Canadian company Westport Innovations Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia, announced that the first U.S. customer for its low-emissions fuel system for heavy-duty trucks is Raley's of West Sacramento, California, a 149-store supermarket chain.
Late this year Westport plans to deliver a truck to Raley's for commercial use. The truck, equipped with Westport's fuel system, will use clean-burning natural gas as the primary fuel instead of diesel fuel.
The sale to Raley's is part of a three-truck prototype development project announced in November 1999 by Westport and Cummins Engine. Cummins will supply its newest engine for heavy-duty trucks, the ISX model. Westport previously announced that it will keep one of the trucks for demonstration purposes and will deliver one to Bobell Group, a truck fleet operator based in Aldergrove, British Columbia.
Raley's fleet of 64 trucks serves 120 of the chain's stores in California and Nevada. In 1997 the supermarket chain was honored by the American Lung Assn. for being the first business in California to replace 25% of its fleet with vehicles fueled by liquefied natural gas. The truck supplied by Westport will be integrated into regular fleet service in the Sacramento area.
Cummins's Sacramento distributor Cummins West will assist with the installation of the Westport fuel system onto the Cummins ISX engine and the truck chassis. Cummins West will also provide follow-up maintenance and ensure accurate measurement of the engine's performance during a one-year test period. Westport is responsible for modifying its fuel system to work with the ISX engine. Westport will also manage the installation of a liquefied natural gas fuel tank and fuel compressor in the truck.
Westport's patented High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) technology allows a diesel engine to burn diesel fuel only as a pilot to achieve ignition. The majority of the power comes from a separate injection of natural gas into the engine cylinder as the diesel fuel ignites. The technology is intended to retain all of the performance and fuel economy of diesel engines while meeting future U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions targets for oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter. Westport's fuel systems are also intended to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions to meet proposed global warming initiatives.