Significant Developments in the Fuel Storage & Vehicle Systems Segment During the First Half of 2013
Our Fuel Storage & Vehicle Segment made significant strides in growing and expanding our CNG fuel storage and complete fuel systems products and services. We have received a number of new orders from new and existing customers during 2013 for our Q-Lite CNG tank storage systems and complete fully-integrated fuel storage assemblies that incorporate our Q-Lite tank storage system. As a result of the growth in the demand for our CNG tanks and integrated fuel systems, we announced that we have undertaken an aggressive expansion of our tank manufacturing capacity, with the goal of achieving an annualized capacity level of 12,000 units by the end of 2013.
We continue to work on the development and integration of a bi-fuel CNG fuel system for the 2015 model year Chevrolet Impala vehicle under a planned production program with General Motors that was initiated in 2012. In February 2013, we entered into an agreement with another automotive OEM for the development of a CNG fuel system for a popular full size passenger vehicle platform. The contractual arrangements provide for us to be the “Manufacturer of Record” under both of these programs for the CNG system related vehicle modifications. Development activities under these programs is expected to continue into 2014 with vehicles expected to be commercially available beginning in the second half of 2014 for the General Motors program and in 2015 for the other OEM program.
In April 2013, we received a significant contract for a CNG fuel system from a new customer for the development of a fully-integrated CNG storage and fuel delivery system for a cost-effective aftermarket conversion kit for medium and heavy-duty diesel fleets to run on natural gas.
Further, we received an initial order for hydrogen refueling dispensers in January 2013 as part of a three-year partnership agreement with Linde LLC and in June 2013 we completed our development of a turbocharged, inter-cooled and electronically fuel injected gaseous fuel engine for Mahindra and Mahindra, the leading Indian vehicle manufacturer and industrial conglomerate.
We also made significant strides in our tank and fuel systems technology during 2013. During this period, we were granted two patents related to key aspects of CNG fuel storage and fuel systems pressure and flow management for on-board gaseous fuel storage and dematerialization of fuel storage cylinders. During this period, we, in a collaborative effort with the Boeing Company and the Pacific National Labs, under sponsorship by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the U.S. Department of Energy, demonstrated an alternative new technology leap for lightweight carbon composite CNG and hydrogen fuel tanks that resulted in a 20% reduction in material utilization.