The demand for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) is growing globally and Westport is growing to meet that demand. One of our newer offices is in the land down under, Australia. In early 2011 Westport opened its Australian head office in Melbourne, to support sales, parts and service of Westport products in the Australian market.
This market has been initiated through a collaborative agreement with PACCAR Australia to commercialize liquefied natural gas (LNG) Kenworth trucks for heavy-duty trucking. Equipped with Westport™ high pressure direct injection (HPDI) technology, the four models of Kenworth trucks come with engines in three different horsepower ratings up to 580HP, and provide up to 27% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions while remaining equivalent to diesel in power and torque.
Why Australia? Known reserves of natural gas in Australia have tripled from 1993 to 2009 and, despite the anticipated increase in consumption, are expected to last nearly 200 years. In addition, the high fuel requirements needed for fleet transportation in Australia position NGVs to take a meaningful market share from higher operating cost counterparts in diesel.
There have been challenges. Initially natural gas as a heavy-duty vehicle fuel wasn’t warmly received, in part due to a misconception that gas fuel systems are complicated and unreliable, or require cumbersome alterations and a costly re-fuelling infrastructure. But with Australia’s recently introduced vehicle carbon tax, fuel consumption, vehicle emissions and environmental concerns are becoming a large concern for transport companies. The new tax is creating a “Clean Energy Gold Rush,” according to Reuters, with an expected increase in NGVs once diesel fuel is subject to the carbon tax (anticipated in 2014).
Australia’s department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government has certified the Westport HD engine in compliance with the Australian design rules (ADR 80/03), which took effect for all heavy duty truck models starting in Jan 2011. The Kenworth trucks are the only OEM-produced truck in Australia and the Westport HD engine is the only ADR 80/03 certified engine above 400 HP, Making this an attractive choice for fleets looking to reduce their emissions to meet the new tax guidelines.