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Midlands gets a new unique hybrid powertrain testing facility

Today, Tuesday 8th February 2011, sees the opening in the Midlands of a unique £2.28m facility at WMG at the University of Warwick that will be vital importance to companies developing engines for hybrid vehicles.

The unique Vehicle Energy Facility (VEF) is the UK’s only purpose built hybrid powertrain testing facility for the automotive sector that is not owned and operated by an individual automotive company.

The VEF facility will give businesses access to the state-of-the-art equipment and research support.

The new facility will use two dynamometers with the advanced Texcel control system plus a Robot Driver to allow the testing of various hybrid powertrain designs. The two dynamometers are installed in parallel and can test electric motors gasoline, diesel, ethanol and Bio-fuels based internal combustion engines.

The VEF also includes: a battery simulator and test station and full exhaust emissions measurement capability. The VEF will test transmission and powertrain systems, whilst simulating the powertrain components that are not available for test. These tests provide strategies for evaluating the optimisation of the vehicle’s powertrain and how it will operate in the real world.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Director of WMG at the University of Warwick said: “We are delighted to be able to bring the Midlands a facility that will enable the British based manufacturing companies to engage in low carbon engineering, which will be vital in helping manufacturing companies improve products and compete on the world stage in low carbon technologies.”

Dr Ralf Speth, CEO Jaguar Land Rover added "This new facility further strengthens WMG's applied research credentials and we look forward to benefitting from the work undertaken there, especially in the incredibly complex area of significantly reducing vehicle emissions. There is also real potential for further advances in knowledge coming from supplier involvement which in turn generates additional research and results."

Richard Guest, Managing Director of Froude Hofmann, who helped install the new facility, said: “We are proud to be part of this development which will provide Warwick with a facility that is in the forefront of global hybrid development technology. With many competing alternative-fuel and hybrid powertrain technologies now being developed internationally, this new facility allows Warwick to work with Tier 1 and Automotive OEM clients world-wide.”

Professor Paul Jennings from WMG said: “The VEF builds on the research work of WMG’s Hybrid Vehicle Research Group which, alongside its industrial partners, has created technical and cost modeling tools for hybrid vehicle development. These include WARPSTAR (WARwick Powertrain Simulation Tool for ARchitectures) which can be used to model the performance of any hybrid vehicle architecture, and is currently being enhanced to include real world driver behaviour.”

Businesses wishing to find out more about the VEF and access to the facilities and expertise at the University of Warwick should contact Richard Seager via email or Business Engagement Manager Mike Ahearne on

The VEF has been funded by Advantage West Midlands and ERDF as part of the Science City Research Alliance (SCRA) Energy Efficiency Project and will provide the region with a state-of-the-art test and characterisation facility for hybrid vehicle powertrains.

The Energy Efficiency Project is part of a larger investment by Advantage West Midlands and ERDF in the research infrastructure of the West Midlands region, which unites the University of Warwick and the University of Birmingham in a strategic research partnership – SCRA – formed under the Birmingham Science City initiative.

 Notes to Editors

Birmingham Science City is a region-wide partnership of public sector, businesses and the research base, which is facilitating the use of science and technology to improve the quality of life and prosperity of the West Midlands. Funded by Advantage West Midlands, Birmingham Science City’s aim is to create strategies to exploit centres of world-class scientific research, by developing relevant activities for sustainable economic and social benefit.

The Science City Research Alliance project is part of a larger investment by Advantage West Midlands and ERDF in the research infrastructure of the West Midlands region, which unites the Universities of Birmingham and Warwick in a newly-formed Science City Research Alliance. For more information log on to


ERDF and AWM logo


 Dr Ralf Speth


Vehicle Energy Facility at University of Warwick


Vehicle Energy Facility