Bath University adopts CLEVeR approach to vehicle testing

A new ‘rolling road’ has been installed at Bath University as part of its new centre for low emission vehicle emissions research.

The dynamometer allows vehicles to be analysed in a series of real world driving conditions, giving researchers accurate, repeatable analysis of vehicle performance.

The new facility will allow academic researchers and the automotive industry to carry out emission measurements for vehicles, ensuring that the cars out on the open road are not different to those established by traditional laboratory analysis. This is essential with EU targets for automotive emissions demanding a 40% reduction in CO2 by 2021, based on 2007 levels.

The dynamometer’s extensive capabilities will allow significant progress in automotive research. Hybrid vehicles can also be examined using the dynamometer, with two power supply racks for battery emulation, giving faster analysis with highly repeatable results in a safe environment.

The dynamometer will allow analysis using a 6 axis CP Engineering robot driver that can be programmed to perform using a range of driving methods as driver behavior can have a significant impact on the fuel efficiency and emissions of vehicles. Additionally, the facility will analyse vehicle performance at a range of temperatures, from -10ºC through to +50ºC, and allows for the analysis of emissions when four-wheel drive functions are used.

The Centre for Low Emission Vehicle emissions Research – CLEVeR – is the result of a £1.8m equipment funding award from EPSRC) and £600k from the University.

The facilities are being created to establish a UK centre of excellence in low carbon vehicle research, where Professors Gary Hawley, Chris Brace, Dr Sam Akehurst and Chris Bannister will undertake investigations.

Hawley, lead investigator at CLEVeR said: “This unique new facility will open avenues of automotive research that were not previously possible. We have established a platform where fundamental academic research can be undertaken alongside applied industry investigations in a world-class environment. CLEVeR will address many of the future research challenges associated with current and future low and ultra-low carbon vehicles under real world driving conditions.”

Brace, an automotive propulsion expert said: “After the long and detailed planning phase, it is exciting to see the dynamometer installed and the new facility take shape. We look forward to delivering some ground-breaking research from this newly upgraded state-of-the-art laboratory.”

Final work is being undertaken to complete the CLEVeR facility over the summer, with initial investigations starting in October 2015.

In figures: vehicle sizes for use on the dynamometer

Vehicle track (max/min) 2.3/0.91m (to outside/inside edge of tyres)

Vehicle wheelbase (max/min) 4.6/1.8m

Max vehicle height 3m (door height 2.65m – taller vehicles would require slave wheels or other temporary modification for entry/exit)

Max vehicle width 3.1m

Access ramp 1.5m high by 12.5m long

Other sizes may be accommodated by special arrangement