EcoMotors International Inc. said it has raised a Series B round from new investor Bill Gates and returning backer Khosla Ventures, with the aim of bringing its new internal combustion engine closer to commercialization.
The round totaled $23.5 million, said Don Runkle, chief executive of the Troy, Mich.-based company. The company is now valued at between $50 million and $100 million, according to Runkle, who declined to provide further details on the valuation.
EcoMotors' engine, which is in development, runs on gasoline or diesel but takes up half the space and weighs about half as much as a comparable standard engine at a given power, according to Runkle. One of its engines generates 300 horsepower and weighs 340 pounds, the CEO said, compared to a "world-class 300 horsepower diesel engine for commercial vehicles that weighs 1,100 pounds."
Runkle said he pitched his idea to Bill Gates, whom he had met previously, about six weeks ago. The applications of EcoMotors technology in the developing world are what appealed to Gates, according to Runkle.
"He has considerable interest in health and education. And low-cost transportation of goods and people is a big part to getting to a healthy and educated society," Runkle said.
EcoMotors estimates that the engines' fuel economy will be between 15% and 50% better than comparable standard engines, and that their emissions will be lower because the engines are more efficient than standard....MORE