A £50m (US$65.8m) state-of-the-art facility for creating cleaner mobility has opened in Coventry, giving a major boost to the UK automotive industry.
The Centre for Advanced Low-Carbon Propulsion Systems (C-ALPS), an innovative collaboration between Coventry University and global engineering specialist FEV Group, is looking to harness cutting-edge academic and commercial expertise to support the development of the next generation of electric, hybrid and combustion engines.
Over 30,000ft² (2,787m²) of purpose-built space on Cheetah Way, Coventry, will house some of the most advanced internal combustion and electrification testbed facilities available in the UK, creating a dedicated resource for testing current and future powertrain solutions quickly and efficiently.
The capabilities will be available to OEMs, SMEs in the supply chain and technology partners keen to accelerate the creation of new propulsion systems for use across automotive, aerospace, marine and rail sectors. Initially, 36 new jobs will be created, with a number of apprentices and graduates from Coventry University already appointed.
“This collaboration is very encouraging news and a welcome boost for the UK automotive industry,” explained Prof. Richard Dashwood, deputy vice-chancellor at Coventry University.
“We have a real opportunity for the country to lead the rest of the world when it comes to developing low-carbon propulsion systems and C-ALPS has a major role to play in making this happen.
“It’s all about bringing the best of both worlds together, using the expertise and track record of FEV Group in engineering consultancy and combining it with the academic knowledge of our professors to create a real center of excellence that can attract funding, build capacity in the supply chain and, importantly, offer commercial testing services to car makers.
“Automotive is naturally the first target, but the technology will also be available to support the evolution of other sectors.”
FEV UK moved into the new facility in January and this will serve as its UK Test Centre, expanding its business operation and further increasing the local execution of projects close to its customers.
The location in the heart of the Midlands automotive industry was a major attraction and the investment will create world-class testbed facilities that will prove invaluable to the sector’s move toward new powertrain solutions.
Operating within Coventry University’s Future Transport & Cities Research Institute, the C-ALPS center has been designed by architects Broadway Malyan and built by Willmott Dixon to be the most advanced test facility of its type currently available in the UK.
More than £27m (US$36m) of capital investment alone has been channelled into the industry-leading building and in creating the infrastructure that will allow FEV’s internal combustion and electrification testbeds to satisfy commercial testing requirements for current and future powertrain systems.
It houses test benches for powertrain components, including turbochargers, catalytic converters, battery systems and electric machines.
Three leading professors have also been recruited to lead the research team, bringing with them significant experience and knowledge in battery storage, power electronics and electric machines.
Over 100 people from industry and local business groups gathered to mark the official launch of C-ALPS, including the UK’s minister for business and industry, Richard Harrington.