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The centre – operated by environmental consultancy Ricardo – is designed to help manufacturers test and create more efficient, cleaner vehicles.

Known as the Vehicle Emissions Research Centre (VERC), the facility is capable of carrying out climate controlled tests with a temperature range of -30 to +55 degrees Celsius and with humidity regulation.

“The VERC is a fantastic addition to Ricardo’s automotive research and testing capability, enabling us to help our customers in all parts of the world in the development of cleaner and more efficient vehicles,” said Ricardo chief executive Dave Shemmans.

Future-proof

The VERC was partially funded by the UK Government’s Regional Growth Fund – a grant for projects that could generate significant economic growth or local jobs.

The VERC has also been built with future technology in mind, with testing capabilities for vehicles with electrified and hybrid powertrains.

Head of Ricardo UK test operations Richard Murphy added: “Although it has only recently been commissioned, the VERC is already operating at close to its initial design capacity.”

“This rapid success has been due not least to the fact that the facility was designed first and foremost around the requirements of advanced testing.  With the scalability and future proofing that we have incorporated in the facility from the very outset, this is an investment that will be of significant value to Ricardo customers for many years to come.”

Transition

Back in February, Ricardo oversaw a competition for £3.5m funding for the development of seven new hydrogen refuelling stations across the UK, as apart of a gradual transition towards a batter and hydrogen-powered trasnport fleet.

A record 9,000 new ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) were registered in the UK in the first quarter of 2015, representing a 366% year-on-year surge.

Transport accounts for around a quarter of all UK emissions.

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