Ford expands electric vehicle test laboratories in UK

Ford’s new Propulsion Development Laboratory at its UK HQ in Essex has been opened, underpinning the Dunton Campus’ r&d role in delivering Ford’s European electric vehicle plans.

The £24 million facility was inaugurated by UK transport minister Anthony Browne MP as part of a site-wide tour and hands-free, feet-free drive of the Ford Mustang Mach-E with BlueCruise.

The minister saw EV powertrain components intensively tested with speeds and loads to accelerate levels of wear which customers would incur only after years of vehicle use.

In the last two years Ford has invested £47 million in the adjacent Advanced Propulsion Laboratory (APL) and separate E:PRiME (Electrified Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering) prototype build facility, also toured by the minister. He met some of the apprentices based at Ford Dunton, who are among over 300 apprentices including advanced and degree-level employed by Ford and its Trust Ford dealers in Britain, and was shown their Transit Connect development vehicle project.

APL specialises in minimising noise and vibration from EV powertrains as well as developing hybrid powertrains for the latest emissions regulations, while E:PRiME develops advanced manufacturing processes, producing prototype EV components ahead of volume production. Last year the E:PRiME team completed 150 electric power units, involving employees from Ford Halewood Plant on Merseyside where over 400,000 of the power units will be assembly annually from later this year.

The newest Propulsion Development Laboratory comprises eight vehicle-size rooms capable of testing electric power units and propulsion systems – maximising development time, including round-the-clock component reliability sign off. The new laboratory’s test rooms are configured to test EV, hybrid and combustion powertrains, flexing between technologies in anticipation of market changes and customer requirements.

Lisa Brankin, chair and managing director of Ford Britain and Ireland, said: “I’m delighted that the transport minister Anthony Browne joined us today to officially open our new Propulsion Development Laboratory. This is the third new test facility opened on our Dunton Campus in two years, underpinning the site’s key role in delivering Ford’s electric vehicle plan in Europe.”

Transport minister Anthony Browne MP, leading on technology and decarbonisation, said: “It was fantastic to visit Ford and test drive their new BlueCruise technology as well as open its state-of-the-art modular test lab, which are essential for scaling up the UK’s electric vehicle production.

“It’s great to see a commitment to UK EV development following our ZEV mandate becoming law earlier this year, meaning we have a clear pathway for reducing car and van emissions.”

Ford is launching nine new EV vans and cars by 2025, including five van-based vehicles. The Ford Transit has been the UK’s top-selling van for 58 consecutive years – every year since its 1965 launch. The Dunton-based Ford Pro division leads on CV sales and all-important supporting software, charging, service and finance customer needs.

Latest Stories