at Volkswagen and helped develop vehicles like the VR6 and VW’s first-ever diesel engine. Recently a former Ford performance guru, John Coletti, joined EcoMotors as President and COO. Coletti helped develop vehicles like the 10 liter BOSS Mustang concept and various other performance projects, which makes his signing-on to EcoMotors all the more eyebrow raising. Both are heavyweights in their field, and are working to bring to market an engine designed called OPOC, or opposed-piston opposed-cylinder.

The engine is a two-stroke turbocharged two-cylinder with two pistons in each cylinder. Yes, you read that right; four pistons in a two-cylinder engine. The pistons sit opposed to each other, one being pushed, the other pulled by the combustion of each stroke. What this does is allow a normal stroke to be completed twice as fast in an engine package that is just one-quarter the size of a conventional turbodiesel engine. It’s also 30% lighter, and will supposedly deliver 50% better fuel economy. With an engine that small, cars could also get smaller, and thus lighter, leading to even more impressed fuel economy gains.

Sounds like a miracle motor, and I’d be quicker to dismiss it if it didn’t have two very well-known and respected vehicle specialists behind it. EcoMotors just received $23 million in funding from Khosla Ventures and Bill Gates, and aims to have a vehicle on the road sometime in 2013. They think they can deliver 100 mpg in a conventional vehicle that can run on gas, diesel, or ethanol. Sounds great; the only question I have is about the horsepower and torque numbers. Making a smaller, lighter engine is great for fuel economy, but if it takes 20 seconds to get to 60 mph, it will be a hard sell.

I hope Coletti won’t let that happen.

Source: Hemmings Auto Blog

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMI’s. You can follow his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout.

 

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.