Cummins Westport Inc. (CWI) is a joint venture established in 2001 between Cummins and Westport Innovations Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia that has sold more than 35,000 alternative fuel engines worldwide.
The joint venture’s natural gas engines are available as factory-installed options from more than 50 truck and bus manufacturers, establishing CWI as a leading global provider of midrange automotive natural gas engines.
Recent advances in the extraction of natural gas in North America and elsewhere is encouraging natural gas producers and distributors to look at heavy-duty transportation as a new market, and is also leading government to view natural gas as one way to reduce their dependence on oil imports.
These new developments have also resulted in record low prices for natural gas, a benefit that translates into tremendous fuel cost savings opportunities for the transportation industry.
The low fuel cost, combined with increased reliability and performance with Cummins Westport’s ISL G engine, has driven significant new opportunities for natural gas, particularly in the cab-over refuse truck market where natural gas trucks now account for 50 percent of truck orders.
The on-highway truck segment activity is increasing with developing fuel infrastructure announcements. And Cummins is responding with a 12-liter natural gas truck engine, the Cummins Westport ISX12 G. This will be available in early 2013.
“The opportunity to significantly reduce fleet fuel costs with natural gas, and the availability of Cummins Westport engines in a wide range of applications, is creating significant interest with customers,” said Jim Arthurs, President of Cummins Westport.
Perhaps the most visible example of the rising popularity of natural gas engines is transit buses and refuse trucks. Cities across the world have been turning to natural gas engines for their mass transit and trash collection systems to reduce pollution and provide some alternatives to the price fluctuations in petroleum-based fuels in recent years.
Cummins natural gas engines are now powering bus and truck fleets on every continent except Antarctica.
In addition to the engines produced by Cummins Westport, Cummins has been producing natural gas engines outside the joint venture for the off-highway market for several years.
The Company is currently at work on a natural gas version of the QSK95 engine, the Company’s powerful high-speed diesel, unveiled in November 2011. And in March 2012, Cummins announced it had started development on a 15-liter Heavy Duty natural gas engine to help meet demand for on-highway applications that is expected to be in limited production by 2014.
That engine will be larger than those built by Cummins Westport, which range in size from 5.9 liters to the 12-liter ISX12 G now under development.