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New 'Green' Engines for Capital City's Buses

As Beijing's biggest supplier of natural gas engines for buses, Canada's Cummins Westport Inc will play a role in the city's goal of making the 2008 Olympic Games a green one, the company's Vice-President Philip Hodge told China Daily during a recent stay in Beijing.  

The Vancouver-based Cummins Westport signed a deal last month with the Beijing Public Transportation Corporation for 150 engines, bringing the total number of its engines used in Beijing to 2,300, said Hodge.


Beijing's promise of a "Green Olympics" includes a move towards powering 90 percent of the capital city's 18,000 buses with clean energy by 2008.


"The Beijing Public Transportation Corporation is the biggest customer of Cummins Westport in Asia and China has been our second largest market following the United States," he said.


Founded in 2001, Cummins Westport joined US Cummins and Canadian Westport, to produce natural gas and propane engines with low waste discharge, said company sources.


The Beijing Public Transportation Corporation bought the first batch of 300 natural gas engines from Cummins in 1999.


To date, the cities of Shanghai, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xi'an, Xining and Urumqi have also adopted the clean gas engines.


"But Beijing is still our biggest success story," Hodge said.


Before 2004, Cummins Westport held a monopoly position on the Beijing natural gas market until Italian Iveco provided a batch of free vehicles using natural gas engines earlier this year.


Hodge seemed unconcerned, however.


'Vote of confidence'


"Even if we have competitors, the Beijing company still continued to choose us in the deal last month. It is a vote of confidence."


He said the company will try to lower prices to guarantee a market share in Beijing.


"We work very closely with the Beijing Public Transportation Corporation and over 400 technology staff with the company have been trained by us," Hodge said.


The engines to be used in Beijing buses accord with the environmental standard of Euro II but by 2007, the Euro III standard will be adopted by the capital city.


It means the current buses will upgrade their engines again in three years.


Hodge said the engines his company sold to Beijing Public Transportation Corporation will adopt Euro III standard.


"They did not choose the engines adopting higher environmental standard in the past because natural gas filling stations in Beijing were not suitable," he explained.


Hodge said they will introduce hydrogen and natural gas fuel - which is cleaner than natural gas - to Beijing after it is tested in Canada and the United States.


Demonstration projects are expected to be established in the near future.


Hodge said he is confident that Beijing will fulfill its theme of "Green Olympics" in 2008 and will keep working with the city.


(China Daily April 20, 2004)

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