September 29, 2003
Japanese-Canadian collaboration wins top honours in Challenge Bibendum
Vancouver, B.C. – Isuzu Motors Limited and Westport Innovations Inc. announced that the ELF CNG-DI, a joint entry between Isuzu Motors and Westport, won two gold medals in the efficiency and emissions categories and one silver medal in the vehicle noise category at the Michelin Challenge Bibendum in Sonoma, California.
The best-in-class 4.5-litre ELF CNG-DI is the world’s first direct-injection, monofuel, diesel-cycle natural gas powered truck.
Michelin Challenge Bibendum organizers today stated, “Achievement of the Gold Award for Emissions corresponds to SULEV rankings by California and US standards, achieving zero or near zero emissions.”
Considered the premiere world competition for environmental, advanced technology vehicles, this year’s Michelin Challenge Bibendum competitors demonstrated the latest in vehicle technologies using alternative energy sources.
Early testing has shown the prototype truck delivers highly efficient, clean, and quiet operation and puts the Isuzu/Westport ELF in the Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV) category based on existing Japanese standards. No other vehicle in this class meets this standard – one of the most stringent in the world.
“Isuzu is delighted with our results at this world class event,” said Takashi Urata, Executive Officer, Powertrain, Isuzu Motors Ltd, Japan. “Isuzu’s goal was to prove that the combined technology from Isuzu and Westport Innovations could provide the best environmental performance anywhere in the world without compromising the performance that thousands of our existing Isuzu ELF customers have come to rely on.”
The Isuzu and Westport team consisted of more than thirty people who contributed to the prototype over a six-month period at Isuzu’s technical headquarters in Fujisawa, Japan. The new Isuzu/Westport ELF CNG-DI prototype implements the hot-surface assisted CNG-DI Westport technology that delivers significant power, performance and emissions advantages.
“Westport was honoured to work with Isuzu — one of the leading producers of trucks in the world — on this program over the past three years,” said Michael Gallagher, Westport’s Chief Operating Officer. “The ELF demonstrated how our partnership has successfully delivered on the goal of creating vehicles that meet customers’ operational needs while having much lower impact on our environment.”
More than 100,000 N-series (light- and medium-duty) trucks are produced annually in Japan, 25,000 of which are sold annually in North America under Isuzu and GM brands. The N-series, known as the ELF in Japan, are used for local delivery, food service, towing, light construction, and other business applications.
Westport Innovations Inc. is the leading developer of gaseous fuel engine technologies. It develops, manufacturers and sells a wide range of engines for commercial transportation applications such as trucks and buses through Cummins Westport Inc. Its joint venture with Cummins Inc. Technology development alliances are in place with a number of other leading engine manufacturers, including Ford, MAN, Isuzu, and BMW to develop engines that operate using cleaner-burning fuels such as natural gas, propane, hydrogen, and blending fuels such as HCNG.