Volvo Is Building a $33 Million Ultra-Modern Vehicle Propulsion Lab in Maryland

Volvo's Vehicle Propulsion Lab in Hagerstown, Maryland is currently under construction 1 photo
Photo: Volvo
Volvo just broke ground on a highly-advanced Vehicle Propulsion Lab (VPL), which is set to become the first facility in the U.S. to include complex testing features, much better than on-road testing, for the company’s trucks, buses and powertrain.
Innovation in product and technology development requires equally innovating testing capabilities. With Volvo being one of the leading companies in developing fuel cell solution, it’s not surprising that it’s now taking the next step and investing in a state-of-the-art laboratory. This new facility is actually an extension of the company’s current powertrain research and development site in Hagerstown, Maryland. But, with this $33 million boost, vehicle testing will be taken to an even higher level.

Until now, the only way to conduct extreme-weather testing was to travel to different locations and perform on-road tests. And, for specific types of tests, the company had to rely on third-party, specialized labs. But now, with this new VPL, all kinds of testing conditions will be provided in one place. Plus, a controlled environment will also help improve the final product quality.

The 2-stories high facility, with more than 35,000 square feet (3,300 square meters), will have one chamber that can simulate extreme-weather and altitude conditions, and measure emissions, using a chassis dyno, plus a second one that will test fully operative vehicles in various conditions.

For example, the lab will provide wind speed simulation of up to 85 mph (137 kph), altitude simulation of up to 14,000 ft (4270 m), temperature variations from -22 degrees F to 104 degrees F (-30 C to +40 C) and motoring capability of up to 1600 HP (1200 kW). Also, different types of performance and emissions tests will be conducted for multiple technologies, ranging from diesel and natural gas, to battery electric and fuel cell.

Already under construction, Volvo’s advanced Vehicle Propulsion Lab is set to become operational in 2023.
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About the author: Otilia Drăgan
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Otilia believes that if it’s eco, green, or groundbreaking, people should know about it (especially if it's got wheels or wings). Working in online media for over five years, she's gained a deeper perspective on how people everywhere can inspire each other.
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