Join The Motley Fool's Austin Smith for a chat with Sandeep Munshi, director of technology and development at Westport Innovations. Based in Vancouver and with facilities in eight other countries, Westport is the industry leader in natural gas engines and vehicles.
Nat-gas is clean-burning, abundant, and available worldwide. Munshi explains some of the perks of this alternative fuel and the vehicles -- from automobiles to heavy machinery -- designed to take advantage of it.
To watch the full interview, click here.
The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for this year. Find out which stock it is in the special free report: "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2013." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.
Austin Smith: Hey Fools, Austin Smith here with Sandeep Munshi, the director of technology and development at Westport Innovations. Thank you very much for taking the time to sit down with us today.
Sandeep Munshi: Thank you.
Smith: Being director of technology at a technology -- and very advanced -- company, it's a tall order. How did you get involved?
Munshi: Well, it's a bit of a long story but I'll make it really short. I've been here for about 13 or 14 years. I studied at UBC and I knew about Westport, so a long time back when a chance or opportunity came, I applied to work here.
Since then, it's been great. It's been a great experience, a lot of good learning, and I really enjoy what I'm doing here on natural gas engines. It's all leading technology, so yes. I consider myself quite fortunate in that sense.
Smith: For those who aren't aware, from a technological aspect, what are the advantages to a natural gas engine compared to any of the other alternatives out there -- maybe traditional petrol, diesel, or electric?
Munshi: Natural gas as a fuel and natural gas engines, both, there are a number of key advantages. If you look at the fuel itself, natural gas is clean-burning, it's abundant. It's also available all over the world.
If you talk about North America, there are large domestic reserves, especially in recent years with the shale gas. The amount of natural gas that's available in the ground that can be economically extracted has grown significantly, so natural gas as a fuel does bring some of these advantages over traditional petroleum fuels.
One of the key advantages also is the market economics. Operationally, it's a lot cheaper to operate a natural gas vehicle compared to, say, gasoline or diesel today, in North America. You're looking at cost reductions -- fuel cost savings -- anywhere from 30%-50%, depending on jurisdiction and concentration.