Millbrook Offers Modec the Right Kind of Approval

Millbrook has undertaken the world’s first European Economic Community (EEC) Type Approval programme for electric vehicles. Carried out on behalf of Modec – the UK’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer - the accreditation will see Modec granted European-wide Type Approval, allowing it to sell its vehicles in all EU member states without the need for individual national approval.

Type Approval is a process that guarantees that a marque complies with regulations laid out by the EEC, ensuring that vehicles are fit for purpose, safe and have minimal environmental impact. Once passed, it is assumed that all vehicles of the same type will be the same, therefore additional testing of individual vehicles is not required.
Currently, EU-wide Type Approval is only available to ‘M1’ passenger cars, with every other type of vehicle, including electric, needing to gain Type Approval from each individual member country. From the end of April (2009), a change in legislation will make it possible to Type Approve all cars, buses, commercial vehicles and trailers, so that one Type Approval will be valid in all EU member states.

While the procedures for Type Approval are outlined by the EEC and testing techniques for motor vehicles have been commonplace for many years, Millbrook has had to devise bespoke test procedures to ensure that, in addition to the legislative requirements needed for Type Approval, test systems and components are validated in the working environment in which the Modec vehicles will operate.

Achieved by simulating the environment in which the vehicles will operate, the test process assesses many aspects, including components such as latches and hinges, while also considering the durability of the whole vehicle. This includes taking into consideration factors such as the corrosion of the vehicle body, as well as critical ‘parts’ such as the motor and batteries.

“We are delighted to have been instrumental in helping Modec to achieve this Type Approval, the first of its kind,” stated Tony Soper, Millbrook’s Principal Engineer – Homologation and Type Approval. “Just over two years ago Modec identified how a change in legislation such as this would grant it quicker access to European markets, and so approached us for help. Since then, we have been working together to develop new test procedures to gain EEC Type Approval for their vehicles.

“While some might think that electric vehicles have advantages for parts of the EEC testing criteria – such as emissions testing – there are a myriad of additional checks they have to go through such as safety tests on the high voltage systems used,” he continued. “Millbrook is one of the only test facilities in the UK able to test electrical safety to the requirements of ECE R100 – the standard required by the national safety legislation in many member states.”

Bill Gillespie, Modec CEO, is delighted to have achieved N2 Type Approval: “The process has been rigorous and the level of testing required is significant. We thank Millbrook and the VCA for their support throughout the process. Modec strongly endorse the concept of European Type Approval and encourage all EV manufacturers to undergo the same process.”

“Expanding to European markets was part of the original Modec business plan,” added Gillespie. “Many international businesses recognize the benefits of Zero Emission Modec vehicles and demand continues to grow. N2 Type Approval has enabled Modec to meet this demand and expand rapidly.”

“With electric vehicles becoming more prevalent, Millbrook is in a prime position to offer Type Approval facilities to manufacturers,” concluded Soper. “This can either be on a consultancy basis – handling all aspects from testing to liaison with Type Approval authorities – or by offering test facilities to a manufacturer’s in-house expertise, witnessed by our on-site engineer from the VCA, the UK Government’s Type Approval accreditation agency.”

The Type Approval testing and inspecting process is overseen by the Type Approval authority, and a full technical dossier is prepared on each of the tests. Once Type Approval is accredited to a model, it is assumed that all similar models are the same, eradicating additional testing of individual vehicles and saving Modec both time and money. Due to the high regard of EU regulations globally, Type Approval will be accepted by a large number of nations outside the EU, meaning models can be sold in non-EU countries without any additional testing.

Ends.

For further information and images please contact James Ashe, Zoe Liberty or Richard Postins at Prova on 01926 776900 or email zoel@provapr.co.uk

Notes to editors

Millbrook

Millbrook is one of Europe’s leading locations for the development and demonstration of every type of land vehicle, from motorcycles and cars to commercial, military and off-road vehicles - www.millbrook.co.uk

Millbrook provides test and development solutions for new technologies, such as roll-over protection, hybrid powertrains and fuel cell systems

Millbrook also engineers, develops and builds low-volume service vehicles, trials and evaluates vehicle capability, investigates in-service failures and provides specialist driver training

The Concept Centre is Millbrook’s events division, offering innovative packages and solutions for events, conferences and product launches – www.theconceptcentre.co.uk

The venue also plays host to film and TV production through its Location Millbrook initiative – www.locationmillbrook.co.uk

Modec

Modec is a revolutionary commercial vehicle, designed from the ground up for operation in urban environments. Launched in 2007, Modec has over 150 vehicles on the road and is set to expand rapidly in 2009. Customers include Tesco, M&S, FedEX, UPS and Network Rail.

Modec vehicles are designed around a large, removable battery cassette and are therefore ‘future proof’, giving customers the ability to ‘plug and play’ with different battery capacities and chemistries as technology evolves.

Modec introduced its vehicles to the UK market with Sodium Nickel Chloride (“Zebra”) batteries and moved onto the latest generation of Lithium-iron Phosphate batteries within six months. Modec’s Lithium-iron Phosphate packs offer a similar price/performance equation to their Zebra equivalents, but are more flexible in operation and do not need to be kept at a constant high temperature.

A higher range Lithium-iron Phosphate pack is also in development and will be available later in 2009.


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