Volvo Trucks North America, part of the Volvo group, has unveiled plans to launch a 13 liter heavy-duty natural gas engine featuring Westport high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology. The engine’s advanced high pressure diesel ignition technology will provide significant fuel efficiency gains compared with current natural gas products.
Under the terms of the Volvo-Westport agreement, each partner will contribute significant resources and pay for its own people and costs of the program. Westport will lead the program. When the product is launched, Westport will supply its HD system components for an agreed upon amount per engine, comparable to other such arrangements previously announced.
“The partnership with the Volvo Group is an important product development program and will help meet the increasing demand for natural gas engines and vehicles in the heavy-duty market.” said David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations.
Combined with Volvo Truck’s previously announced offering of compressed natural gas powered Volvo VNM and VNL model daycabs, the new engine will provide Volvo customers with a complete range of natural gas-powered transportation solutions.
“Despite the near-term infrastructure questions regarding widespread adoption of natural gas as a heavy-duty truck fuel, it’s clear this segment will grow over the next several years,” said Ron Huibers, president of Volvo Trucks North American Sales & Marketing. “We’re already delivering factory-built CNG-powered trucks, and as the long-haul fueling infrastructure develops, the advanced technology in our new LNG engine will provide increased range and improved fuel efficiency in a seamlessly integrated Volvo powertrain.”
The product is scheduled to launch for the North American market in 2014.
Through advanced high pressure diesel ignition technology – using trace amounts of diesel to ignite the natural gas – the LNG engine will deliver a 30 percent fuel efficiency improvement compared with spark-ignition (SI) engines, making it a viable alternative for demanding long-haul applications. The engine will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 20 percent compared with current diesel products.
The engine will accomplish these savings without sacrificing power, torque or fuel efficiency, all of which are critical attributes for on-highway operations.
(This article compiled using information from Westport Innovations and Volvo Trucks North America press releases)