£30m Anglo-German powertrain deal reflects strength of UK R&D

Posted on 20 Sep 2017 by Jonny Williamson

Coventry University and international engineering service provider FEV have signed a £30m deal to build a clean transport lab in Coventry to spearhead advanced powertrain R&D over the next decade.

Advanced Powertrain - Artist’s impression of the new low carbon technology centre whose construction will begin soon on Coventry University’s Technology Park.
Artist’s impression of the new low carbon technology centre whose construction will begin soon on Coventry University’s Technology Park.

The new low carbon technology centre is expected to open next door to Coventry University’s recently-launched £7m National Transport Design Centre (NTDC), creating a cluster of transport-focused research and development facilities on the university’s Technology Park.

Four advanced powertrain test cells aim to allow university and FEV researchers and engineers to test and improve performance and emissions on a range of different powertrain concepts, including hybridised, 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 reportedly works closely with several 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, explained: “The [new low carbon technology centre] 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 £40m.

“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.”

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.