Orbital Engine Corp. Ltd., the company best-known for its dogged development of the 2-stroke engine for transportation applications, has all but left the 2-stroke behind as it morphs into a automotive supplier with plenty of new business activity.

Last month, Orbital named a new CEO, Peter Cook, who takes over from longtime CEO Kim Schlunke, as Schlunke is transitioning to a position that Orbital says, “will free Kim to ensure that the uptake (of Orbital technology) by our customers is smooth.”

Meanwhile, although a world economic slowdown hasn't bypassed Orbital, the company moves along with promising new endeavors that include a just-inked deal to supply its air-assisted direct-injection system to Piaggio, Europe's largest motorcycle/scooter maker. The Orbital air-assist DI helps make the Piaggio engine, at 7.6 hp, the most powerful 50-cc engine in production, says Orbital.

The company also continues to work with automotive customers like General Motors Corp., which earlier this year showed its XV8 concept V-8, also employing Orbital's air-assist DI system. Orbital also is in a joint-development initiative with catalyst maker Johnson Matthey to improve the applicability of gasoline direct-injection engines in regions that do not enjoy a wide availability of low-sulfur gasoline — regions like the North America.