Enerpulse Sparks Up With $5M

The automotive aftermarket mostly caters to gearheads pimping their rides with nitrous, cold air intake and turbos to better burn the competition. But a new spark plug alternative could help better burn your gasoline. Enerpulse’s Pulstar pulse plug works in place of a standard spark plug and, the company says, it can boost your car’s fuel efficiency by 6 percent. Not bad for a $25 widget. And, now that the company announced this morning that it has raised a fresh $5 million in Series B funding, maybe we can start to see more Pulstars at your local Pep Boys.

The round was lead by the Robeco Group, which previously invested in emissions reduction technology, along with SAIL Venture Partners. This brings Enerpulse’s total funding to $10.5 million. The Albuquerque, N.M.-based company plans to use the money to “establish a network of retailers around the United States and some internationally,” Enerpulse CFO Bryan Templeton told Earth2Tech.

The company estimates that a Pulstar pays for itself in about 12 months, but as gas prices rise that return on investment could be even quicker. The key difference between a pulse plug and a spark plug is a simple capacitor. Much like a camera uses a capacitor to give a burst of power to the flash, a pulse plug uses a capacitor to give off a short, powerful spark that, according to Enerpulse, burns the fuel more completely, boosting mileage and reducing emissions.

While not profitable yet, Templeton said the company is “on track” and has seen month-over-month sales grow by 25 to 30 percent. Currently employing 22, Enerpulse sells Pulstars through its website but plans to use the new financing to develop distribution channels and for marketing.

Founded in 1996, Enerpulse wants to eventually break out of the aftermarket and form partnerships with engine OEMs. “We’d love to get into an OEM platform over time,” Templeton said. “There’s a lot of testing. They have to plan out their platform and that takes 3 or 4 years. We are currently testing with some OEMs but that’d be something five years down the road for Enerpulse.”