“We only talk about electric, but the thermal engine will not die. It is not Satan, to reduce or eliminate pollution what is burned inside it is decisive: by fueling it with hydrogen, for example, zero emissions are obtained, just like in cars. electric. Hydrogen represents the great promise of the future “. Marco Seimandi is the head of marketing and vice president of Westport Fuel System, the multinational founded in 2016 with the grafting of American capital into the very Italian BRC of Cherasco.
The heart has remained in the Cuneo area, although today the group has its head in Vancouver, it is present in 70 countries, listed on the Nasdaq in New York and Toronto, with 9 production plants around the world and 1,400 employees. The BRC was founded in 1977 by Mariano Costamagna, a former Fiat worker, and by his brother Pierantonio. It has become a global leader for LPG systems (also in the aftermarket) and methane. In Italy, where it also has assembly sites in Brescia and Reggio Emilia, it took off mainly thanks to the partnership with Kia: a happy partnership that celebrated 25 years of mutual success.
To celebrate the anniversary, BRC (as everyone continues to call it) has opened the doors of its electronics laboratory and research center in Cherasco to the media, where electronic control units and other sophisticated components are developed.
“Together we have experienced the technological evolution of LPG systems combined with petrol engines – said Giuseppe Bitti, CEO of Kia Italia – carrying out over 100 thousand transformations, saving 154 million tons of CO2 emitted because LPG reduces them a lot and making savings to our customers 500 million euros for the lower cost of fuel “.
Kia now has 6 models in its range (Picanto, Rio, Ceed, Soul, Stonic and Sportage) fueled by LPG. The fifth generation of the Sportage will also be on the market at the end of the year. Meanwhile, innovation is advancing. And the next step promises to be very interesting: in fact, a new gas technology combined with the full-hybrid engine, the 4.0 version of the LPG already in the testing phase, will soon debut on the medium Korean SUV.
“Alternative power supplies – adds Seimandi – will save the thermal engine. In Canada we are successfully experimenting with hydrogen, which does not necessarily lead to the combination with fuel cells and therefore with electric traction, for heavy vehicles equipped with powerful engines 6 cylinders. This solution gives surprising results in terms of efficiency at affordable costs, and promises to be in strong expansion “.
The cost of LPG this year has increased in Italy by 25% and the few incentives (such as the exemption from the 5-year road tax in some regions) are not enough to “push” the market to the record levels of ten years ago. But the BRC has a global reach and looks carefully at countries where demand is strong: Turkey, Russia and Argentina in particular, but also Africa. “And we – concludes Bitti – also thanks to LPG will close the year with over 13 thousand registrations, despite the production problems caused by the worldwide scarcity of microchips. For 2022 we are focusing a lot on the new Sportage, which is a true style revolution and technology “. There is also the spectacular electric EV6, but in this context talking about electric cars is almost a heresy.