Construction begins on real driving emissions centre

| Transport

Real driving emissions centre
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A new centre for testing and simulating real driving emissions to the WLTP standard is being built in Northampton.

MAHLE Powertrain has begun the next expansion phase of its Northampton site with the construction of a new Real Driving Emissions Centre (RDEC).

Scheduled for completion in the second quarter of 2018, the RDEC will incorporate MAHLE Powertrain’s new 4WD chassis dynamometer and full emissions equipment, enabling testing to all worldwide standards, including the new Worldwide Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP). The centre will enhance MAHLE Powertrain’s RDE expertise, allowing its Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA) approved RDE test routes to be used to their full potential, as well as having the capability to simulate them in the chamber. This new facility will extend MAHLE Powertrain’s capabilities for the delivery of complete RDE testing services from on-the-road PEMS (portable emissions measurement system) through to dyno-based road simulations and comprehensive vehicle emissions testing.

From September 2017, the new WLTP will replace the current New European Driving Cycle (NEDC) test cycle as the standard vehicle emissions testing method, to measure more representative fuel economy and emissions values. The WLTP cycle is intended to more closely simulate real-world driving styles with more time spent at higher speeds and loads, including more aggressive acceleration and braking phases.  This procedure will be backed up with a requirement for on road validation of results using PEMS.

Derek Wise, MAHLE Powertrain’s chief engineer (build & test), said: “The new centre will put us at the forefront of real driving emissions testing and allow us to offer a wider range of services to our existing and new customers.”

The new test centre forms a key part of MAHLE Powertrain’s multi-million GBP investment in its UK operations. As well as the increased testing capabilities, the RDE Centre will also provide a new reception with display area for MAHLE Powertrain’s projects and customer meeting rooms with conference facilities. In the US, MAHLE Powertrain has also recently acquired a new test centre in Plymouth, Michigan as part of a multi-million USD North American expansion. This plan begins with investment in emissions equipment to support EPA 1066 compliance for vehicle based emissions testing on the existing 4WD chassis dynamometer.

Cllr Tim Hadland, Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for regeneration, enterprise and planning, added: “MAHLE Powertrain is a key employer in the Northampton Waterside Enterprise Zone and I am pleased to see the company moving to the next level in Northampton.  Our Northampton Alive programme shows that the town is a great place to build and grow a business and we are looking forward to many more years of innovation and success for MAHLE in the Enterprise Zone.”

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