The University of Bath is part of a key research and development project to develop a new generation of high performance, low emission engines.

The University’s Powertrain & Vehicle Research Centre (PVRC) will bring their advanced research and development capabilities in internal combustion engine systems, working alongside McLaren Automotive and BMW, as well as engine maker Ricardo; Grainger and Worrall who are experts in complex, lightweight casting technology; and Lentus Composites for specialist composite structures.

The project is part of McLaren’s $1bn Track22 plan, which includes a £1 billion investment into research and development over the next five years with a view to launching 15 new cars by 2022. The plan includes the development of new powertrains (the mechanism that transmits the drive from the engine of a vehicle to its axle) and hybrid technology on at least 50 per cent of the McLaren product range by 2022.

“This project will help us accelerate the development of our next generation of powertrain”


The experimental research will be conducted in the University’s engine research cells including its Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research (CLEVeR). This will also lead to the creation of seven new positions at the University to work on this project including graduate, post-doctoral, PhD and technician roles.

“We are excited to be part of this project where the PVRC’s research expertise in Internal Combustion engine system efficiency will be used to support McLaren in the development of an exceptional powertrain for their future vehicles,”said Dr Sam Akehurst, Project lead at the University of Bath and Reader in Advanced Powertrain Systems in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

“This is an exciting project that plays to the strengths of all partners,” said Mike Flewitt,  Chief Executive Officer of McLaren Automotive (pictured above). “McLaren Automotive has an exceptional reputation for building the world’s finest engines, as showcased by our M838T and its previous category wins in the International Engine of the Year awards. We will continue to independently design and build our own engines, and the benefits of this project will help us accelerate the development of our next generation of powertrain.”

Bath is formally recognised by Government and industry as a leader in advanced propulsion systems research and in 2015, was selected as the ‘Internal Combustion Engine – Systems Efficiency’ Spoke of the Advanced Propulsion Centre (APC). This expertise is also behind plans to create the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems (IAAPS) to deliver future generations of clean and efficient vehicles, ensuring the UK retains its position as a global leader in automotive research.

You can find out more about the Centre for Low Emission Vehicle Research (CLEVeR) here