A new £12 million centre for testing EVs and developing their high-voltage propulsion systems has opened in Milton Keynes.
On top of general EV testing, the ‘electric vehicle centre of excellence’ will develop powertrain components such as motors, inverters, axle modules and electrical systems.
It’s owned by Intertek, which provides independent quality assurance testing for automotive companies around the world, including the Volkswagen Group.
The testing centre – which has already won the title of International’s Engine Test Facility of the Year in the Automotive Testing Technology International Awards – was officially opened today, with the ribbon being cut by Conservative MP for Milton Keynes South, Iain Stewart.
The facility, which was partly funded by South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership, includes ten EV powertrain test cells, a four-wheel drive full vehicle climatic test chamber and electric axle module test rigs. Three “state-of-the-art” eMotor dyno rigs that can operate at speeds of up to 27,000rpm are also featured, and several specialist “e-machine development rigs” help to complete electric vehicle testing.
Intertek says it will allow clients to “access world-class technical expertise, pioneering innovation and leading services in one location”. The group will “work with a range of vehicle manufacturers and Tier-1 suppliers and fully expect the centre to be used by both new and existing customers as the electric vehicle sector continues to grow globally.”
Intertek are intending for the facility, which employs 14 people, to appeal to new start-ups as well as major brands, saying: “some of the innovations in this facility open-up mainstream test capabilities to smaller companies by dramatically reducing initial setup costs.”
It will also support the “increasing need for fast, bespoke, expert testing services and rapid results together with the latest knowledge and experience of the changing industry landscape”.
Intertek CEO André Lacroix said: “With a tipping point having been reached, sustainability is the movement of our time, and we’re now accelerating towards a cleaner future of mass-market all-electric vehicles.
“The EV industry has a pivotal role to play in the UK’s and the world’s transition to a low-carbon economy, and our new award-winning, state-of-the-art facility will offer the world’s leading automotive manufacturers a unique technology, innovation and experience centre with industry-leading, end-to-end ATIC services purpose built for the world’s rapid global transition to zero-emission vehicles.”
When asked by Autocar if there were any plans to expand the facility in the future, a spokesperson said: “We have invested in this centre with future growth and demand in mind. The site was selected as it has space available for significant future growth and has good access to increased grid power supply.
“Generally speaking, we certainly see lots of opportunity for growth in our business by serving the attractive, dynamic and fast-moving electric vehicle sector.”