Bloomberg News

Bill Gates-Backed EcoMotors Plans First Engine Factory in China

April 09, 2013

EcoMotors International, the fuel- efficient engine maker backed by billionaires Bill Gates and Vinod Khosla, chose China as the location for its first factory, which will be built with support from the automotive-parts conglomerate Anhui Zhongding Holding Group Co.

Zhongding will invest more than $200 million to build the plant in China’s Anhui province, Allen Park, Michigan-based EcoMotors said today in a statement.

Closely held EcoMotors expects the plant to produce 150,000 engines a year starting in 2014, representing $1 billion of potential revenue, Chief Executive Officer Don Runkle said in a phone interview.

The deal “gives us a toehold in the biggest engine market and fastest-growing engine market in the world,” Runkle said.

EcoMotors’s Opoc engine uses opposed pistons and cylinders that improve fuel economy and lower greenhouse-gas emissions by as much as 50 percent compared to conventional engines, Runkle said. The company has talked to potential customers including Airbus SAS, Boeing Co. (BA:US) and Generac Power Systems Inc.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Herndon in San Francisco at aherndon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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