Natural-gas engine developer Westport Innovations Inc. struck a new agreement to design and develop a spark-ignited natural gas system, for a new series of compressed natural gas (CNG) commercial vehicles. The partner is GAZ Group, a Russian commercial vehicle OEM, which will build and market the vehicles based on the technology.
"As the industry leader in Russia, GAZ and Westport have built a strong partnership over the last few years and we look forward to working with them to create this exciting next generation CNG product line," stated Westport executive vice president Elaine Wong, executive vice president of Westport.
GAZ Group is Russia’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. It produces light-duty and medium-duty commercial vehicles, buses, heavy-duty trucks, passenger cars, power trains and automotive parts at 13 plants of Russia.
Vancouver-based Westport Innovations develops alternative fuel, low-emissions technologies and manufactures engines that operate on compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, hydrogen, and biofuels, e.g., landfill gas. Its operating divisions focus on light-duty automotive systems, components, and engines; and natural gas-enabling technology for heavy-duty diesel engines.
It has a number of joint ventures at work, developing natural-gas engines with companies like General Motors, Caterpillar, Tata Motors, and others, and it supplies natural-gas engines to numerous truck builders, among others.
The new WP580 Engine Management System that Westport is developing will be supplied for GAZ's YaMZ-530 4.4L and 6.6L diesel engines. It will incorporate Westport components and technology, according to a multi-year development and supply agreement.
"In the past three years, we have been selling CNG and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) components into the light-duty market in Russia, which is a key market for Westport, and have gained market leadership," stated Maurizio Grando, managing director of the Westport Applied Technologies business unit.
"The innovative technology in the WP580 system is based on years of experience in natural-gas research and development activities, and our experience in markets around the world. We are honored to be selected by GAZ as the partner for this new generation of products," Grando continued.
This will be the first use of the WP580 system in Russia. The products are set to enter commercial production in 2014.
The WP580 is described as “a highly configurable system” developed specifically developed for spark-ignited, dedicated natural-gas engines. It can be integrated with several different Westport fuel system components, offering flexibility for vehicle design and production.
The WP580’s combustion control technology promotes fuel economy and meets current and future emissions standards and onboard diagnostic requirements, according to the developer.
"Westport's engineering resources and expertise, as the global leader of natural gas-fuel technologies, will allow us to ensure high reliability and safety of gas-fueled vehicles, which is the top-priority requirement for this type of vehicles," according to Bo Andersson, GAZ Group President/CEO. "GAZ Group's new line of natural-gas engines will allow us to develop our methane bus and truck fleet to ensure low emissions level and fuel efficiency of cargo and passenger transportation in Russia."