Smart Transport

University of Bath to build £70m next generation powertrain research and development centre

University of Bath to build £70m next generation powertrain research and development centre

The University of Bath is leading a £70 million project to create a new research and development centre for the next generation of clean vehicle powertrains.

The Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) is due to open before summer 2021 and is being built at the Bristol and Bath Science Park. 

Funding for the new Institute comes from The University of Bath (£30m), the UK government’s Research England (£29m) and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (£10m).

Professor Gary Hawley, dean of the faculty of engineering and design at the University of Bath, said: “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.

“We began by plotting the technology roadmap required for the development of zero emissions road transport and planned IAAPS to help accelerate that journey.”

Hawley said IAAPS will focus as much on the ‘how’ as on the ‘what’.

This includes the development of new development processes and simulation techniques, education in new areas of technology and encouraging collaboration between innovators and those who can help realise their ideas.

Expertise will be drawn from the university’s team of more than 40 academics who are active in relevant areas of research, alongside collaborations with vehicle manufacturers, Tier 1 technology suppliers and specialist innovation businesses.

The IAAPS will provide 11,300 m2 of R&D facilities, education resources and research cells.

Alongside 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.

Hawley believes IAAPS will be a catalyst for sustainable economic growth, both nationally and in the region.

Independent research by Warwick Economics, the Department of Economics at Warwick University, predicts that IAAPS will help stimulate £67m in additional R&D investment within five years of opening, driving an additional turnover of £800m within the UK automotive sector and £221m in additional gross value added for the UK economy, supporting around 1,900 new jobs across the country.

IAAPS, which will directly employ around 190 people, expects to stimulate the creation of around 400 high-quality jobs within the region.

IAAPS is expected to open mid 2021.

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