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A second company promises 100 mpg engine

EcoMotors says it can hit 100 miles per gallon by 2011. At that rate, you could get across the country and only have to stop once for gas.

Michael Kanellos Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Michael Kanellos is editor at large at CNET News.com, where he covers hardware, research and development, start-ups and the tech industry overseas.
Michael Kanellos

At the Detroit auto show, attendees are going to be talking about the magic 100 mile per gallon mark.

EcoMotors will be at the show to talk about its diesel engine which it says will let cars go 100 miles a gallon by 2011. At that level, you could get across the country and only have to stop once for gas.

Khosla Ventures has invested in the company. The firm also has an interest in Transonic Combustion, which has developed a fuel injection system for getting diesels (as well as other types of engines) to go 100 miles per gallon. The trick is to burn the fuel far more efficiently. That gassy smell that often comes out of diesel engines is un-combusted fuel. VCs often persuade their companies to work together, so you one day may see collaboration between EcoMotors and Transonic, if it isn't occurring already.

The X Prize Foundation, meanwhile, is holding a contest for ecologically friendly vehicles. The winner will be the group that can come up with a car that hits the 100 mpg mark, but in a car that is affordable--and they are serious about the affordable part, the organizers have said.

EcoMotors is run by Peter Hofbauer. The company says that members of its engineering team have been designing since 1967, or about the time Hot Wheels were invented. Company employees have worked on high-level projects at Volkswagen, Ford, and Daimler Benz.