September 8, 2010

Have your clean truck and power it too!

Proven Performance in Heavy-Duty Natural Gas Trucks

LNG trucks equipped with early-generation Westport HD Systems have been in service in North American fleets since 2000. Extensive in-service experience allowed Westport to bring advanced systems to the commercial market with confidence, and today there are fleets operating LNG trucks powered by Westport HD in Canada, the United States, and Australia.

We caught up with a few people on the ground driving, purchasing, or selling heavy-duty trucks, and we spoke to them about their experiences with LNG trucks.

With over 32 years in the transportation industry, Vic LaRosa knows trucks. Vic is President of California’s Total Transportation Systems Inc. (TTSI). He also knows the impact the trucking industry has made on the environment. When Vic saw an opportunity to add trucks to his fleet that run on cheaper, cleaner burning, domestically available natural gas, without compromising performance or fuel economy, he seized it with the Westport HD GX engine and LNG fuel system.

“We pretty much determined that the future was going to really dictate a major movement to alternative fuels,” says Vic. “The only thing being developed in the marketplace at the time that was truly alternative and would get the job done was LNG.”

“There was a tremendous fear about natural gas. It was an unknown. There were a lot of people that were not too confident [in] natural gas. In the last year, a lot of that angst has disappeared. The drivers are really starting to embrace it. They’re finding that the technology does work.”

On the driving experience, Vic finds the trucks capable and adaptable: “We haul anything from… 25-30 thousand pound loads all the way to maximum loads of 44-45 thousand pounds, which would be scrap-metal. The driving experience has been very, very good. It’s a quiet ride; it’s a comfortable ride; it gets the job done in terms of horsepower. We’re very pleased with the results.”

Listen to Vic explain why he chose LNG trucks powered by Westport HD.

“I was opposed to it at first. I’m an old-school trucker. I thought I was going to lose a lot of power, but the power is pretty much the same. Now I’m a big believer. I like it a lot. No smell. No fumes. It’s the perfect truck.”
— Allen Williams Jr., Independent Contractor, TTSI

“The difference between an LNG truck and a regular diesel tractor is really none. It has the same amount of horsepower, it pulls the same commodities, the same weight; we’re able to travel the same distance on a full tank of fuel. It just provide(s) a cleaner environment.”
— Fernando Bogarin, General Manager, TTSI

“Since LNG is pretty new out there I wasn’t too sure how it was going to be. One day in here changed my mind. One day is all it took, because I was just impressed with it. It’s a lot cheaper to run LNG compared to your diesel, so it’s going to save people money. It’s just as simple as fuelling up a diesel truck; it’s really quick. You don’t have to worry about over filling it and getting diesel all over you. It’s a lot cleaner in that sense. It’s great, it really is.
— Lee Leasure, Driver, Trimac Transportation

Sit in the cab with Lee while he speaks about his LNG truck experience.

Truck sales involve knowing the application and duty cycle your customer expects to run and what will work for them. Bob Fry, General Manager and Inland Kenworth in California says, “I have guys running these every day that feel they have a better operation than diesel. Some of these trucks in the Port may only be driving 50 miles a day, but they’re pulling tremendous weight: over 100,000 lbs. Some guys will run as many as 500 miles a day. So they’re doing both kinds of operations.”

In North America, the Westport HD GX engine and LNG fuel system is based on the Cummins ISX platform and is currently available in truck models from Kenworth and Peterbilt. The GX engine and LNG fuel system is also offered by Kenworth Australia.

Westport HD has development programs in place with Weichai in China—through joint venture Weichai Westport Inc.—and with Volvo Powertrain of Sweden. Each program will engineer the Westport HD technology to the respective engine brand for future product commercialization.

For more testimonial videos, visit Westport's YouTube channel.

Westport HD is the business unit of Westport Innovations Inc. that targets the heavy-duty vehicle market.