The facility is designed to be fuel-agnostic and will enable Cummins to develop and test a range of power technologies, including the latest universal engine platforms with variants able to operate on green hydrogen, renewable natural gas or sustainable diesel. Installation and testing capability will also extend to hydrogen fuel cell and battery electric powertrains.
Ground preparation work for the facility is now underway with the first phase of the £14m investment expected to open for operations by May 2023.
According to Cummins, highly advanced dynamometers will test not only powertrains, but also chassis-installed powertrains and vehicles extending in size from a compact SUV to heavy-trucks over 44-tons or a double-deck bus. Off-road equipment, including construction machines and agricultural tractors, will also be dyno-tested.
Jonathan Atkinson, executive director of Cummins On-highway Business in Europe said that the facility will be an important element of the company’s Destination Zero strategy to meet sustainability challenges.
“The new facility will further enhance the ability of Cummins European Technical Operations to introduce low-to-zero carbon power solutions and meet the forthcoming Euro VII very low emission regulations, likely to take effect around 2025,” he commented.
The establishment of the new Powertrain Test Facility promises to provide opportunities for up-skilling current employees at the Cummins Darlington campus as well as recruitment and training of new employees.
Covering a 738sqm footprint, the two-story facility will also generate its own sustainable power. The heavy-duty dynamometers and test cells will feature energy recovery systems to generate electricity. This will be exported to the ring main of the Cummins site, adding further capability for energy self-generation on-site. Water consumption of the cooling towers will also be reduced by harvesting rainwater, using a similar system already in place at the manufacturing plant.
Automotive national officer for Unite, Steve Bush, welcomed the investment by Cummins into the Darlington plant, commenting: “It is clear that Cummins is at the forefront of the JUST initiative, the transition towards a climate-neutral economy in a fair way that leaves no one behind, and I urge government to support them in their efforts to fully transition.
“Manufacturers like Cummins must be supported with an industrial strategy, that not only allows development but also shows global leadership in this area.”