The 2011 Chevrolet Express pictured above features General Motors' fully integrated compressed natural gas fuel system. Though that CNG setup is exclusive to Chevy Express and GMC Savana cargo vans equipped with the automaker's 6.0-liter V-8 engine, there appear to be more light-duty CNG-fueled vehicles from General Motors in the works.

On Tuesday, Westport Innovations, a self-described global leader in alternative fuel, low-emissions transportation technologies, announced that it has inked a deal with General Motors to develop advanced natural gas engine technology for some of the automaker's lighter-duty vehicles. GM and Westport will work side-by-side to develop natural gas engine components, emissions control systems and other technologies exclusive to CNG-burnin' vehicles.

There's no word yet, however, on which new GM models might be equipped to run on CNG in the future. Our vote would be for a CNG-powered Chevy Cruze to go head-to-head with Honda's Civic GX, currently the only non-commercial passenger car fueled by compressed natural gas on the market.

[Source: Westport]
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Westport Signs Agreement with General Motors to Research Advanced Natural Gas Engine Technology for Light-Duty Vehicles

June 28th, 2011

VANCOUVER, BC - Westport Innovations Inc. (TSX:WPT/NASDAQ:WPRT), a global leader in alternative fuel, low-emissions transportation technologies, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with General Motors (NYSE:GM/TSX:GMM) to help develop advanced natural gas engine technology. Both General Motors and Westport will bring their extensive expertise to develop natural gas engine controls, emissions and performance strategies.

"We are excited to work with GM and invest in advanced natural gas technology for the automotive market," said Ian Scott, President of Westport's Light-Duty Division. "This technology offers the promises of a cleaner, lower cost fuel and reduced carbon footprint, while advancing the use of domestic energy. This agreement demonstrates Westport's success as an advanced technology partner to global automotive manufacturers. Westport's recent announcement regarding the planned acquisition of Emer S.p.A., of Italy, is an integral part of our strategy to provide partners, such as GM, with the most advanced integrated solutions."

Westport announced the planned opening of a new Technical Center in Michigan. Westport's personnel currently includes approximately 15 people in Farmington Hills, MI, and Westport plans to add more people and invest in facilities as demand grows for natural gas-powered, alternative-fuel vehicles.

"Natural gas is 97% North American sourced and much less expensive than gasoline or diesel fuels," according to John Lapetz, Westport's Light-Duty Division Managing Director, North American Vehicle Programs. "It also produces about 15 - 20% less CO2 than those fuels."

To support OEM programs, Westport plans to add research and development facilities to develop technologies that enable vehicles to run on natural gas for business and government fleets, and personal use. Utilization of domestic energy, the creation of jobs and protection of the environment, are all part of Westport's business objectives.

"Hybridization, lower-displacement with turbo charging, direct injection and other fuel-saving technologies now being applied to gasoline and diesel engines, can also be applied to natural gas fueled engines for even greater improvements in efficiency and fuel cost savings," Lapetz said.

About Westport Innovations Inc.

Westport Innovations Inc. is a global leader in alternative fuel, low-emissions technologies that allow engines to operate on clean-burning fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied natural gas (LNG), hydrogen, and biofuels such as landfill gas. Our unique technologies reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The Company focuses on three distinct categories or target markets - light-, medium-, and heavy-duty - through Westport business units or joint ventures. Westport's Light-Duty Division is focused on light-duty automotive systems, components and engines, including 2.4L engines for industrial applications such as forklifts and oilfield service. Cummins Westport (CWI), a joint venture with Cummins, sells the world's broadest range of low-emissions alternative fuel engines for commercial urban fleets such as buses, refuse trucks and vocational vehicles. Westport Heavy Duty (Westport HD), our proprietary development platform, is engaged in the engineering, design and marketing of natural gas-enabling technology for the heavy-duty diesel engine and truck market. To learn more about our business, visit our website or subscribe to our RSS feed at www.westport.com, or follow us on Twitter @WestportWPRT.


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