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Westport signs agreement with GM to develop natural gas engines

ABR Staff Writer Published 29 June 2011

Westport Innovations, a provider of alternative fuel, low-emissions transportation technologies, has signed an agreement with General Motors (GM) to develop advanced natural gas engine controls, emissions and performance strategies for light-duty vehicles.

Westport is planning to open a new technical center in Michigan, US the company currently employs 15 people in Farmington Hills, Michigan, and plans to add more people and invest in facilities as demand for natural gas-powered, alternative-fuel vehicles.

Westport president of light-duty division Ian Scott said the company is excited to work with GM and invest in advanced natural gas technology for the automotive market.

"This technology offers the promises of a cleaner, lower cost fuel and reduced carbon footprint, while advancing the use of domestic energy and this agreement demonstrates Westport's success as an advanced technology partner to global automotive manufacturers," Scott said.

"Westport's recent announcement regarding the planned acquisition of Emer, of Italy, is an integral part of our strategy to provide partners, such as GM, with the most advanced integrated solutions."

Westport light-duty division MD of North American vehicle programs John Lapetz said natural gas is 97% North American sourced and much less expensive than gasoline or diesel fuels, it also produces about 15 - 20% less CO2 than those fuels.

"Hybridization, lower-displacement with turbo charging, direct injection and other fuel-saving technologies now being applied to gasoline and diesel engines, can also be applied to natural gas fueled engines for even greater improvements in efficiency and fuel cost savings," Lapetz said.