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Cummins to develop natural gas engines with Agility Fuel Systems


kscarbel2
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Today's Trucking / May 5, 2015

Cummins Inc. announced Tuesday it entered into a strategic partnership to increase its presence in the heavy-duty truck and bus natural gas engine business.

The agreement between the truck engine manufacturer and Agility Fuel Systems, has Cummins investing an undisclosed amount into the California-based company, which designs and produces natural gas fuel storage and delivery systems. It is intended to improve the natural gas vehicle user experience and the adoption of the alternative fuel for trucks and buses, according to a joint announcement made at the Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Dallas.

The partnership includes technology development and integration of software and hardware between the natural gas engine and the onboard fuel storage and delivery system, to significantly improve performance and uptime, according to a news release.

Both companies will also integrate their sales and aftermarket support and distribution networks. Customers will soon be able to have service performed and obtain replacement parts for their natural gas-powered equipment at authorized Cummins distributor and OEM truck dealer locations in Canada and the U.S.

"Our goal has always been to deliver a diesel-like experience to the end user, making natural gas-powered vehicles as easy to operate and service as diesel vehicles,” said Barry Engle, CEO of Agility. “This partnership with Cummins is a key enabler. By co-developing differentiated and improved natural gas solutions, and utilizing the breadth of Cummins service network, we believe we can accelerate the adoption of natural gas as a fuel for more vehicles, including heavy-duty trucks.”

Agility and its predecessor companies have been in business since 1996 and deployed more heavy-duty natural gas fuel systems in North America than any other company, according to a news release.

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The relationship between Westport and Cummins has cooled in recent years, possibly because Westport is growing their business (an understandable need for long-term sustainability) by entering into agreements with other global engine makers in addition to Cummins. This is why Cummins is now investing in Agility Fuel Systems. Not that another entity isn't capable of creating a better mouse trap, but I personally still favor Westport's technology.

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After Cummins in 2012 began developing a 15-liter spark-ignited natural-gas engine (ISX15 G) outside its joint venture with Westport, the relationship soured. Now that engine has been put on hold, but the relationship still is not as before.

Cummins is planning for a total in-house package.

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