August 20, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Ronghuan

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid Z,  Lance FMonica F, Fabio, and NicoleOur next contributor is Ronghuan W. (RH), based in Beijing. Read on to learn a little more about him.

In RH’s role as the vice general manager for Weichai Westport Inc., Westport’s joint venture with Weichai, he travels on business very often. RH enjoys the working in the advanced technology industry with a bright future ahead of it, where he interacts with both employees and external stakeholders. He also appreciates the different corporate cultures he navigates between North America and China. Twitter, for example, is not available in China, so RH is a social media newbie and he will be tweeting through the team at head office.

When not working, he says Vancouver makes a great travel destination. “I enjoy the clean air, friendly people and great natural landscape very much.” (Thanks, on behalf of all Vancouverites RH!) In China, RH dreams of living in Yunan. There are beautiful mountains, rivers and the peace that he has been away from for a long time.

He says he cannot live without tea and coffee, adding “sometimes I like to mix them,” (Wow!) but when it comes to food, his favourite cuisine is Cantonese. And the reason? “I am Cantonese.” RH sure knows what he likes when it comes to fuel!

If he could dine, on Cantonese food of course, with anyone alive or dead, real or fictional, RH has two responses. One is Mr. Hu, President of China, to whom RH wishes to provide suggestions, and the other is Warren Buffett, whose wisdom RH admires and would like to acquire. 

Website favourites like Baidu search engine and Sina provide RH with his news and information for both work and life. Father of one son, RH’s indulgence is simply “computer games!” 

August 16, 2012

Work Ahead for All-CNG Reality in Gujarat

In the last week of July, the High Court in Gujarat, India ordered the state government to ensure that all public and private vehicles registered in the state switch to Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) within a year.

This is surely a tall order anywhere and Gujarat is no exception. The highly industrialized region in western India has some CNG infrastructure already, but CNG costs more in Gujarat than in Delhi or Mumbai, though Gujarat’s largest city Ahmedabad has equal pollution issues – making an environmental case for CNG in the region. This price obstacle was the impetus for a petition before the High Court to bring the price of CNG under regulation, but the High Court hearing the petition has taken the issue a serious step further.

We have seen similar decrees for fuel-specific use in a jurisdiction, such as the 1998 Supreme Court Directive in Delhi to replace or convert all buses, three-wheelers and taxis to CNG, but the Gujarati are questioning the court’s authority to order state legislation, particularly for all vehicles. A senior government representative was quoted in the Hindustan Times saying the state will fight it. “The high court order is not practically possible to implement as it has wider implications. We will challenge it in the Supreme Court.”

Are the logistics of a rapid switch on such a grand scale even reasonable for Gujarat? TheTimes of India reports that the existing infrastructure is unable to support the 32 lakr (3.2 million) vehicles in the state, given only about 4 lakr (400,000) are CNG at present, and the cost of converting the entire public and private fleet within one year would be, frankly, astronomical.

Citizens and auto dealers are alarmed, according to many news outlets. Some districts of the state of Gujarat currently do not have much CNG infrastructure at all. And aside from fuel station scarcity, TheHindu presents the facts on commodity obstacles as well. The region has to import natural gas to meet its current demand so a rapid switch will certainly have repercussions.

In any case, whether the all-CNG directive will go ahead or be successfully challenged remains unclear, but if the goal was to get the people of Gujarat talking about natural gas transportation, then success is achieved. The world waits with interest to see how this plays out.

August 7, 2012

The Driver's Seat Twitter Campaign: Nicole A.

As mentioned, Westporters are taking turns in The Driver's Seat of our Twitter account (@WestportDotCom). To date we've heard from Nick SCaroline SJohn L & John HAstrid Z,  Lance FMonica F, and Fabio VOur next contributor is Nicole, based in Vancouver. Read on to learn a little more about her.

As director of communications for Westport, Nicole finds herself all sorts of places talking to various Westport  stakeholders – even driving the Westport WiNG-equipped bi-fuel Ford F-250 pickup on a road trip from Detroit to NYC using CNG only.

Nicole enjoys the openness to all types of innovation at Westport, and that trying new things, introducing new ideas and taking risks are encouraged.

When she is not speaking with the media at events such as the Kentucky facility opening or planning communications strategies, Nicole enjoys trying new restaurants (pizza is a favourite!), spending time with her family, and eating popcorn covered in truffle butter and parmesan cheese while watching The Amazing Race.

She claims she really likes to eat. So much so that her favourite website is Scout Magazine – they list all the new restaurants in Vancouver. If Nicole could dine with anyone, alive or dead, real of fictional, it would be her grandfather. “We were very close, but he died when I was young and there’s so much I’d like to ask him and talk with him about.”

An avid traveller, Nicole has been many places. One of her favourites is Italy. Her goal is to visit 50 countries by the time she’s 50. “I’ve got about 12 to go. Top of my list right now are Croatia and Cambodia.” Worlds apart, those two are, but Nicole will surely make both trips reality before long.