Prodrive opens advanced Powertrain Development Centre

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Prodrive has opened its new Powertrain Development Centre (PDC) at its Banbury headquarters in the UK. The purpose-built facility represents a £5m (US$6.1m) investment and was constructed over a period of six months.

The center piece is a 660kW transient dyno. Able to handle engine outputs of up to 880hp, the dyno is located on an easily adjustable, modular grid system. This ensures that Prodrive can easily tailor it to the layout of any powertrain, including four wheel-drive electric and hybrid drivetrains. Inside the test cell, temperature, humidity and pressure can be controlled to replicate all running conditions, while also providing cooling for engines and electric vehicle batteries and motors.

There’s also a dedicated engine build room, outfitted with Dura equipment, enabling assembly of up to 12 units. This capability, coupled with the PDC being adjacent to the main workshop, enhances Prodrive’s ability to build complete vehicles and cater for niche OEM projects requiring circa 200-300 units in short timeframes.

Should demand dictate, there is scope to double the size of the PDC. Prodrive has future-proofed the facility with the potential to add another identical dyno and engine build room, all without extending the existing building.

PDC was supported financially by OxLEP (Oxford Local Enterprise Partnership) via the government’s Local Growth Fund. Pro Drive expects 25 jobs to be created in the area.

Arthur Shaw, chief powertrain engineer at Prodrive, said, “The PDC marks a massive step forward in terms of our engine development capability and complements our existing skills in the design and development of all types of powertrain.

“The high specification of our new dyno means we are in the best position to calibrate units, allowing our customers to enjoy potential savings in terms of cost and time in comparison to physical testing on the road or track.

“Additionally, with the new facility bringing the differing stages of our powertrain development all under one roof – spanning the build of the engine right through to its installation in a chassis – there are further efficiency benefits that can be passed on to customers.

Shaw continued, “It’s one of the biggest investments that Prodrive has ever made, but with our motorsport operations continuing to grow at a pace and increasing enquiries for the development of complex electric vehicle and hybrid technology, now is the optimum time for us to introduce our Powertrain Development Centre.

“The significant expenditure underlines how committed we are to developing future powertrains and enhancing our service, enabling us to offer clients one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the UK.”

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Rachel's career in journalism began around five years ago when she started working for UKi Media & Events, having recently graduated from Coventry University where she studied the subject. Her favourite aspect of the job is interviewing industry experts, including researchers, scientists, engineers and technicians, and learning more about the groundbreaking technologies and innovations that are shaping the future of the automotive and tire industries.

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