Volvo Group Breaks Ground On State-of-the-Art US Vehicle Propulsion Lab

Volvo Group Breaks Ground On US Vehicle Propulsion Lab

The Volvo Group announced a $33 million expansion of its powertrain R&D site in Maryland, for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art Vehicle Propulsion Lab.

Volvo Group executives were joined by several delegates of the Maryland State Assembly and Maryland Senator Paul Corderman at a groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a new, state-of-the-art Vehicle Propulsion Lab, representing a $33 million expansion of its powertrain research and development site in Hagerstown, Maryland.

Volvo’s VPL will be the first facility in North America to allow comprehensive testing of current and future products for Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, Prevost and Volvo Bus to meet evolving government regulations and ensure high performance on the diverse North American roadways. Housed under one roof, the lab will consist of two environmental chambers. One chamber will have a chassis dyno capable of emissions measurements and simulating extreme-weather and altitude conditions. The second will offer testing of fully operative vehicles, including highway and vocational trucks, as well as coach buses, for starting in a variety of weather conditions. 

“The Hagerstown powertrain technology site plays a significant role in the Volvo Group’s efforts to offer advanced transportation solutions that meet customers’ needs today and down the road,” said Lars Stenqvist, chief technology officer of the Volvo Group. “The all-new VPL, slated to open in the second quarter of 2023, will enable us the ability to more quickly develop and test battery-electric and hydrogen-based fuel cell solutions, as well as internal combustion engines, which will be powered by fossil-free fuels in the future, for our Class 8 trucks and coach buses.”  

Additional testing features in the VPL will include:

  • Operating from -22 degrees F to 104 degrees F (-30 C to +40 C) for development and verification activities; 
  • Wind speed simulation up to 85 mph (137 kmph); 
  • Vehicle absorbing and motoring capability up to 1600 horsepower (1200 kW); 
  • Altitude simulation up to 14,000 feet (4270 meters); 
  • Various types of performance and emissions testing for battery electric, fuel cell, hybrid, natural gas and diesel technologies; and 
  • Capability to test highway and vocational Class 8 trucks and coach buses for North American, South American and European applications.

“Our engineers currently rely on long-distance travel for extreme-weather testing or tap various third-party labs that specialize in specific types of testing,” said Audley Brown, vice president of powertrain engineering for Volvo Group North America. “The VPL will be one of the few places in operation that offers vehicle emissions and on-board diagnostics requirements at all expected operating conditions for trucks, buses and powertrains.”

The company also expects the new lab to help drive ongoing product-quality improvements and speed-to-market capabilities due to the strategic migration from on-road testing to controlled, lab-environment testing. 

At final construction, the VPL will be more than 35,000 square feet (more than 3,300 square meters), two-stories high and connected to the existing engine development lab on the Hagerstown campus. It’s been 15 years since the current lab went into operation, which involved a $40 million investment at the time. Since then, the company has spent an additional $12 million upgrading the test cells, a portion of which was used to enable the creation of electricity regeneration when operating the dyno tests.  

The Volvo Group employs more than 250 people at the current site from engineering, procurement, environmental, health and safety functions, and the new VPL will add around 10 new jobs, including both non-bargaining and United Auto Workers union-represented team members. The company’s Hagerstown campus is also home to the Volvo Group’s powertrain manufacturing facility, producing engines, transmissions and axles for Mack Trucks, Volvo Trucks, Prevost coaches and Volvo Buses sold in North America. Employing more than 1,700 team members, the company has invested more than $294 million since 2011 at the 1.5 million square-foot manufacturing facility.

You May Also Like

Premier Manufacturing Celebrates 100th Anniversary

The Oregon-based manufacturer has produced trailer safety components for over a century.

Founder Dewey Weiss was one of the first entrepreneurs to produce a pintle-style coupling for semi-trucks and trailers, and 100 years after he founded Premier Manufacturing, the brand, now part of High Bar Brands, is celebrating its centennial anniversary.

“It’s a testament to any company to reach such an incredible milestone and say they’re 100 years old,” HBB Regional Sales Manager Darrel Wilson, said. “Providing a superior product that has been widely regarded as the best coupling component in the industry is a testament to the employees who’ve worked at Premier over these years and why Premier has been able to produce high quality products year after year.”

ContiConnect Lite to Allow Digital Tire Management for OTR tires

Continental said ContiConnect Lite helps fleet managers monitor the condition of their tires via bluetooth.

Continental’s ContiConnect Lite to allow digital tire management for OTR tires
HDA Truck Pride Member Southside Trailer Service Expands

The company acquired PBS Brake & Supply in Syracuse, NY.

HDA Truck Pride Member Southside Trailer Service Expands
DMA Announces BULLDOG HD 90-Day Risk-Free Guarantee

This is in addition to the company’s existing warranty.

DMA Announces BULLDOG HD 90-Day Risk-Free Guarantee
Hunter to Exhibit New HawkEye XL Aligner at MATS

New commercial alignment system offers speed, versatility and ease of use, Hunter says.

Other Posts

Volvo Study: 64% of Canadians Are Eyeing EVs for Next Purchase

Volvo Car Canada’s 2024 Mobility Report identifies key trends around EV adoption in Canada.

Mitchell 1, NEXIQ Collaborate to Streamline Truck Diagnostics

Technicians can navigate from one information source to the other through the eTechnician diagnostic tool.

Mitchell 1 NEXIQ TMC
Volvo Receives Order for 100 Electric Trucks from DFDS

DFDS is well underway to reach its target of having at least 25% of the truck fleet electrified by 2030 per the company.

Volvo receives order for 100 electric trucks from DFDS
Kahgo Truck Parts Joins Power Heavy Duty

While the full-line distributor’s U.S. presence began in 2014, its history in heavy-duty truck parts runs much longer.

Kahgo Truck Parts