Bristol and Bath Science Park will play host to the site.

A new, £70 million automotive powertrain research centre is to be built in the south-west of England, creating 1,900 jobs. Dubbed the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS), the site will allow car makers, engineers and academics to pool their expertise and develop new technology.

The IAAPS project will be led by the University of Bath, with the 11,300-square-metre facility being constructed at the Bristol and Bath Science Park. As well as providing engine and chassis dynamometers and laboratories for combustion research, the University of Bath says the site will include systems for the development and testing of electric car technology.

When the site opens in 2021, it will be one of the first commercially available facilities to include cells designed for the development and testing of high-voltage battery packs, supercapacitors and other high-energy electrical storage technologies. The IAAPS will also provide education resources for engineers and scientists, allowing them to share knowledge.

“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,” said Professor Gary Hawley, dean of the faculty of engineering and design at the University of Bath. “We began by plotting the technology roadmap required for the development of zero emissions road transport and planned IAAPS to help accelerate that journey.

“IAAPS will focus as much on the ‘how’ as on the ‘what’. That 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.

University of Bath IAAPS

“We are not just about solving the technical challenges. IAAPS is also about making businesses stronger; supporting business incubation, accelerating the growth of smaller innovation firms, providing affordable access to skills and resources, facilitating collaboration and much more.”

And IAAPS programme director Gavin Edwards, said the institute would try to help the industry tackle three areas of development where progress is needed.

“The requirement for so many new technologies places tremendous pressure on timescales, resources and budgets, so the development of new tools and techniques is a vital component of product innovation,” he said. “First, we must accelerate the development of existing and currently-understood technologies without compromising robustness, durability or cost.

University of Bath IAAPS

"Second, we must develop ways to quickly design and validate all-new technologies to the same high standards. And finally, we must develop new tools that facilitate the tightest possible physical and control integration of complementary technologies into a single, highly efficient system that is as simple as possible to manufacture.

“These new design and development techniques will be both physical and virtual, with particular care taken in ensuring seamless correlation between real and virtual worlds. Our goal is to ‘left shift’ the entire powertrain development cycle.”

Gallery: University of Bath IAAPS