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Navistar partners with EcoMotors International on new engine design

EcoMotors International's Opposed-Piston, Opposed-Cylinder (opoc®) engine promises to revolutionize commercial vehicle design with powerful, lightweight, fuel efficient, low emissions engines.
Posted: February 22, 2011 - 4:08PM
Author: Don Bain


Navistar announced reaching an agreement today with EcoMotors International (EI) in the development of the company’s opoc® engine. This is the first effort of EI to target commercial application for their innovative turbo-diesel version of the opoc® engine.

"We continue to be on the cutting edge of technology and our development agreement with EcoMotors once again demonstrates our commitment to develop new, innovative approaches to the commercial vehicle industry," said Dan Ustian, Navistar chairman, president and chief executive officer. "Our company has a long history of pushing the envelope to deliver state-of-the-art, customer-focused solutions and we see great promise in EcoMotors' breakthrough engine design."

The company’s primary investors are Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla of Khosla Ventures, who perceives an analogy for the motors engineering in the business agreement.

"We are delighted that Navistar, a global leader in the commercial vehicle industry, has recognized the game-changing promise of opoc®," said Khosla. "The only truly disruptive technologies are those that can provide not only rapid payback, but also economic and carbon benefits to large segments of the world's population without the need for subsidies or massive infrastructure investments. Among next-generation propulsion systems, the opoc® engine is broadly applicable and can provide lower carbon emissions than almost any other technology."

The new engine design combines many recent advances in engine technology. It mixes the emissions advantages of a 4-cycle motor with the simplicity of a 2-cycle, and incorporates recent progress in electronic/combustion tech into a completely new, proprietary configuration.

"EcoMotors is proud to partner with Navistar to commercialize the revolutionary opoc® engine," said Don Runkle, CEO, EcoMotors International. "For customers such as Navistar, this remarkable engine technology represents a competitive advantage that enables not only enhanced environmental sustainability, but also greater profitability. Our engineers are working to effectively rejuvenate the internal combustion engine for the 21st century."

The opoc® engine utilizes two opposing cylinders per module, with a crankshaft in between so each cylinder has two pistons moving in opposite directions. This design eliminates the cylinder-head and valve-train components of conventional engines, resulting in an efficient, compact and simpler engine structure. The bottom line is a family of power plants that are lighter, more efficient, economical and generate fewer exhaust emissions.

The engine delivers a remarkable output of one horsepower per pound of weight. Its intrinsic balance allows for the stacking of power modules and effectively lowers the cost of engine fabrication and maintenance.

The opoc® engine uses 50 percent fewer parts than a conventional engine thanks to the omission of cylinder heads and valve-train systems. It requires only conventional components, materials and processes.

"Consistent with our leadership strategy, Navistar continues to seek innovative products which differentiate us from the marketplace," said Eric Tech, president, Navistar Engine Group.

EcoMotors' also counts among their intellectual property an electrically controlled turbocharger that incorporates an electric motor in the turbo assembly to regulate boost pressure resulting in a long list of unique advantages, which include improved combustion efficiency, an electronically variable compression ratio, improved fuel economy, enhanced drivability thanks to improved low-end torque, the end of turbo lag and heat recovery through electrical generation.

The motor also uses developments in clutch technology that take advantage of the engine's modular displacement capability. The clutch assembly is housed between two engine modules, engaged when vehicle power demands require both modules to engage. When the extra power is not needed, the clutch is disengaged, allowing the second module to stop completely. This improves fuel economy by reducing parasitic losses and also improves the efficiency of the primary module.

This page is updated on April 18, 2013.