Major step forward for heavy duty vehicle emissions test in UK
The expansive Millbrook complex in the English north midlands provides provides vehicle test and validation services and systems to customers in the automotive, transport, tyre, petrochemical and defence industries. It is independent and impartial in everything it does.
Millbrook tells us that it is now increasing its operational capacity to support the heavy duty and commercial vehicle industry in meeting air quality and CO2 targets. With significant investment already going into facilities for testing passenger vehicle emissions, Millbrook is committed to striking the right balance.
While passenger cars already have CO2 targets set at a vehicle manufacturer level and there has been ongoing discussion of applying a similar approach to heavy goods vehicles.
The European Parliament has recently supported a proposal to set a truck CO2 emissions reduction target of 20 per cent by 2025, increasing to 35 per cent in 2030. Following the approach for light duty vehicle CO2 emissions targets, large financial penalties are likely to be incurred for non-compliance with the various standards and regulations imposed across many countries. The increasingly stringent targets are a substantial challenge to the industry and will require significant amounts of development, approval and monitoring testing.
Alex Burns, President of Millbrook, said “We are committed to supporting the development of heavy duty vehicle technologies, whether our customers are targeting improvements in energy efficiency in an electric bus or reduction in truck CO2 emissions. Our experts in vehicle testing, homologation and approvals are always on hand and our facilities are world-class. Both are constantly evolving to provide more to our customers.”
Millbrook is superseding its iconic Variable Temperature Emissions Chamber (VTEC) with a brand new vehicle emissions test facility capable of handling even heavier vehicles (up to 60 tonnes of inertia) and 4WD vehicles. The facility will be climatically controlled from -30°C to +50°C and used primarily to test buses, trucks and off-highway vehicles for emissions, fuel and lubricant performance and climatic performance. It is also designed to test electric vehicles to determine energy consumption, range and energy efficiency and to test vehicles using alternative fuels such as hydrogen, LNG and CNG for range, emissions and fuel consumption over a drive cycle.
The new test facility will measure the effect on CO2 emissions of a range of technologies including the heat recovery system, retrofit emissions/energy technologies and gearbox and engine oils. It will continue to support the full range of existing schemes for large vehicles, including the Clean Vehicle Retrofit Accreditation Scheme (CVRAS), LowCVP’s HGV Accreditation Scheme and the UK Bus Cycle (UKBC).
It will also have the capability to perform the full range of current vehicle emissions tests to determine whether a vehicle meets the strict requirements for clean air zones across Europe, such as the London Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) and Germany’s environmental zones, and the French Crit’Air air quality certificate scheme.
The new 4WD heavy duty vehicle emissions test facility is part-funded by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) investment, through the Local Growth Fund. It will create more highly skilled jobs in the area and allow the UK to be a centre for independent testing of heavy duty vehicles for air quality, fuel economy, energy and efficiency.
SEMLEP is committed to working with local business to support growth and innovation; Judith Barker, Director of Programmes and Governance at SEMLEP, said:
“We are committed to delivering our economic plan ‘Where Innovation Fuels Growth’ to double the size of the local economy by 2050. We use our Local Growth Fund to support local partners to grow businesses, talent and support places. The Board were pleased to award £2.4 million of capital funds to facilitate this HGV testing scheme at Millbrook in the heart of the Arc and in a critical high performance technology sector.”
The investment builds on Millbrook’s many years of experience in heavy duty vehicle emissions testing. It will complement Millbrook’s other 4WD climatic emissions chassis dynamometers, designed primarily for light duty vehicles, its Semi-Anechoic Chamber, which has high-power and NVH test capabilities, its Large Climatic Chamber, capable of an even wider temperature range on static vehicles, its axle test stands and the test tracks at Millbrook Proving Ground, which are used for real-world emissions testing, including real driving emissions.