Westport Innovations Inc., a global environmental technology manufacturer, has entered into an agreement with Russian commercial vehicle manufacturer GAZ Group to design and develop spark ignited natural gas systems for a new range of GAZ Group compressed natural gas (CNG) commercial vehicles.
Westport’s new WP580 Engine Management System will be applied to GAZ’s YaMZ-530 4.4L and 6.6L diesel engines and will incorporate Westport proprietary components and technology in the multi-year development and supply agreement signed today. The first products will be introduced in commercial production in 2014.
“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,” said Elaine Wong, Executive Vice President of Westport. “Our new WP580 Engine Management System is an excellent platform for this program and we expect we can deliver superior performance and economics for GAZ customers at a time when market interest in CNG vehicles is increasing rapidly for GAZ vehicles, in Russia and many other markets.”
The WP580 Engine Management System, being introduced in Russia for the first time, is a highly configurable system that has been specifically developed for spark ignited, dedicated natural gas engine applications and can be integrated with a wide range of proprietary Westport fuel system components for flexible vehicle design and production. Its advanced combustion control technology can optimize the engine for class leading fuel economy whilst meeting existing and future emissions and onboard diagnostic requirements. Westport has also set a new benchmark with the WP580, with industry leading price performance and value.
“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,” said Maurizio Grando, Managing Director of Westport’s 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 honoured to be selected by GAZ as the partner for this new generation of products.”
“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-fuelled vehicles, which is the top-priority requirement for this type of vehicles,” said 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.”
Recently, the Russian government has supported the transition to using natural gas as a transportation fuel. A 2012 Global Strategic Business Report projects that the number of natural gas vehicles in Russia will almost double by 2018. According to various media articles, the Russian government is proposing incentives for up to 50% of road transport, public transport and road utility fleets to switch to natural gas. The Russian Ministry of Energy further recommended to reduce the tax rates for vehicles that use natural gas as a motor fuel, from January 1, 2014 through to 2020.
GAZ Group produces light and medium-duty commercial vehicles, buses, heavy-duty trucks, passenger cars, power trains and automotive components at its 13 plants located in 8 regions of Russia. GAZ Group leads the Russian commercial vehicles market, with 50% of the LCV segment and 65% of the bus segment. GAZ Group’s main shareholder is Russian Machines machine-building holding, a part of the Basic Element business group. GAZ Group headquarters is located in Nizhny Novgorod.
(Source: Westport Innovations)