EcoMotors and First Auto Works join hands to build advanced engines in China
In a bid to expand its business, U.S.-based EcoMotors, Inc. has joined hands with the Chinese First Auto Works Jingye Engine Company (FAW JY) to develop, manufacture, sell and service the opoc engine technology in China. The joint venture, named BEM Shanxi Co. Ltd, is an important step for EcoMotors to capture the Chinese market. For FAW JY, this agreement not only allows the company to bring the new technology to China but also helps develop alternative fuel powertrains on the opoc architecture that use natural gas and methanol.
A business backed by Bill Gates and venture-capitalist Vinod Khosla, this joint venture is expected to put the start-up’s next generation of engines into mass production. The joint venture will initially focus on building diesel engines in China, which are used by trucks. Over four million trucks and vans were sold in China last year, which is a 6.4% jump from the previous year.
The Chinese partner, which is investing more than USD200 million in building the commercial-scale plant in Shanxi Province, will retain a 51% ownership of the joint venture, while EcoMotors will provide intellectual property on a non-exclusive basis retaining 49%. Preparations for the project are expected to begin late this year at the new facility that is estimated to produce 100,000-150,000 engines every year, from 2015.
For EcoMotors, this partnership is a remarkable milestone, which gives credence to the potential of the company’s engine technology, said Amit Soman, EcoMotor’s president and chief operating officer. This will provide customers in China access to affordable technology, which will have a positive effect on the country’s emissions from the transport sector.
FAW Jiefang is also equally excited about the joint venture. Yu Bowei, FAW JY’s executive vice president and FAW Jiefang Engine Company’s assistant general manager said the opoc engine has the potential to contribute to a low-carbon future for China. Located in Jinzhong City, Shanxi Province, this joint venture will be an important part of the city’s clean automotive industry and value chain, he said.
EcoMotors Inc., which claims that its engines offer 20% greater fuel economy and are around 30% lighter than traditional engines, hopes it can bring down pollution levels in China. FAW Jingye Vice President Yu Bowei said the EcoMotors engine has the potential to contribute to China’s low-carbon future.
Welcoming the arrival of the opoc engine technology, Chang Zhiren, vice mayor of Jinzhong who is in charge of industrial development, said the opoc architecture comprises 50% fewer components and lesser mass than conventional internal combustion engines. The fully modular capability of the engine offers gains on efficiency and helps achieve nearly half the fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of traditional engines. The reduced mass and weight also gives automakers a chance to rethink vehicle design, to enhance efficiency further, through improved aerodynamics.
(March 7, 2014)