Ricardo, the international automotive consultancy with a major operation in the West Midlands, has expanded its test facilities in Germany to accommodate what it said was a “significant increase in demand”.
A new four million euro (£2.4 million) expansion of the site at Schechingen will be used to develop the next generation of low-emission, high-fuel efficiency engines for vehicles ranging from heavy duty trucks to high-performance motorcycles.
Ricardo said that the increasing pressure on vehicle manufacturers to deliver lower emissions, improved fuel economy, ever higher standards of product durability and performance, and access to state-of-the-art testing infrastructure had never been more important.
Its German subsidiary, Ricardo Deutschland GmbH, has had a sustained rise in the demand for its engineering services over the past three years, particularly for projects carried out for heavy duty truck and motorcycle manufacturers.
The 800 sq m extension to the powertrain test facilities at Schechingen has been kitted out with some of the most advanced equipment in the European automotive industry, the company said.
With test bed capacities of up to 610kW power and 3500 Nm torque, it is particularly suited to the demands of heavy duty diesel engine development and associated advanced after-treatment technologies, such as selective catalytic reduction and lean NOx (nitrous oxide) trap systems, that are likely to be required to meet Euro VI emissions.
It can also be used to test high performance, motorsport and motorcycle engines running at speeds of up to 10,000 rpm.
The new extension also includes space for a further two high-specification powertrain test cells, one of which is due to be commissioned in early 2010.
Ricardo has also acquired an additional 4,000 sq m of land next to the test centre to accommodate further future expansion.
Ricardo Deutschland managing director, Peter Heuser, said: “Ricardo has enjoyed a period of dramatic expansion of its engineering service business in Germany over the past three years and it is important that we are able to offer our customers access to a comprehensive range of flexible and technically-advanced test facilities to support their product development programmes.
“Our investment in this newly-expanded test facility will provide, for example, a crucial enabling capability in assisting our heavy duty customers to achieve the requirements of Euro VI emissions, as well as our passenger car customers to meet the European goal of achieving a 130g/km CO2 fleet average.”