Will Moller International / Freedom Motors Ever Produce the Rotapower Rotary Engine?

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We are now just a month shy of a year since Moller first announced having received RFQ's for a total of 900,000 of their Rotapower rotary engines.  Eight months ago, they claimed to be in the final stages of their manufacturing agreements.  Earlier this week, they now claim to have signed a pre-contract (terms sheet) major manufacturer agreement with an un-named manufacturer.  Only someone following EEstor's "progress" can take heart that these products will ever reach their intended market.

Per their press release, they've only needed $3.5 million in funding to satisfy the requirements to complete their contract, and in an era where companies like Tesla Motors, Fisker Automotive and A123 can pull in $100's of millions, why is Moller International stuck needing only $3.5 million?

Moller International / Freedom Motors' Rotapower rotary engine meets ultra-low emissions standards while maintaining the excellent power to weight ratio of a rotary engine, making it a perfect candidate for an extended-range electric vehicle platform.  No doubt, this is how they've managed to receive RFQ's for nearly a million of their engines.  Yet, I have read how they've spent their time sorting out their product plan - devising a system of "stacking" rotor units to flesh out their product offerings.  Given that their RFQ's were likely targeting a specific displacement, their time would have been better spent on building the acceptance test samples that would help them close their sales.

This may be another case of the right technology in the wrong hands, as with EEstor.

[Source: Moller International / Freedom Motors / Rotapower]

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Comments (14)
  1. I have seen enough of these world beater engines come and go in my lifetime that I am about as "from Missouri" and anyone can get. "Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see", says I.
    I would say that your final sentence above is charmingly charitable, LOL. Best regards.

  2. According to the Reuters press release, when they made the original announcement of a 'conditional' order, they needed to secure a joint venture partner or manufacturing licensee to actually put the motor into production.
    None of us are privy to the 'conditions' placed on the order so can only speculate but with a $1 Billion order you'd think that would make the job of finding an OEM manufacturer a bit easier.
    Unfortunately for the media, these things don't always happen on a conveniently packaged schedule. (ie. it doesn't always go to plan) Research James Dyson, it took the bloke 15 years to get his vacuum cleaner into full scale production.

  3. Paul,
    Vacuum cleaners aren't at the center of worlwide environmental, economic and security concerns. I can't think of a product, other than EEstor, that is more timely and essential, yet not progressing.

  4. Jason
    You don't know what you're talking about!
    The Moller is simply a small Wankle rotary. Sachs made 300cc rotaries in the 60s. It is still an internal combustion engine, has been around since 1957 and something like 26 different manufacturers have licensed it over the decades, including GM.
    All but one company , Mazda who licensed it in 1967, dropped it because it isn't a fuel efficient motor. Only Mazda produced them in volume and they have pretty much dropped it too with only 1 car running it now.
    I grew up with Rotary powered cars and they do have good power density, but they simply use alot of fuel so.... this is not going to save the world pal.
    I was simply trying to point out, it can take decades to get a product manufactured if you're an independent inventor.... like Moller.
    You're comparing him to a list of KPCB backed ventures (inc EEstor)

  5. Paul, the Rotapower uses ceramics to eliminate the use of oil to achieve ultralow emissions standards and improved efficiency over previous designs. CA is pushing for vehicles to move to an ultralow emissions regulations.
    $3.5 million should be easy to raise when you have RFQ's for 900,000 units. I could see this as an essential component for hybrids.

  6. "the Rotapower uses ceramics to eliminate the use of oil to achieve ultralow emissions standards and improved efficiency over previous designs."
    Much easier said than done. Mazda used breathrough ceramic technology to stop the poor sealing and horrendous oil burning from their early Wankel based designs. And they still burned a great gobs of gasoline.
    I'm with Noel Park on this one, seeing is believing.

  7. Noel and jeffhre, having actually grown up in Missouri, I agree that I would like to see these products more closely, but they were verified at UC Davis, birthplace of the plug-in hybrid. Right now, I am satisfied with EC Davis' certifications, and want to know what's up with the execution of the business plan.

  8. Hey, isn't this the same company with the Skycar?

  9. Rashid, yes. If you go to www.moller.com, the main webpage provides a link to www.rotapower.com, or something like that.

  10. I have been following Moller and the Skycar since 1986ish. The motor has actually been spun off to Freedom Motors, for all purposes other than powering the Skycar. They are getting ready to start a funding round to get the 3.5 million needed. I would love for these guys to get into bed with Fisker Automotive to provide the extended range for Project Nina.

  11. #10, David Woodward, Amen, brother, but beyond that, I want these small, efficient, quiet, ultra low emissions yet powerful engines to be used in many applications - leaf blowers, generators, etc.

  12. WTH? "horrendous oil burning" "burned a great gobs of gasoline" that's pretty much not the case today (as it was waaaay back then), check your your facts, jeez.
    Look here the RX8 super sports car with a 200+hp, RENESIS 2-rotor, rotary engine gets 16/23 mpg. Christ, my 1972 Maserati got 8+mpg and would have a tough time beating today's over-powered RX8. Anyhow, sports cars are not going to be economical like my 1999 nice but crap Honda sedan at 23/30 mpg or my old fine 1990 100hp Honda Civic HB at 32/40 mpg.
    This newer rotary technology has solved so many problems that *if* they sold the engines to me i'd buy several for my own 'green' projects. =)

  13. I firmly believe all of these and other great designs are deliberately made most difficult to procure for the innovators/manufacturers,because there are certain people in the world economy controlling who does what,when and where,also how much money they can make from it without spoiling their large and greedy enterprises,what do you lot think of that,or are you all stupified by their bullshit stories about global warming and such ???!!!

  14. Having followed the adventures of Paul Moller, and actually having written a check to contribute to the cause (of which I never got so much as a thank you) I can safely say these plans are definitely in the hands of people who are best at siphoning income to themselves, not actually producing something.

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