BorgWarner Inc. has acquired two Oregon-based specialty car shops and formed a new LLC focused on developing drivetrain technology for electric vehicles.
The auto supplier acquired the assets of Rinehart Motion Systems LLC and AM Racing Inc., merged the operations of each and created Cascadia Motion LLC, said Kathy Graham, spokeswoman for BorgWarner.
The newly formed company will be headquartered in the Portland area. Brock Fraser, who had been BorgWarner's executive director of innovations and investments, is general manager of the operation. He reports to Hakan Yilmaz, chief technology officer at BorgWarner.
"Rinehart Motion Systems and AM Racing are two established companies in the specialty electric and hybrid propulsion sector," Yilmaz said in a news release. "Bringing them together as Cascadia Motion will allow us to offer design, development and production of full electric and hybrid propulsion systems for niche and low-volume manufacturing applications."
Terms of the deals, which both closed last month, were not disclosed. The company also didn't say how many employees work at each company, but the number is small and there are plans to combine them under one roof, Graham said.
"The key part for us was the fact that it enables us to do smaller prototype and development work rather than mass production runs," she said.
AM Racing, a privately held company founded in 2011, designs and manufactures racing powertrains, including electric motors and lithium battery packs. Founded in 2002, the privately held Rinehart Motion Systems supplies propulsion inverters and controls for electric and hybrid vehicles.
Cascadia Motion aims to "leverage the proficiencies" of each company to create a "start-up atmosphere designed to incubate new technologies," the release said.
BorgWarner, based in suburban Detroit, ranks No. 25 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $9.8 billion in 2017. It employs 30,000 people worldwide.
The company has been investing in EV technology for the past decade but has ramped up that investment in line with a shifting auto industry. In 2016, it finalized the $950 million acquisition of Pendleton, Ind.-based alternator and starter supplier Remy International Inc., marking a major leap into electric vehicle technology. It deepened its investment in EV the following year with a $200 million purchase of U.K.-based Sevcon Inc.