Weichai Power Co., Ltd., China’s leading diesel engine producer located in Shandong Province, announced in mid-July the founding of a tripartite joint venture with the Westport Innovations Inc. of Canada and Peterson Equipment Limited of Hong Kong to manufacture heavy-duty LNG engines, according to a news report on auto.sohu.com.
The total investment of the 30-year joint venture will be ¥150 million ($22 million), with Weichai Power, Westport and Peterson holding 40:35:25 percent of the equity shares respectively. The joint venture, Weichai Westport Inc. (WWI), will develop, design and manufacture alternative fuel (LNG and CNG) engines for heavy-duty trucks with a driving range of over 800 kilometers in one filling.
“We are working with the largest heavy-duty engine manufacturer in China where over 450,000 heavy-duty trucks are produced every year,” said David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations, at the agreement signing ceremony. “With over 11 percent of the global heavy-duty engine market share, Weichai is not only a strong partner for the Chinese market, but a great partner in our global expansion of low-emission, alternative fuel engines.”
The rapid growth in China for energy-efficient engines and vehicles is creating a strong demand for cleaner fuels, such as compressed natural gas (CNG) or liquid natural gas (LNG). China is said to have over 185,000 natural gas vehicles and the refueling infrastructure required for these vehicles is being built across the country. The popular CNG and LNG engines made by Weichai Power have been widely used in urban transport and power stations in China today.
The Vancouver-based Westport Innovations is known for its high pressure direct injection technology, which is expected to provide clean, low-emission solution to address a burgeoning market in China. China’s rich reserve in natural gas offers a bright future for CNG and LNG vehicles.
“As a leader in the world’s heavy-duty powertrain manufacturing, this partnership will help us expand into the fastest growing market segment of alternative and clean fuel technologies,” said Tan Xuguang, chairman and CEO of Weichai Power. “Our proven experience combined with Westport’s state-of-the-art combustion technology will help us launch a clean, low-emission heavy-duty LNG engine in China and reach 20,000 units in the shortest possible time.” Witman Liao