Coventry University and German-based international engineering service provider FEV have signed a £30 million ($40.5 million) deal to build a clean transport lab in Coventry to spearhead research into advanced powertrain development over the next decade.
The new low carbon technology centre will open next door to Coventry University’s recently-launched £7 million National Transport Design Centre (NTDC), creating a cluster of transport-focused research and development facilities on the university’s Technology Park.
Four state-of-the-art powertrain test cells will allow university and FEV researchers and engineers to test and improve performance and emissions on a range of different powertrain concepts, including hybridized, electric, conventional and alternative fuel propulsion systems.
The new test centre represents a significant growth in Aachen-based FEV’s presence in the UK through its local engineering operation, which serves the UK automotive industry with specialist services in powertrain development and an increasing focus on vehicle electrification.
FEV already works closely with a number of UK customers. These leading international names in the automotive and aerospace industries are expected to use the facility to develop cleaner transport technologies, with a significant area of work set to be advanced propulsion systems – a key innovation theme identified in the UK government’s industrial strategy.
The collaboration marks a significant level of confidence on the continent in British manufacturing and in the impact of UK universities’ research, the university’s leaders said, and signals an expansion of FEV’s work with the UK transport industry and supply chain.
Professor John Latham, Vice-Chancellor of Coventry University, said: “This new joint venture with FEV speaks of lasting confidence across Europe in the strength of industry and the quality of research and development in this country.
“The facility strengthens our existing portfolio of activities in this area, building on the work we’re doing through the National Transport Design Centre and our connected and autonomous vehicles programmes to take our recent overall investment in transport research and development to over £40 million.
“Coventry and the wider Midlands clearly remain a draw for international companies wanting to push forward innovation in vehicle design and development, particularly in clean transport technologies, and we’re delighted as one of the region’s universities to be playing a role in attracting such investment.”
Professor Stefan Pischinger, President and CEO of FEV Group, said: “Close cooperation with leading universities has always been a crucial aspect which strengthens the innovative capability of FEV. It was thus a logical step for us to invest in the low carbon technology centre. The cooperation will strengthen our presence in the UK and offers a great base for future development projects to achieve lowest emission mobility.”
Last year Coventry University’s Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering (AME) – a partnership with Unipart Group – secured a contract with Ford to supply advanced components to its cars being produced in China, creating 40 jobs in the city.