Westport announces natural gas HPDI engine technology generation 2.0
VANCOUVER – Westport Innovations Inc., a developer of natural gas engine and vehicle technologies, has announced an update to its Westport high pressure direct injection (Westport HPDI) second generation or "HPDI 2.0" development program.
Westport has also identified plans to further refine investment programs to align with its original equipment manufacturer (OEM) customers and the global pace of natural gas vehicle adoption and related infrastructure build out.
Westport currently has several engine development programs underway with multiple OEMs who are attracted to the unique Westport HPDI “diesel-like” power, torque and fuel economy benefits of a true compression ignition engine powered by natural gas. The introduction of Westport HPDI 2.0 is expected to provide dramatically better system costs and better compatibility with advanced diesel engine platforms compared to earlier generation systems.
A key component of the HPDI 2.0 system is a brand new family of high pressure fuel injectors, co-developed with Delphi Automotive PLC (Delphi), designed to provide better cost, smaller size and improved packaging compared to prior generation Westport HPDI injector designs. The new generation injectors are running in engine tests today and are on display at the Delphi booth at the IAA Commercial Vehicles Show in Hannover, Germany. The HPDI 2.0 fuel system is expected to further increase OEM interest in natural gas products with industry-leading performance, fuel economy and flexibility. It is designed to provide stronger economics to truck customers across a broad range of engine displacements and applications compared to traditional natural gas engine technology.
The other major element of the HPDI 2.0 system is an upgraded liquefied natural gas (LNG) fuel storage and supply system, which includes the next generation Westport LNG tank with an integrated second generation cryogenic LNG fuel pump. Significant reduction in costs combined with major enhancements in reliability, durability, and serviceability deliver substantial improvements in customer operating uptime and return on investment. In addition, with the system’s unique capabilities to exploit cold (unsaturated) LNG, station complexity is reduced and range is improved. The HPDI 2.0 LNG components will also be incorporated into the Westport iCE PACK LNG Tank System product for spark ignited engines, including the Cummins Westport ISX12 G.
As previously disclosed, Westport’s OEM customers are testing trucks with some HPDI 2.0 components in China and Europe. The Weichai Westport HPDI 12-litre engine has recently received China V emissions certification from the National Passenger Car Quality Supervision & Inspection Center (Tianjin Automotive Test Center), opening the door for delivery of the first customer test trucks while OEM customers are testing trucks using Westport HPDI in Europe. Products will be available for controlled customer fleet deployment in 2015 in pre-production volumes. However, Westport is working with OEMs to incorporate of the next generation injector to take advantage of the new performance and cost benefits. Westport has calculated that heavy-duty trucks in China incorporating the full HPDI 2.0 system could be delivered with a typical 18 month payback.
Market development in both regions requires alignment with infrastructure investment, experience and training with these new high performance vehicles. Shifting Westport’s focus to the new injector and related fuel system may delay the volume launch in the short term, but it is expected to result in materially better component costs, more efficient product investment, and improved customer economics compared to both diesel engines and other natural gas engine technologies in the future. In the near term, Westport expects fleets with high performance requirements to see HPDI trucks as offering unique capabilities and be encouraged to commit to adopting LNG with a clear path to upgraded and continued development of this technology.
The needs of customers in the primary markets for natural gas powered trucks-regional haul and dedicated routes-in North America are being met with currently available natural gas engines from Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI), Westport’s joint venture with Cummins Inc. Today CWI is supplying virtually all natural gas engines in the U.S. commercial vehicle space. The development of natural gas infrastructure in the U.S. to support long-haul trucking has been steady but localized in a few regions over the last year. However, the new Cummins Westport ISX12 G spark ignited natural gas engine, introduced in 2013, which has established itself as a strong performer in regional trucking applications, is encouraging the development of both LNG and CNG infrastructure. It is clear that to meet the needs of the trucking community, the industry will need a broad range of engines and truck chassis, as well as investment in new infrastructure. Westport, together with its OEM customers, will pace investments in new products in order to match availability of refueling infrastructure and other market conditions.
“Westport is developing high performance natural gas engines that will be produced on the same production lines as the most advanced diesel engines, and will set the technology standard as natural gas penetrates global markets in Asia, Europe and North America,” said David Demers, CEO of Westport.
“Our OEM partners have a successful and long-term view of the industry and so do we, and we are pleased to see continuing interest in our latest generation of HPDI technology from an ever-increasing list of leading OEMs.”