Bill Gates-backed EcoMotors buys Katech

Motor technology developer EcoMotors has acquired Katech. No financial terms were disclosed. Based in Michigan, Katech is a maker of advanced engines and powertrains. Also, EM has named Tony Mannarino as CEO of Katech. EM is backed by Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates and Braemar Energy Ventures.


Allen Park, Mich., March 12, 2014 – EcoMotors, Inc., (EM) announced today the purchase of Katech, Inc., the Michigan-based manufacturing company known for developing advanced engines and powertrains, adding additional expertise, manufacturing and testing capabilities to an already growing company.
EM will use Katech’s proven testing, research and development, and manufacturing capabilities to continue to research, design and build advanced engine technologies that seek to redefine the internal combustion engine, while maintaining Katech’s core business and providing new paths for growth.
“The purchase of Katech will significantly grow EM’s ability to bring things from design to life at a rapid pace, taking us further down the path of redefining how the world is powered,” said Amit Soman , EM president and chief operating officer. “With this, we are adding a remarkable team with a long-standing reputation for high quality and a proven track record in the space.”
EM has appointed Tony Mannarino as CEO of Katech and to oversee day-to-day operations. Former Katech CEO John F. (Fritz) Kayl will maintain a consulting role with the company. Under EM, Katech will continue to operate as the Katech brand, maintaining its current business operations and staff.
“It’s great to see another Michigan company taking advantage of what we’ve built at Katech during the past 37 years,” said Kayl. “This new relationship will accelerate change in the engine industry and will allow both companies to realize their full potential.”
Mannarino said, “Katech and EM have a shared goal to develop ground-breaking technology. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can do together.”
EM is a privately held company, founded in 2008, whose primary investors are Khosla Ventures, Bill Gates and Braemar Energy Ventures. EM is challenging the conventions about the size, efficiency and versatility of the internal combustion engine, starting with the EM’s opposed-piston opposed-cylinder (opoc®) engine. The opoc engine architecture is smaller and lighter than conventional engines, with 50 percent fewer components. The engine is highly versatile, offers unprecedented power density and has a broad range of applications in both vehicles and machines.
EM Founder, Chairman, Chief Technical Officer, and inventor of the opoc technology, Professor Peter Hofbauer, said, “Katech has an exemplary reputation in engine development and I’m confident we can learn from each other to make both companies even stronger.”
Founded in 1977 and based in Clinton Township, Mich., Katech specializes in design, prototyping, testing, research and development, and manufacturing of engines and engine technology.
Katech has developed and produced technology for multiple automakers, including General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Katech engines have also powered the famous GM Corvette Racing team that has dominated the U.S., and global GT racing circuits by capturing six championships and winning the legendary 24 Hours of LeMans six times.
This announcement comes on the heels of news of EM’s $200+ million joint venture with First Auto Works Jingye Engine Company to develop, manufacture, sell and service the opoc engine technology in China.

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