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ACART serves as a Ford lifeline

Open for business: Melbourne University's Prof Iven Mareels (left), Ford's Marin Burela and Victorian environment minister Gavin Jennings at the official opening for Ford's Advanced Centre for Automotive Research.

Ford’s new environmental, emissions and engine development centre is open to all

Ford logo20 Apr 2009

FORD Australia says its new $19.7 million Advanced Centre for Automotive Research and Testing (ACART) at its You Yangs proving ground near Geelong, Victoria, is designed to attract customers from all areas of the automotive industry in Australia and from around the world.

One Ford insider revealed that several parties from Australia and overseas were talking with the company about using the world-class facility as soon as possible, although their identities remain confidential.

Nevertheless, the Ford insider agreed that ACART should provide a “very good” income for Ford Australia over the next few years as automotive clients took advantage of the facility’s wide range of environmental, emissions and engine development capabilities.

The opening last week of ACART – attended by the other partners (and funders) in the project, the Victorian government and Melbourne University – was described as a significant day for the Ford Motor Company, as well as for others in the automotive industry.

Victorian environment and climate change minister Gavin Jennings said the global application for companies to test designs was immense, particularly for those in the South-East Asian hub.

He said it would help Australia remain one of only 14 nations capable of everything from the design to the development and distribution of vehicles in the world.

Melbourne University dean of the school of engineering Professor Iven Mareels said ACART would greatly assist in the vision of personal, sustainable transport in terms of scale, society and systems implementation.

He said ACART was a well-funded facility that would encourage “bright minds” and a brighter future for those aiming to achieve more efficient transportation solutions.

Ford claims that Australian new-car buyers are already benefiting from the ACART facility, in the guise of a more economical and less polluting Falcon model.

From this month, the FG Falcon XT with the optional ZF six-speed automatic transmission will be slightly more frugal at 9.9L/100km, while its CO2 emissions drop to 236g/km. This gives the XT model a 'greenhouse rating' lift 5.5 stars (out of 10) in the federal government’s Green Vehicle Guide.

Ford says ACART “surpasses the technical capability of any competitive facility in the Asia-Pacific region, with the replication of environmental conditions spanning -40C to +55C, as well as the ability to create wind speeds of up to 250km/h. Humidity can also be controlled, and soon snow and rain conditions will be added to ACART’s know-how.

Ford Australia president Marin Burela said similar climatic extremes had not been available in Victoria until now.

“Having these facilities close to hand means we can test a variety of different variables without having to leave the proving ground,” he said.

As we have reported previously, the additional ACART facilities are an emissions laboratory cell alongside the environmental centre, and an engine dynamometer facility installed at the Melbourne University in Parkville, Victoria.

"ACART is an innovative and historic project, which presents us and our partners with a range of economic, environmental and developmental opportunities," Mr Burela added.

Read more:

Ford commits to Geelong

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