A new £15m electric car engineering centre has opened in Northampton, to deliver extra testing capability as the automotive industry accelerates towards zero emissions.
The purpose-built MAHLE Powertrain facilities will support customers with the safe testing of vehicles, batteries and hydrogen technologies, under even the most extreme simulated environmental conditions.
The Vehicle Development Centre allows manufacturers to test both two- and four-wheel-drive vehicles in a variety of conditions and circumstances, all without the need for a gruelling programme of international travel.
The facility can replicate the conditions found in the coldest arctic climates and the hottest arid deserts, the humidity of a tropical rainforest or the pressure experienced at the high altitudes. In addition, the facility’s design supports the testing of hydrogen-fuelled technologies by monitoring and safely venting any escaping gases.
The new battery testing facility allows battery packs to be developed and tested without wasting energy, returning it to the grid wherever possible. It has its own substation and dedicated National Grid connection, giving a capability to test battery packs of up to 1MW with full fire protection.
“We’re extremely proud of our new test facilities which complement our end-to-end development process,” said Simon Reader, MAHLE Powertrain’s Managing Director. “As the industry accelerates the development of a new generation of vehicles that will offer carbon-neutral solutions for the transport sector, it creates a huge demand for testing facilities. Our new centre has been designed with both battery and future-fuelled vehicles in mind and provides a spread of capabilities that is almost unique anywhere in the world.”