Louisville, KY (WDRB News) -- A Canadian company has opened a small manufacturing operation to make Louisville made Ford trucks more fuel efficient.
The company says it is responding to consumer interest in alternative fuels.
You could call it an investment in green technology.
Westport Innovations, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, has invested more than $2 million converting what was once a vacant warehouse near Ford's Kentucky Truck Plant, into a modern manufacturing operation.
Workers like Archie Dale help install natural gas fuel systems into Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks manufactured at KTP.
"It is just the idea of seeing the rebirth of a new Ford truck," says Dale, who is a team leaders at the new plant, "where it will run off clean natural gas as well as regular gas."
Plant manager Michael Benham says the consumer now has a choice.
The trucks roll off the assembly line at Ford. Then they are brought to the Westport plant where the natural gas fuel system is installed. After that the vehicles go back to Ford where they are then shipped to dealers.
The new operation has just 15 hourly workers, but company executives says they hope that can increase to 40 by the end of the year.
"It is certainly an opportunity for us," says John Lapetz, the managing director for North American Vehicle Programs at Westport, "we want to find more ways to contribute to this community and to provide more opportunities."
The state of Kentucky is providing tax incentives to Westport of up to $750,000.
"Those incentives were a significant reason for our decision to come here," says Lapetz.
Kentucky is currently home to more than 400 auto related companies that employ more than 68,000 workers across the state.
"This is just another aspect of Kentucky's commitment to the auto industry," says Benham.