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New £70 million automotive powertrain research centre to be built in the UK

A new £70 million research and development centre is to be established in the UK with the ambition of becoming one of the leading independent facilities of its type in the world. Led by The University of Bath, the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) is designed to both accelerate the pace of innovation across companies of all sizes and to increase the supply of engineers with the skills needed to develop the next generation of clean vehicle powertrains.

“While the breadth and depth of resources and expertise will immediately place IAAPS within the world’s top independent powertrain research facilities, the most exciting aspect is that we are starting with a clean sheet of paper,” explains Professor Gary Hawley, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering & Design at the University of Bath. “We began by plotting the technology roadmap required for the development of zero emissions road transport and planned IAAPS to help accelerate that journey.”

That means recognising not just that the technologies are changing faster than ever before – from pure petrol and diesel to electrified, electric, hydrogen and alternative fuels – but that to facilitate this rapid transition, the industry needs new areas of expertise, new development tools, more skills and new ways of facilitating collaboration and innovation.

Based at the Bristol and Bath Science Park, IAAPS will provide 11,300 m2 of R&D facilities, education resources and research cells. Alongside state-of-the-art engine and chassis dynamometers and laboratories for combustion research, it includes a substantial investment in systems for the development and testing of electrification technologies including battery management and energy storage systems. IAAPS will be one of the first commercially available facilities to include cells designed for the development and testing of high-voltage battery packs, supercapacitors, new cell designs and other high-energy electrical storage technologies.

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