Westport, Isuzu ink engine deal

Canadian natural gas engine manufacturer Westport Innovations has signed an agreement with Isuzu Motors Limited of Japan that enables Isuzu to use Westport’s Compressed Natural Gas Direct Injection (CNG-DI) technologies on Isuzu engines and commercial vehicles.

The deal calls for Isuzu to provide Westport with $1.28 million of new funding through 2006 to demonstrate up to 25% improved fuel economy over current spark-ignited CNG engines. Westport’s CNG-DI system is expected to help Isuzu’s 5L, 4-cyl. diesel engine meet Japan’s Post New Long Term Exhaust Emissions standard for 2009.

Work will be performed in Isuzu and Westport engine laboratories in Japan and Canada, said Masaru Odajima, executive-powertrain engineering for Isuzu in Tokyo. “Our customers will see the benefits of lower fuel costs and ultra-low exhaust emissions from these new CNG-DI technologies,” he added.

Isuzu and Westport are also working towards completing an intellectual property rights agreement (IPR) during the first quarter of 2006. Upon completion of the IPR, Westport and Isuzu engineering teams will begin work on design for manufacturing and cost optimization of the engine systems.

Westport noted that its relationship with Isuzu began in December 2000, when the two companies entered into a cooperative technology development agreement to develop a high-efficiency, low-emissions direct-injection natural gas fuel system for Isuzu engines.

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