Last week WLPGA spoke to Bart van Aerle, CEO of Prins Autogassystemen in the Netherlands.
Bart van Aerle: Prins actually is doing pretty well. On September 12th we celebrated our 30 year anniversary. In 2014 the company Prins was taken over by Westport and Westport has merged on 1st of June 2016 with Fuel Systems Solutions. So now Prins is part of the leading innovative company in the LPG- and CNG-system and component industry called Westport Fuel Systems. It means we are now in the same group as BRC, Zavoli, IMPCO, Emer, OMVL and Valtek. Actually there are a number of brands more in the group that play an important role in parts of the world. The group provides new technologies in the Automotive and Industrial markets in over 70 countries. We serve the OEM market, the D-OEM market and the After Market. For Prins it means economics of scale and synergy. We have for example a bigger R&D team now to develop new systems and components. Our customers benefit from this.
WLPGA: What are the new developments from Prins?
BvA: Prins has been investing a lot in LPG systems for Direct Injection (DI) car engines over the past years. Prins now is really leading worldwide with its VSI-DI system and Direct LiquiMax system. As the car manufacturers keep innovating and updating their software we also need to adapt our systems and components. Therefore we introduce our new VSI-2.0 DI and Direct LiquiMax Gen3 systems for the latest car models. Prins has by far the biggest number of LPG systems for DI engines.
In Q1 2017 we will release a revolutionary new Prins Electronic Pressure Reducer (EPR). It is revolutionary a so far there are only mechanical Pressure Reducers on the market for LPG. Our engineers developed an electronic version that has a much wider range of performance (up to 450+ Hp). Even small engines can now run easier on LPG. Next to that the control of the reducer and adjustments will be regulated from the ECU, so more precise and easier to do. Especially for DI engines this is really a benefit. And the Reducer is lighter in weight and smaller in size so easier to assemble by the workshops making the complete system cheaper for the end-customer. This development makes the autogas system more future proof. So Prins is leader in this innovation.
WLPGA: What will bring 2017 for Prins?
BvA: The future is hard to predict. The markets are still uncertain due to the oil price and due to government regulations. We see there is an increase in awareness for driving on alternative fuels, but we still have to work hard and also together in catching the market. There are several opportunities: we have a wide range of products for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and heavy duty vehicles. We will keep developing in making our products better and smarter. But we cannot predict the future, and we are not allowed to speak about it as Prins belongs to the company Westport Fuel Systems that is listed on the stock exchange.
WLPGA: Bart, would you like to say something to the readers?
BvA: Autogas business is not a new business. But over the years the fuel has proven to be a great alternative to petrol and diesel and contribute to a cleaner air. With the introduction of Bio-LPG the value will only be bigger. As the image (or most of the time perception) of the Autogas business towards its target groups is mentioned as “not sexy”, we have to change that image/perception. That takes efforts from all of us. New innovations help but these are not enough. The autogas market has to renew itself and find ways of being the attractive alternative and generate attention to the target audience. I believe that would be the perfect challenge for all of us in the coming year. We invite the readers to think and work together with us in making it happen.
And of course I like to say to everyone: Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!
Bart can be contacted by E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.