Department of Mechanical Engineering

The more electric future

Our research will shed new light on the emissions, energy use, and efficiency of future electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

— Professor Gary Hawley, PVRC Director

The Powertrain and Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) is already working towards a future of electric and hybrid electric vehicles with a combination of industry and government funded research programmes.

Our research aims to overcome particular issues such as: 

  • the complex makeup of hybrid and electric vehicle engines 
  • the cost of their components
  • the lack of standardization within the industry 
  • the increasing price of magnets and other rare materials used in the batteries.

Low cost and high reliability hybrid/electric system

We are developing, in partnership with the government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB), Ashwoods Automotive, Lotus, and GKN Drivelines a scalable electric engine with optimized motor, controls, gearbox, and cooling.

This single hybrid and electric system would be installed across a range of vehicles, from small electric cars to luxury hybrids. To do this, the engine must be low cost and offer high reliability.

Testing vehicles under real-world conditions

The PVRC is also establishing a world-class vehicle research facility, unique in the UK and able to address the future challenges associated with vehicles with ultra-low carbon petrol, novel electric, and hybrid electric engines.

We can test vehicles under real-world conditions including at sub-zero temperatures.