Mahle Powertrain has been awarded GBP2.1m (US$2.7m) towards the construction of a climatic vehicle emissions test centre at its UK base in Northampton.

The finance, provided by the South-East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) through the Local Growth Fund, will safeguard existing jobs while creating new opportunities for engineers.

Development of the Mahle Powertrain technology centre on St. James Mill Road is already underway, with the site expected to be completed in mid-2018.

“We have worked hard with SEMLEP to secure this investment as part of an ongoing plan to expand and enhance our vehicle emissions testing capability in Northampton,” said Mahle Powertrain director of sales and marketing, Dave Beecroft.

“This funding will allow us to grow the business and create employment opportunities by placing us at the forefront of the requirements of the new Real Driving Emissions legislation, which comes into force later this year.”

The new centre will see Mahle Powertrain offer PEMS (portable emissions measurement system) through to dyno-based road simulations and emissions testing.

In addition, the centre will allow Mahle to fully simulate the new test cycle, with the added ability to control the atmospheric pressure within the chamber, a first for the UK. Simulating altitudes of up to 5,000 metres, allows insight into how engines perform in vastly different environments, meaning results are much more comprehensive.

Backed by a government fund of GBP59m, the investment builds on the recent National Infrastructure Commission report and the publication of London’s Industrial Strategy, both of which earmarked the South-East Midlands as a key area for future growth.

In support of this significant business growth at Mahle Powertrain, the company is currently looking to recruit a number of engineers, technicians and apprentices across a wide range of disciplines.