New UTAC facility in UK enables more accurate large vehicle powertrain testing

UTAC has officially opened its all new 4WD VTEC (Variable Temperature Emissions Chamber) facility, allowing truck, bus and coach engineers to conduct a wider range of vehicle tests to develop powertrains with greater accuracy, at temperatures as low as -20°C. The facility is located at UTAC Millbrook, Bedfordshire, in the UK.

Key points:

  • All new Variable Temperature Emissions Chamber allows bus manufacturers to perform a wide range of climatic tests on vehicles to assess the powertrain and HVAC systems 
  • New facility enables engineers to simulate more accurate, unlimited drive cycles at temperatures as low as -20°C
  • VTEC 4WD dyno gives developers the ability to test the latest electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles weighing up to 60 tonnes
  • Four-wheel drive and tri-axle capabilities allow engineers to test a wider range of vehicle types

The new facility enables engineers to test the performance of buses and coaches with up to 20 tonnes axle weight and a simulated loading of up to 60 tonnes. It can facilitate testing of vehicles with a wheelbase up to 8 metres. The facility offers more efficient and accurate testing, meaning that bus and coach engineers can simulate eight hours of driving over a typical shift.

The capabilities of the new VTEC 4WD facility allow bus manufacturers to prove the thermal stability of a vehicle’s powertrain during operation under various ambient conditions. This is often part of a supplier’s certification test.

It also enables manufacturers to prove that their vehicles are able to de-mist and de-frost quickly, and maintain an acceptable internal temperature with varying numbers of passengers under different ambient conditions. 

The new VTEC  is also fully equipped to measure the energy consumption and range of conventional, hybrid and electric vehicles. It can support testing of gaseous fuelled vehicles, such as hydrogen, which reflects the trends within the sector to embrace new powertrain solutions.

With the new 4WD VTEC double and tri-axle capability, engineers are able to offer a wide range of testing types, including Real Driving Emissions (RDE) simulation. The facility also has a dedicated particulate matter filter weighing chamber. Its emissions system includes a carousel mechanism, which will allow the running of tests with multiple phases and with no limit on cycle duration.

Laurent Benoit, Chief Executive Officer at UTAC said, “In the development of our new 4WD VTEC facility our engineers have worked hard to ensure that the bus and coach sector has everything it needs to perform more accurate powertrain and HVAC tests in a controlled environment. It’s a testament to the commitment of our talented team that our all new VTEC is the exceptional facility that is opening today.”

“The introduction of this facility is an important step in ensuring that we remain at the leading edge of testing and development, now and in the coming decades, for heavy duty vehicles.”

UTAC’s 4WD VTEC facility is open now and available to bus and coach manufacturers immediately. It is complemented by UTAC’s suite of bus and coach powertrain and vehicle testing facilities.

About UTAC

UTAC is a market-leading group in vehicle testing, type approval and emerging technologies for autonomous, connected and electric vehicles. It provides services and systems to customers in the automotive, transport, tyre, petrochemical and defence industries.

The group delivers regulation & homologation support, specialist vehicle conversions and test systems as well as training, consulting, audit and certification, technical inspection, standardisation and events.

UTAC operates 8 test centres – in France (including the official Euro NCAP facility), the UK (including the 5G-enabled Millbrook Proving Ground), the USA and Finland; it has subsidiaries in Germany, Russia, China, Korea and Japan. The group will be opening a proving ground in Morocco in 2021.

UTAC employs around 1280 people across its various locations. In 2019, the group recorded turnover of €173 million.

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