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Ford Unveils State-of-the-Art Propulsion Development Laboratory at UK Headquarters

by Anna

Essex, UK – Ford’s commitment to advancing electric vehicle (EV) technology has reached a milestone with the inauguration of the Propulsion Development Laboratory at its UK headquarters in Essex. The £24 million facility, unveiled by UK Transport Minister Anthony Browne MP, solidifies the Dunton Campus’s pivotal role in driving Ford’s European electric vehicle plans.

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During the inauguration, Minister Browne embarked on a comprehensive tour, featuring a hands-free, feet-free drive of the Ford Mustang Mach-E equipped with BlueCruise technology. The facility’s cutting-edge laboratories were showcased, illustrating Ford’s dedication to innovation and research and development.

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The laboratory focuses on intensive testing of EV powertrain components, subjecting them to varying speeds and loads to accelerate wear levels, simulating conditions customers would experience after years of vehicle use. Minister Browne witnessed firsthand the dedication to quality assurance that is integral to Ford’s electric vehicle initiatives.

Over the past two years, Ford has invested £47 million in the adjacent Advanced Propulsion Laboratory (APL) and the E:PRiME (Electrified Powertrain in Manufacturing Engineering) prototype build facility. These facilities specialize in minimizing noise and vibration from EV powertrains, developing hybrid powertrains to meet emissions regulations, and advancing manufacturing processes for prototype EV components.

The E:PRiME team, operating at full capacity, recently completed 150 electric power units, a significant step toward the production target of over 400,000 units annually at the Ford Halewood Plant on Merseyside, starting later this year.

The new Propulsion Development Laboratory comprises eight vehicle-sized testing rooms dedicated to electric power units and propulsion systems. These rooms, designed for round-the-clock component reliability sign-off, enable Ford to maximize development time and ensure the highest standards of performance and durability.

Lisa Brankin, Chair and Managing Director of Ford Britain and Ireland, expressed her delight at the official opening of the Propulsion Development Laboratory. She emphasized the laboratory’s role in supporting Ford’s electric vehicle plan in Europe, marking the third new test facility opened on the Dunton Campus in two years.

Transport Minister Anthony Browne MP, who leads on technology and decarbonization, lauded Ford’s commitment to UK EV development. He highlighted the significance of the laboratory and its role in scaling up the country’s electric vehicle production, especially following the ZEV mandate becoming law earlier this year.

Ford’s ambitious plans include the launch of nine new EV vans and cars by 2025, with a focus on five van-based vehicles. The Dunton-based Ford Pro division, a leader in commercial vehicle sales, will play a pivotal role in providing crucial support services such as software, charging infrastructure, and financial solutions to meet the evolving needs of customers in the rapidly advancing EV landscape.

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