EcoMotors, With Navistar as a Customer, Pushes Forward With New Engine

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of vehicles like the Chevy Volt, or be doubled in cars to improve efficiency. One opoc module could turn off in situations requiring lower power needs, like city traffic.

EcoMotors is looking to a Michigan crop of engine developers to turn its prototypes and research into commercial realities. The company has hired three computational fluid dynamicists to run combustions tests on its product prior to building. “We try to do that in math and simulation before we make the hardware; it’s faster and less expensive,” says Runkle.

The company also wants the federal government to help. EcoMotors is looking to few manufacturing sites formerly occupied by Big 3 automakers for future production, and has applied for an advanced technology vehicle manufacturing loan from the U.S. Department of Energy. Uncle Sam is in the final stages of analysis for that application, Runkle says. EcoMotors has also applied for a grant to develop a clutch for its duel module opoc engine (where two engines are stacked for greater efficiency).

“The Detroit area is a good place for us to be recruiting from and to,” says Runkle. “We’re looking for engine people.”

Runkle should have lots more to say on why Detroit and Michigan are ideal locations for building a forward thinking engine company. So come check him out at Michigan 2031, a forum that will brainstorm the innovation landscape in Michigan—in areas like life sciences, IT, cleantech, and transportation—in 20 years. Sign up here.

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