Ford expands UK electric test facilities with £24m lab

Ford has opened the latest element of its growing EV testing facilities in the UK.

Transport minister Anthony Browne visited the firm’s Dunton Campus to officially open the £24 million Propulsion Development Laboratory, which allows engineers to scrutinise the latest EV powertrains ahead of vehicles going on sale.

The laboratory comprises eight vehicle-size rooms capable of testing electric power units and propulsion systems. Components are tested around the clock at high speeds and loads to replicate the impact of long-term use.

Ford plans to launch nine new electric cars and vans by 2025 and the first testing at the site included systems for the E-Transit Courier, E-Transit Custom and Puma Gen-E programmes.

Although there is a focus on EV powertrains, 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.

The new lab is the third part of a £70m investment in research and development facilities at Dunton. It sits alongside the Advanced Propulsion Laboratory (APL) and Electrified Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering (E:PRiME) site.

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.

Lisa Brankin, chair and managing director of Ford Britain and Ireland, said: “I’m delighted that the transport minister Anthony Browne joined us 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.”

Browne added: “It was fantastic to 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.”

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Matt Allan

Matt is Editor of EV Powered. He has worked in journalism for more than 20 years and been an automotive journalist for the last decade, covering every aspect of the industry, from new model reveals and reviews to consumer and driving advice. The former motoring editor of, The Scotsman and National World, Matt has watched the EV landscape transform beyond recognition over the last 10 years and developed a passion for electric vehicles and what they mean for the future of transport - from the smallest city cars to the biggest battery-powered trucks. When he’s not driving or writing about electric cars, he’s figuring out how to convert his classic VW camper to electric power.