Volvo Breaks Ground on Vehicle Lab


Volvo VPL rendering.

Volvo’s VLP will be the first facility in North America to allow testing of current and future products for Volvo Trucks, Mack Trucks, Prevost, and Volvo Bus to meet new government regulations. According to the company, the lab will consist of two environmental chambers. One will have a chassis duo capable of emissions measurements and simulating extreme weather and altitude. The second will offer testing of fully operative vehicles, including highway and vocational trucks.

Additional testing features in the VPL will include:

  • Operating from -22 degrees F to 104 degrees F for development and verification activities; Wind speed simulation up to 85 mph.
  • Vehicle absorbing and motoring capability up to 1,600 horsepower.
  • Altitude simulation up to 14,000 feet.
  • Various types of performance and emissions testing for battery electric, fuel cell, hybrid, natural gas and diesel technologies.
  • Capability to test highway and vocational Class 8 trucks and coach buses for North American, South American and European applications.

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

The VPL will be more than 35,000 square feet, 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. 

“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.”