Weichai Westport Inc., a joint venture between Westport Innovations Inc. and Weichai Power, has released a 12.0 L natural gas engine for heavy-duty trucks that uses Westport's proprietary high-pressure direct-injection technology – a first for the Chinese market.
The new engine, which is based on Weichai Power's WP12 engine platform, is undergoing road testing with Shaanxi Automobile Group and will be available to other fleet customers soon, the companies say. The Weichai Westport engine delivers 480 horsepower at 2,100 rpm and a maximum torque of 1,453 lb./ft. – performance that is identical to its diesel counterpart.
‘There are enormous potential fuel savings to be made if Chinese fleets adopt natural gas technology for transportation,’ says David Demers, CEO of Westport Innovations. ‘The successful progress of the Weichai Westport HPDI engine marks a historic shift in technology and engine development in China.’
Weichai Power holds approximately 40% of China's heavy-duty truck engine market for trucks over 14 tons, according to the company. Weichai sold more than 200,000 engines during the first six months of 2011.