American program could reap rewards for Westport

VANCOUVER — In an effort to reduce fuel consumption in transportation the U.S. Department of Energy is willing to spend $300 million, and one B.C. manufacturer is hoping to cash in.

The U.S. DOE Clean Cities program to reduce petroleum consumption in the transportation sector has awarded $300 million funding for 25 cost-share projects across the States that will deploy more than 9,000 alternative fuel and energy efficient vehicles and build 542 new refueling stations.

Based on the DOE’s announcement, funding for approximately 500 LNG trucks and 2,300 CNG vehicles, including refuse trucks and shuttle buses, were awarded.

Westport Innovations — a manufacturer of alternative fuel, low-emissions transporation technologies — anticipates a significant portion of these 2,800 vehicles will be sourced from manufacturers incorporating Westport’s 15-litre GX engine or CWI’s 8.9 litre ISL G engine.

"This is a significant and decisive announcement for natural gas trucks and urban fleet vehicles," said Michael Gallagher, president and COO of Westport. "Given the vehicle applications of the projects awarded funding, we expect to benefit from the majority of funding through the sale of Westport HD systems and through the sale of Cummins Westport ISL G engines.

“Given the current price gap between oil and natural gas, and the recent breakthroughs in natural gas shale resource development, the benefits have never been clearer. We congratulate the DOE Clean Cities program for their timely deployment of these stimulus projects that will inevitably lead to dramatic growth in the green energy industry."

Of the projects, 18 include LNG and/or CNG heavy-duty vehicles and refueling stations.

Westport does note however that no contracts have been awarded for these programs and no orders for vehicles have been released yet. While the exact timing of the funding awarded to applicants is unclear at this time, the company expects further updates from both customers and government agencies as contracting processes begin.

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