A £8.3m vehicle development and testing facility has been constructed by MAHLE Powertrain at its Northampton site. The centre, which benefited from a £2.1m investment from SEMLEP’s Local Growth Fund, will allow manufacturers to develop and test their vehicles on a new 4WD chassis dyno while being subjected to a wide range of altitude and climatic conditions.
The auto industry must ensure that all new vehicles comply with RDE regulations coming into force in September 2019. The new rules dictate that all vehicles certified for sale in the UK must achieve compliance under ‘real-world’ driving conditions. This means testing the vehicle under a wide range of conditions, including driving at high and low altitudes, varying temperatures, with and without payloads and on all road types.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive stated: “SMMT is delighted to see MAHLE Powertrain open the UK‘s first dedicated RDE test facility. Together with the WLTP lab test, RDE is part of the toughest emissions testing regime in the world. It provides clear evidence that the automotive industry is delivering on its commitment to cleaning up our air while providing motorists with more realistic emissions and fuel consumption information.”
Business and Industry Minister Richard Harringto, added: “Technology is changing the way people, goods and services move around the country, and through our modern Industrial Strategy we are ensuring the UK remains the home of the latest innovations in transport. MAHLE Powertrain’s Real Drive Emissions test centre is the first of its kind in the UK and with its dedicated workforce, will ensure the automotive industry champions clean and sustainable growth.”
During the official opening event, visitors received a tour around the facility including the centre’s climatic and hypobaric test chamber, installed to deliver highly accurate and repeatable emissions results and data. Visitors were also given the chance to hear from senior MAHLE engineers who explained how the centre enables the company to carry out all elements of the RDE testing regime with the opportunity to bring further RDE-related work back to its laboratory to save development time and cost.
Simon Reader, engineering director at MAHLE Powertrain, concluded: “Our new facility puts MAHLE Powertrain at the forefront of real driving emissions development and, for UK-based manufacturers, it means that vehicles can be thoroughly tested to the highest standards without leaving the country. This will shorten lead times and costs, helping the UK to retain its reputation for automotive engineering excellence.”