Renault has opened its new EUR60m (US$72m) ‘powertrain innovation centre’ at its Lardy site outside Paris.

The Pôle d’Innovation Mécanique houses around 30 engine test benches in an area of 5,000 sq m and consolidates Lardy’s position as Renault’s global benchmark powertrain test centre.

The new test facilities will help Renault and alliance partners develop affordable, low emission vehicles.

The 27 test benches expand the Lardy powertrain and transmission development facilities and will test the full range of petrol, diesel and alcohol engines.

Renault said that one wing of the building, devoted mainly to cutting fuel consumption, will help it meet new Euro 5 and Euro 6 emission standards.

On the thermal and friction test benches, engineers will seek to cut fuel consumption by downsizing, developing smaller, turbocharged engines that are more efficient.

Also in the PIM are aerothermal benches, a claimed world first, able to test engines in their aerodynamic environment, covering all the thermal exchanges taking place in the vehicle, both hot and cold.

The other two wings of the building house around 20 new test and measurement benches for the development of powertrains and fuel systems where engineers can simulate engine behaviour on the vehicle with increased precision.

They also include computer-assisted tooling in order to cut development times.