VANCOUVER, BC – Westport Innovations Inc. (TSX:WPT / NASDAQ:WPRT), engineering the world’s most advanced natural gas engines and vehicles, today unveiled its next generation of high pressure direct injection technology platform dubbed “Westport™ HPDI 2.0.” This new generation of the class-leading natural gas technology will provide global vehicle and engine original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with a vertically integrated natural gas solution with breakthrough price, performance, and fuel economy. Developed to the most rigorous OEM quality standards, Westport™ HPDI 2.0 system components will be manufactured in state-of-the-art, high-quality facilities, offer ready integration into OEM operations globally, and provide an attractive way to reach scalable volume deliveries as natural gas markets mature and grow.
“Where performance, emissions and efficiency matter, HPDI 2.0 offers benefits that will be irresistible to fleet customers shifting to natural gas in their operations,” said David Demers, CEO of Westport. “As the potential for natural gas is now apparent in all global vehicle and off-road markets, HPDI 2.0 will allow OEMs to introduce high performance, fully integrated products that match state of the art diesel performance, but can be produced without expensive and challenging investments in facilities, product development, and testing.”
Westport is now working with seven OEM applications with engine sizes ranging from trucks to trains at various stages of development with the goal of vertically integrated Westport™ HPDI 2.0 OEM product lines.
Westport™ HPDI 2.0 is the only natural gas technology capable of delivering performance and fuel economy equivalent to that of current high performance diesel-fueled engines, but with diesel substitution of over 90%. This combination of high performance and high efficiency is critical for heavy-duty engines in demanding commercial applications.
Diesel engines have dominated commercial vehicle and heavy-duty off-road applications for decades, despite higher initial costs for diesel engines compared to gasoline engines, and the recent volatility and higher prices for diesel fuel. Energy efficiency, engine durability, high torque, low maintenance, and industry familiarity with the diesel engine mean that overall life-cycle cost of operation have kept the engine a mainstay in commercial vehicles.
However, Westport™ HPDI will allow diesel customers to switch to natural gas, which is much cheaper than diesel fuel in most parts of the world, without sacrificing performance or energy efficiency. Engines incorporating Westport™ HPDI 2.0 technology are engineered to be as similar to diesel-fueled versions as possible, minimizing capital investment and operational changes in the field.
Higher energy efficiency simply means less fuel burned, resulting in more money that the operator can save, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The compression ratio of an engine with Westport™ HPDI is the same as the diesel engine on which it is based, which results in fewer changes to engine components and preservation of the fuel economy benefits associated with high compression.
Westport’s proprietary, patented HPDI technology utilizes the same Diesel thermodynamic cycle used by diesel fuel. This Diesel cycle is inherently more efficient than the Otto thermodynamic cycle used by spark ignited (SI) gasoline and natural gas engines. Aside from the increase in efficiency, typical Diesel cycle engines—including engines with Westport™ HPDI—do not use a throttle to control the air-fuel ratio, as the gas directly injected into the combustion chamber at the end of the compression stroke can burn over a wide range of air fuel ratios. Current SI engines have to use a throttle to meter the air to control the air/fuel mixture resulting in more constricted air flow into the engine and reduced fuel efficiency.
Most current natural gas engines used in mobile applications require up to 30% reduction in compression ratio and 15% to 20% reduction in peak torque output to avoid the risk of engine-damaging knock, which reduces fuel economy and performance. Late-cycle direct injection of fuel—a principle fundamental to the Westport™ HPDI architecture—is the only combustion approach that eliminates the danger of engine knocking. In SI gasoline and natural gas engines, air and fuel are pre-mixed before entering the combustion chamber. Knock can occur when combustion of the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder starts off correctly in response to ignition by the spark plug, but one or more pockets of air/fuel mixture explode outside the envelope of the normal combustion front. SI engines that run on natural gas need a lower compression ratio to reduce the chance of engine knock. The compression ratio must be low enough to ensure combustion events do not begin until after compression is complete and the spark plug is fired. Inevitably, lower energy efficiency is the result, which means more fuel burned to achieve the same level of work.
Westport™ HPDI uses natural gas as the primary fuel along with a small amount of diesel as an ignition source. The two fuels are not pre-mixed with the intake air before they enter the combustion chamber so there is no risk of engine knock and therefore no need to lower the compression ratio and peak torque output. As compared to diesel fuel, directly injected natural gas burns with a lower adiabatic flame temperature and has a low propensity to the formation of carbon particles and therefore offers inherent nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions benefits that provide more product engineering flexibility to allow powertrain designers to increase potential performance and customer value.
Equally important to vehicle performance and operability, fuel storage and delivery is often ignored or treated as an afterthought when converting engines to use natural gas. Westport vehicles and technology have logged millions of miles over the past few years, and it is clear that high performance natural gas engines will need sophisticated fuel delivery and storage systems to fully exploit the potential of natural gas as a primary fuel.
HPDI 2.0 continues the evolution of Westport natural gas storage and delivery systems with a new generation of proprietary fuel tank, fuel pump, and system controls that can match the vehicle range, performance, and driveability of diesel whether the vehicle is a long-haul truck, a locomotive, or a ship.
Westport™ HPDI 2.0 is a complete architecture, offering OEMs flexibility to differentiate their natural gas product lines easily while also maintaining maximum commonality with their conventional diesel fueled products. We think it’s the future of natural gas. With the development of Westport™ HPDI 2.0 we have captured many significant new proprietary technologies that will extend the reach of our HPDI patent portfolio for the next 20 years. HPDI 2.0 is protected by global patents. Westport has filed 42 patent applications for new inventions related to Westport™ HPDI since 2007. Westport remains committed to continuous innovation and improvement.
Exclusive Westport™ HPDI 2.0 systems features include:
Overall, Westport™ HPDI 2.0 will provide a compelling combination of diesel-like power, torque, fuel efficiency, and engine braking performance in a natural gas engine—making it ideal for almost all commercial freight applications.
Westport first generation HPDI systems have been delivered on more than 1,200 Peterbilt and Kenworth trucks since its first wide-scale introduction in 2010. As noted in previous news releases and customer communication, Westport is committed to the continuation of its class-leading support for all our existing customers with the first generation of HPDI.
In partnership with Peterbilt and Kenworth dealers, Westport will be able to offer compatible next generation system features to our existing customers, as some HPDI 2.0 components are applicable to first generation HPDI. The benefits are expected to be reduced costs, improved components, and increased durability and performance. For customers, further information is available from your Westport representative.
Westport HPDI 2.0 has been designed for simplicity, performance and a reduction in overall system costs. For the first time, Westport expects OEM Westport™ HPDI vehicles to be competitively priced with SI-based systems. The increased performance in torque and related power in Westport™ HPDI, combined with the best fuel economy and related emissions profile and the fully integrated engineered Westport™ HPDI 2.0 products will give OEMs and their customers the ultimate natural gas engine and vehicle performance and reliability, and strong economic value particularly in high fuel use applications.
Westport™ HPDI 2.0 is in development now with a number of global OEMs and Westport anticipates first availability of customer products in late 2014 and 2015.
According to the International Energy Agency, world oil demand for commercial road freight and other heavy-duty transport modes, including rail, totalled approximately 273 billion gallons in 2012. The U.S. Energy Information Association predicts that the price of LNG will remain below the price of petroleum diesel for at least the next two decades and be approximately 33% below in 2035, with a gallon of diesel expected to be selling for $4.55 compared to a diesel gallon equivalent of LNG at $3.05. At these rates, if the world changes the way it moves goods by shifting to natural gas, these transport modes could save over $400 billion per year. The market for natural gas in transportation in China is bourgeoning. According to the International Energy Agency, natural gas demand in China’s commercial road transport sector will reach around three times higher than today’s levels by 2035.
At Westport Fuel Systems, we are driving innovation to power a cleaner tomorrow. We are inventors, engineers, manufacturers and suppliers of advanced clean fuel systems and components that can change the way the world moves. Our technology delivers performance, fuel efficiency and environmental benefits to address the challenges of global climate change and urban air quality. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, we serve our customers in more than 70 countries with leading global transportation brands. At Westport Fuel Systems, we think ahead. For more information, visit www.wfsinc.com.
This document contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking information is typically identified by words such as “anticipate”, “estimate”, “expect”, “forecast”, “may”, “will”, “could”, “plan”, “intend”, “should”, “believe”, “outlook”, “project”, “potential”, “target” and similar words suggesting future events or future performance. In particular, this press release contains forward-looking information which includes statements regarding the launch date, availability and pricing for the Westport HPDI 2.0 systems, place of Westport’s HPDI technology in the future natural gas technology ecosystem, demand for our products, the future success of our business and technology strategies, intentions of partners and potential customers, the performance and competitiveness of our products and expansion of product coverage and future market opportunities. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are based on assumptions that may cause our actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activities, performance or achievements expressed in or implied by these forward looking statements. These risks and assumptions include risks and assumptions related to our revenue growth, operating results, industry and products, the general economy, conditions of and access to the capital and debt markets, governmental policies and regulation, technology innovations, fluctuations in foreign exchange rates, the availability and price of natural gas, global government stimulus packages, the acceptance of and shift to natural gas vehicles in fleet markets, the development of competing technologies as well as other risk factors and assumptions that may affect our actual results, performance or achievements or financial position discussed in our most recent Annual Information Form and other filings with securities regulators. Readers should not place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date they were made. We disclaim any obligation to publicly update or revise such statements to reflect any change in our expectations or in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statements may be based, or that may affect the likelihood that actual results will differ from those set forth in the forward- looking statements except as required by National Instrument 51-102. The contents of any website, RSS feed or Twitter account referenced in this press release are not incorporated by reference herein.
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